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Vampire Breath by R. L. Stine
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## Open wide and say... mouthwash!

Vampire Breath has one of the series' most clever twist endings, but the story itself is underwhelming, to say the least. Like many of R.L. Stine's weakest stories, the plot seems held together by unrelated happenstance that doesn't do the subject -- vampires, in this case -- any justice. The pressure of a monthly publishig schedule surely wasn't helping nearly 50 books into the original Goosebumps series.

[N.B. This review includes images, and was formatted for my site, dendrobibliography -- located here.]

What's unusual is that the set-up promises a completely different story. Freddy and his friend Cara are telling scary stories to their neighbor, Tyler: Stories of werewolves creeping up behind him during the full moon, heaving a sour werewolf breath on his neck before tearing him to pieces. The entire babysitting scenario ends up having no relationship to the rest of the story.

Freddy and Cara stumble upon a secret room in Freddy's basement. The inside, bizarrely, resembles a castle -- greatly contrasting with the typical suburban home -- and houses nothing but a coffin and a glass bottle that says...Vampire Breath. There's also a vampire hiding in the coffin. A feeble, old vampire with no fangs.

The vampires of this story have almost no relationship with vampires as we know them; they come either from the 1931 movie -- cape and all -- or Stine's imagination. The Vampire Breath of the title is a powerful gas that all vampires must ingest once a day in order to stay alive. It also, like Monster Blood, does just about anything imaginable, including powering invisibility, their memories, and enabling time travel.

Freddy and Cara travel back in time to a 19th-century castle infested with scores of vampires and Vampire Breath. They must help the vampire find his fangs, all while hoping to get back to the 1990s without being turned into vampires themselves. The plot actually goes out of its way to ridicule vampires and make them weak and boring, contradictory to the threat the heroes feel.

## I tried to imagine what it would be like living here in this castle. Sleeping all day in a coffin.
## Rising up at night and turning into a bat. Flying out night after night in search of necks to bite.
## Forever.
## Just thinking about it made me shake with horror.

The element of time travel and vampires that act nothing like vampires made this story too silly and nonsensical for me to appreciate. Abandoning all the foreshadowing from the first 20 pages doesn't help, either. The twist ending was great, but nothing much else worked.

R.L. Stine's Goosebumps (1992–1997):
#48 Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns | #50 Calling All Creeps! ( )
2 vote alaskayo | Aug 31, 2016 |
Goosebumps. This is the series that kept me reading through my childhood. More than any other series, Goosebumps kept me interested in reading, and R.L. Stein is a wonderful children's writer. I applaud his efforts, and can't express enough my gratitude for the series. ( )
  wodenthewanderer | Apr 2, 2013 |
this was one of those goosebump stories that was all over the place. It wasnt that bad but I would have picked a different one if I had the Chance ( )
  JoNe0597 | Feb 2, 2011 |
Freddy and Cara are a couple of obnoxious characters that enjoy roughhousing. When they discover a vampire and get stuck in his time, the reader isn't sure whether to sympathize or hope that the vampire gets them. Luckily they make it back to their own time where they discover that Freddy's whole family are vampires and the spooky guy from his basement is just his grandpa. Lucky for Cara he doesn't have teeth yet. ( )
1 vote t1bclasslibrary | Dec 1, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0590568868, Paperback)

Exploring his basement, Freddy and his friend Cara discover a mysterious bottle labeled ""Vampire Breath"" and accidentally break it open, unleashing a very thirsty Count Nightwing on the town.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:18 -0400)

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Freddy Martinez and his friend Cara are not afraid of anything, but that was before they found the bottle of Vampire Breath.

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