Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Cataluna Chronicles: The Evil Moon

Book Description:

Bryan wants the Cataluna more than he's ever wanted anything. The sleek white car is all he can think about. And he'll do whatever it takes to get it. Steal. Even kill. But Bryan is the one who could end up dead. Inside the Cataluna lives an ancient evil. And it wants him.

My Description:

Let's just get this out of the way: I am not going to compare this to Christine. Promise! Ok, let's get started...


Two boys, Matt and Chris, are touring a used car lot in the middle of the night. They're admiring the white Cataluna and realize that it's the only car on the lot that doesn't have a price "soaped" on the windshield. Matt gets excited when he sees that the keys are in the ignition and they decide to take it for a joy ride, claiming they'll bring it back in a hour. You two probably won't be alive for another hour. They speed off to Fear Street (didn't see that one coming) blaring Aerosmith when suddenly they hear a woman's voice: "Having fun, boys?" They start to freak out when the car speeds up by itself and starts swerving all over the place. Matt and Chris are geniuses and decide to jump out of the car even though it's going over 80. They land in the middle of the road and promptly get ran over by a truck. "Bump, bump. Bump, bump. The trucks middle tires hit. Bump, bump. The rear tires." Damn. The driver gets out, sees the bloody broken bodies, and vomits on the side of the road. He turns to look at the Cataluna and says "It's staring at me." Indeed. The end of the prologue is from the point of view of someone who was a victim of the car in 1698 which makes no frigging sense because as far as I know, there were no cars then. Unless my old history classes lied to me. Fuck the public school system!

Part One - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

We will now step back in time to Ye Olde Village. 15 year old Catherine Hatchett is peeking in the window of Ye Olde Schoolhouse (ok, I'll stop with that) listening as Master Porter teaches the boys Latin. Once, Catherine got her hands on a hornbook and got in trouble for reading it. Sinning wench! How dare she let her desire for learning get in the way of her household drudgery?! Catherine is a feminist who thinks it's total bullshit that she can't learn along with the boys. After the teacher puts the switch to a couple of kids who don't know the answer to his question, class is over. Upon coming outside, the boys spot Catherine and start taunting her. They keep screaming that she's bad luck until she runs off, but they chase her. Some jerk named John North says if she thinks she's as good as any boy, then she should prove it by wrestling him. Kick him in the nads and let's call it a day, Cath. Instead, Catherine picks up a rock and hurls it at the circle of boys, hitting one named Charles. In her defense, they WERE threatening to cut off her head with a hatchet. Catherine freaks out, but the boys start laughing because the little bastard isn't REALLY dead. She runs away and heads home where her mother Martha gets on her case for not helping make dinner and for getting so dirty. This chick is having the day from hell. When she tells her mother that the boys were calling her Bad Luck Catherine, Ma is absolutely no comfort: "You are bad luck and that is the shameful truth. Born under a bad moon.: You, Martha Hatchett, are a real bitch. And THAT'S the shameful truth! She doesn't stop there. She carries on about Catherine's moon-shaped birthmark and how she has cursed the entire family and finally Catherine flees the house. She runs into the woods until she reaches the tiny house of Crazy Gwendolyn, the obligatory witchy woman that all Olde Villages had. Even though Gwen is a little kooky, she's very kind to Catherine and totally my favorite character so far. She and Catherine drink tea and talk until dusk. Even though Catherine doesn't wanna go back to her shitty family, Gwen insists that they'll be worried (she obviously doesn't know them. They've probably completely forgotten Catherine is alive.) So Catherine finally goes.

In the woods, Catherine freaks out and starts running after thinking she hears footsteps. Unfortunately, she trips on a tree root and two assholes named Joseph and William take the opportunity to surround her. They proceed to list all the bad things that have occurred lately and blame Catherine's bad luck. There are no words for how utterly stupid the people in this town are. The boys tell her that she'll soon be banished from the colony, but until then...well, it's not really clear what they plan to do. Joseph says he'll take of her and tells his brother to go home. Joseph ends up kissing Catherine and telling her he cares about her. Does. Not. Compute. Sadly, she's stupid enough to believe him and agrees to meet him again.

Three weeks later, Catherine is setting the table for dinner and daydreaming about marrying Joseph. Fool. Since that first kiss, they've met in secret several times because Joseph is a jackass who would be horribly ashamed if anyone knew. A storm is raging outside and Catherine's father comes in dripping wet. He says he was at a town meeting to discuss what to do about Catherine. At least her family is on her side. *sigh* 1698 sucks.

Part Two - Shadyside (1995)

Bryan Folger is getting chewed out by his boss, Mr. Robbins, for screwing up some mundane detail. He works at Happy Burger (no, he's not in trouble for poisoning the customers) and hates it and in turn, his boss hates his crappy attitude. All Bryan wants to do is cruise around in the white car he saw at Denny's car lot (ruh roh) with his girlfriend Misty. After royally screwing up a customer's order, Mr. Robbins flips out and fires him. Bryan sobs into a pile of soggy French fries and stale Happy buns because he won't be able to save up enough money to buy the car now! I guess finding another job is out of the question. Anyway, Bryan's sadness turns to rage and he ends up sloshing hot grease all over Mr. Robbins. At least he thought it was hot. Robbins laughs in his face and tells him to get the hell out.

