Scholastic, $3.99, ISBN 0-590-51673-6
You and your friend Zack not only attend the Great Mysterio’s Magic Show one fine day, the two of you also end up being volunteer on the magician’s show. However, shortly before you two are due to be on stage, you discover a most heinous thing indeed: the Great Mysterio applies electric shocks to a cute little dog during his show. This is terrible! Clearly, that man is evil incarnate! What will you do next?
Like all Give Yourself Goosebumps gamebooks, this one offers two diverging story lines depending on your initial decision. This time, whether you stay and subject yourselves to the Great Mysterio’s hospitality or flee for your lives will determine which story arc you find yourselves in.
While the humor is still pervasive, this one however suggests that Mr Stine is running out of fresh ideas. Things that happen here really seem to be pulled out of Mr Stine’s rear end here, with very little cohesion among these scenes. Not only that, some story paths lead to an unhappy ending no matter what, which may seem unfair to some people. While it is still fun to encounter terrible ends in this gamebook, these amusingly tragic endings seem stale and boring in comparison to previous gamebooks in this series. On top of it all, the Great Mysterio doesn’t seem menacing at all. He’s just a raving twit… a little sad, really.
The magic just isn’t there in Hocus-Pocus Horror, I’m afraid.