Five Nights at Freddy’s – The Silver Eyes: A non-game review

“Hello, hello? Uh, I wanted to record a message for you to help you get settled in on your first night. Um, I actually worked in that office before you. I’m finishing up my last week now, as a matter of fact. So, I know it can be a bit overwhelming, but I’m here to tell you there’s nothing to worry about. Uh, you’ll do fine. So, let’s just focus on getting you through your first week. Okay?”

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Image from The Silver Eyes Wikipedia page

Welcome, new recruit, to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Now don’t worry, I’m not reviewing the first, or any of the games, but instead I shall be spewing firth my opinions on the tie-in ‘horror’ novel Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes (henceforth known as Silver Eyes). Written by Scott Cawthorn, creator of Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF), and Kira Breed-Wrisley, Silver Eyes is set much later into the FNAF timeline than any of the current games, and is supposedly a reimagining of the FNAF events.

 

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Image from: freddy-fazbears-pizza.wikia.com/wiki/File:2

If any of you gaming readers have been hiding under a rock, or in a cave or on the moon for the past few years, you have missed out on what has become a game of contention amongst the gaming community. Five Night’s at Freddy’s is a ‘horror’ game, set in a pizzeria and inhabited by animatronic animals – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy. Think Chuck E. Cheese but with more murder. Those animatronics want to hunt you, the only human in the building. and stuff you into an empty suit. It’s a game, and now series, franchise, book, upcoming movie and gods know what else, that has you managing resources and your sanity to survive the night.
Why is it so contentious? Its popularity amongst the well-known and mega popular Youtubers doesn’t help. Pewdiepie and Markiplier both have had massive hits with the series. Partly because of this, the series has become a favourite of the younger audiences. Its sudden splurge into a franchise and money spinner for Cawthorn also narked some people off.

Do I like the series? I’ve seen playthroughs of all the games, from a variety of sources; from Markiplier to HarshlyCritical to Jim Sterling. Each has their own view on the series, but my views boil down to this. I appreciate the first game for what it brought to the horror game scene – it was something new and refreshing. And the mystery and lore behind the core games gripped me. I lost that fondness as more and more games come out, and I don’t really enjoy the latest iteration Sister Location.

I picked up Silver Eyes on a whim. It was cheap, it was a smallish book by my usual standards and wouldn’t take too long to read. I read it in a day. For the record, I read the Kindle version although there are paper versions avaliable. The story follows Charlie, a teenager returning to her hometown of Hurricane. The year is 1995, and Charlie and her friends are gathering together in their old haunt for a memorial service being held for a childhood friend, Michael. Michael died at a popular child-friendly restaurant: Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, owned by Charlie’s dad. Since Michael’s death the place has been built over but left intact. ready for late night explorations and the rest of the book.
Throughout the story we are ‘treated’ to glimpses into Charlie’s past; flashbacks and memories of growing up with animatronics and Freddy Fazbear. The group make several visits to the old diner, breaking into the building and each time finding things aren’t how they left them. One visit leaves the gang down a member when he is abducted, seemingly by an animatronic. The climax of the story sees the gang work their way through the restaurant whilst being pursued by the now highly active animatronics, in order to rescue their friend and find the truth about Michael’s death.

It’s hardly an original plot at its very core, and isn’t going to be on a cult classics list any time soon, but I’ve read worse. As a game based story, I’m not sure how much it added to the FNAF universe. Scott Cawthorn has said that “The games and the books should be considered to be separate continuities” and that “…the book is canon, just as the games are.” So whilst the games and book exist in the same FNAF universe, they don’t necessarily fit together neatly. There’s certainly no direct acknowledgement in the books of any other incidents related to Freddy Fazbear’s; no Bite of ’87, no Mangle or Marionette. There are, of course, glimpses into the FNAF universe, and small threads to pull on regarding identities and the lore of the series.

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Image from FNAF 3 Steam Store page

Is there enough to seduce a FNAF fan into buying the book? I don’t think so. You could read it as a non-gamer, with no knowledge of the franchise, and be satisfied with the story. It’s very much a book that has its own, closed off universe, but with a small back door that fans can use if they try hard enough. I appreciate Cawthorn trying to expand his works without affecting the existing canon too much (it’s already a confusing and overwhelming lore), and for trying not to pander too much to the super fans, or to answer all the questions that come with the series.

If you read the book as a single entity, with little to no relation to the games, it’s not a terrible piece of YA fiction. I think the plot and characters could be refined and the many tangents trimmed and cut down, but the same could be said of so many stories. If you are looking for an easy, quick read with a couple of thrills, there are worse options.

“Hello, hello? Hey! Hey, wow, day 4. I knew you could do it.
Uh, hey, listen, I may not be around to send you a message tomorrow. *banging sound* It’s-It’s been a bad night here for me. Um, I-I’m kinda glad that I recorded my messages for you *clears throat* uh, when I did.”

Khinjarsi has no affiliation with Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, or any of it’s subsidiaries. She does not, as has never, worked as a night guard at any of the Freddy’s locations, and now has a deep set fear of animatronics.

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