Bryan rides his bicycle home in the rain, changes into dry clothes, and decides to ride over to Misty's house since the rain has finally stopped. Misty is a rich blond who lives in a giant house. Of course she does. Bryan doesn't like her wealthy father because he looks down on Bryan for being poor. After Bryan tells Misty he lost his job and tried to maim his boss, they make out and then Bryan starts yapping about the Cataluna. Misty doesn't like hearing about this car all the time so she changes the subject to their upcoming date on Friday night. She wanted to go to a fancy restaurant, but Bryan says he doesn't have the money so Misty suggests they stay home and rent movies instead. Ok, I really don't get it. She has gobs of money so why the hell can't SHE pay? Misty sucks.

After leaving Misty's palace, Bryan goes to his friend Alan's house. Alan is also sickeningly rich. They drive to Denny's car lot in Alan's mother's car to admire the stupid Cataluna. After Bryan says "Do you think it's possible to fall in love with a car?" Alan suggests they just steal the damn thing. But he's just joking! HAHAHA! He's so rich he doesn't HAVE to steal anything! Unlike his piss poor friend! HAHAHA! *sigh* Alan sucks.

We're now back at the car lot (no idea what day this is). A salesman offers to let Bryan test drive the Cataluna and Bry nearly wets his Underoos in excitement. As they're driving, Bryan hears the girl's voice: "Hi, Bryan. You and I are going to have fun together." She starts laughing...and Bryan ends up plowing the car into a lamppost. Smooth. The salesman completely loses his freaking mind, but amazingly the car doesn't have a scratch on it, a fact that neither of these dudes finds odd. The salesman kicks Bryan out of the car: "Come back when you learn how to drive, kid!" Oh Bryan.

Two weeks have passed since the Happy Burger incident and Bryan now has a job delivering flowers. He stops at the Sandersons' house, but no one answers the door. Bryan is pissed because he'll have to take the flowers back to the store and some other delivery boy might end up with the tip Bryan deserves. So Bry decides to let himself in. The front door is unlocked (how convenient) and Bryan peeks inside. He sees a wallet lying on a table and takes a couple hundred dollars. Suddenly a woman calls out "Hey-is someone there?" You bet your sweet ass there is! And he's ripping you off! So get off the toilet and get him! Bryan dashes inside a closet before she can catch him. He politely leaves the flowers in the hall, though. As soon as the woman walks off, Bryan runs back to the delivery van to admire his stealings. He decides that this is the perfect way to get the rest of the money he needs to buy the car. "Steal it. So easy. What could wrong?" You're an idiot, Bryan.

Part Three - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

Crap. I thought we put 1698 behind us. My drugged out English teacher was right when she said history repeats itself. Anyway, everyone is gathered in the meeting all to verbally bash Catherine Hatchett. They all take turns talking about all the tragic things that have been happening and blaming Catherine because she's such bad luck. Assholes. Her unbelievably shitty parents stand up and tell everyone that she's not really their child, they found her on their doorstep when she was a baby. "How could we know she was a child of evil!" Catherine flees the building (yes, she was eavesdropping on this ugly mess) and runs to Joseph's house...where she find him getting cozy with some red-haired skank. Yes, it gets worse. When Catherine tells him she needs help, he just says "And what do you expect me to do about it? Did you want me to ride you out of town myself?" Then he and his fugly ho have a good laugh at Catherine's expense. This girl's life is so bleak, I think I might cry....

She runs to Gwendolyn's house and tells her everything. Old Gwen is ready to care of business: "Gwendolyn stood slowly. She pulled back her lips and let out a long animal hiss. Gwendolyn's whiskery face began to darken. The whiskers grew longer. Then Gwendolyn uttered a longer hiss. A hiss of pain. Needle-sharp claws popped out of her outstretched fingertips. [Her] long silver hair whirled around her body as if it had come alive. Wherever it touched her skin, the skin turned black. And furry. Moments later, tall old Gwendolyn Parrish no longer stood before Catherine. In her place stood a black cat. The old cat stretched, arching its back. Then the cat cried "Come, Catherine, you can do it, too! You are a shape-shifter! You are my daughter." First of all, her whiskers are sexy. Second, OF COURSE Catherine is her daughter. Third, what in the bloody hell does any of this have to do with a car?!

The cat tells Catherine they were both born under an evil moon and she commands Catherine to change. Catherine does and both black cats leap through the woods until they reach Joseph's house where Catherine proceeds to claw both of his eyes out. Sweet! As Joseph screams, Catherine laps up the blood that is splattered everywhere until she realizes that his brother William is also in the room. He's freaked out, but breaks his fear (a little too late) and starts to choke Catherine. She bites him and runs off into the night. She makes her way back to her house to gather her belongings (she's in human form now). Her father greets her at the door with a gun. "The bad luck must die."

Part Four - Shadyside (1995)

Blah blah blah car lot at night blah blah the Cataluna rocks the casbah blah. *sigh* Either buy the damn thing or shut up about it! Bryan is with Alan and Misty who doesn't care about the car and has on her bitch face. Finally they leave because Misty won't stop whining. THEN she gets pissed because Bryan doesn't wanna go to a movie with her and Alan. Shut. Up. They drop Bryan off at his house and once they're gone, he starts walking to Canyon Road where a lot of wealthy people live. He plans to rob some of them blind. What could happen? Don't answer that. He creeps up to a huge Victorian and realizes the television is on so someone must be home and he better get the hell away. But he's not discouraged. He just trots over to another house, judges it empty and shatters a back window with a rock. Did Brinks Home Security not exist in 1995? Anyway, he hauls himself inside and fumbles through the dark until he scores: he finds a box filled with cash shoved in the back of a drawer. Just as Bryan is preparing the grab it, someone grabs him. It's the frigging COPS. Turns out Bryan DID set off a silent alarm. Stupid boy. Of course he gets off fairly easily: 3 months of community service. He's more upset about the fact that Misty broke up with, claiming her parents don't want her dating a dirty criminal.

So Bryan starts his community service which turns out to be cashiering at the hospital gift shop. That's supposed to be punishment? Bullshit. Bryan has Cataluna fever and pretty much has no idea what's going on half the time because the car takes up all of his brain space. I'm going to assume that's the reason why he robs the cash register. Yes, this idiot takes a big wad and honestly doesn't think he'll get caught even though he JUST GOT ARRESTED for the same thing! He races home on his bike (I guess he got away with it after all), finds that he finally has enough to get the car, and makes his way to the lot only to find the car isn't there. *sigh* Will this shit never end?

Part Five - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

So yeah, Catherine's father is holding a gun, but doesn't shoot her (he threatens to if she ever shows her face around here again). She sleeps in the woods and wakes to the sound of villagers' voice nearby. They think she must have fled to another village and if they find her in THIS village, they'll hang her. She makes her way to Gwendolyn's house and finds quite the shitty sight: "Blood. Pulpy red flesh. Bones. The remains of a cat. A cat that had been skinned." The only character in this book I cared about, the only awesome one, has to go and die! SOB! Catherine runs deeper into the woods and check this insanity: she comes upon the Cataluna (she calls it "white monster"). She approaches it, but two man grab her...

Part Six - Shadyside (1995)

What happened to the Cataluna? Alan bought it. Yep, this is gonna be the ass kicking of the century. Bryan goes to Alan's house and demands he hand over the keys. When Alan refuses, Bryan goes completely apeshit and starts smashing him in the face. Once Alan is on the ground and helpless, Brayn turns it up a notch: "Bryan locked both hands together like a club and swung at Alan's jaw with all his might. Alan's head jerked to the side. He sagged onto his back, his body twisted at an unnatural angle. Blood poured from his nose and mouth." Two words: psych ward. He digs through Alan's pockets until he finds the Cataluna's key and drives away. He immediately hears the girl's voice. She blabs on about how they'll be together forever. Suddenly the car is out of his control and swerving all over the place. They almost kill some little kids, crash through a garage, and end up cutting off this dude's hand...which is still holding his football. Sick.

The Cataluna is now back in Alan's driveway looking completely pristine. The police along with Misty and Alan are standing around it. Bryan is still inside. "Burst blood vessels had turned his face reddish-blue. A terrifying silent scream twisted his features. His blank eyes bulged. His dead hands still gripped the wheel." Wow. Turns out Alan had gotten his parents to buy the car for Bryan's birthday. No comment.

Part Seven - West Hampshire Colony (1698)

The men are roughly dragging Catherine through the woods by her hair. They reach a group of villagers and a noose hanging from a nearby tree. Catherine pleads with them to let her go, but no-one pays any attention. As she's hanging from the rope barely breathing, she remembers she can shape-shift. She changes into a tiny white rat and dives down Edmund Parker's (he's Joseph's father and the ringleader of this entire thing) throat, effectively choking him. Cha-ching! Catherine runs into the woods and transforms into a white horse. As she gallops away, William (Joseph's bro/Edmund's son) screams that he will have his revenge. Yeah right.


More of William's vows of vengeance. Waste of paper.

Conclusion? I loved the gruesome gory stuff. Yes, I'm sick in the head. The one thing I really hated? The fact that the car was sitting in the woods in 1698. Why and how?! For that matter, what the hell did ANY of the Catherine stuff have to do with the modern stuff?

Next time? "99 Fear Street: The First Horror" It's EEEEEEVILLLL! OoOoOo!

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns (Goosebumps #48)

PUMPKIN POWER! Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better ...