Welcome back, kiddos. Are you ready for the final boss battle of my Freddy reviews? Here we go!
Here’s where everything devolves into another mess of teens running around restaurants with confusing layouts, avoiding being killed by evil robots controlled by Afton. Jessica throws herself into Hot Charlie’s trunk and hitches a ride to Circus Baby’s Pizzeria, where she’s promptly caught and captured. There she meets Afton once again, though now he’s a shriveled old man in a wheelchair. Nevertheless, he reveals his evil plans to her, because how would readers know what’s going on if there’s no monologue?
Basically he says he’s making himself immortal by planting parts of himself (like his liver, for instance) into this weird amalgamation of the original four robots, who have been fused into a hideous thing and still contain the souls of the murdered kids. I guess being killed twice but still magically surviving doesn’t mean he’s immortal yet. He’s kidnapped some more kids because he needs more souls or something.
While Jessica is held captive and listening to villainous monologues, John and Frumpy Charlie are making their way back to Aunt Jen’s to discover…anything. Carlton goes to Jessica’s to get robot parts that used to belong to Frumpy Charlie that Hot Charlie no longer wanted when she turned over a new leaf and stopped living with Jessica. While he’s in Jessica’s apartment, Hot Charlie shows up and is definitely going to kill him. But at some point, someone figured out that if you cross the wires in the discs that cause you to see things that aren’t there, robots can’t “see” you anymore. I forget who figured this out and when – it’s irrelevant. So Hot Charlie has Carlton pinned to the wall and opens her face to kill him when he remembers the altered disc. He jams it in his ear and flips the switch and he’s immediately invisible to Hot.
On top of being invisible, I guess that means he’s also incorporeal. Because even though she was touching him, she draws away from him and then immediately looks around to find where he might be hiding. I could maaaaybe buy that the frequency messes with a machine’s ability to see you, but if they were holding on to you at the time, can’t they still feel you? Can she still hear him breathing since he’s so close? And wouldn’t her memory allow her to realize that he’s right in front of her, even though she can’t see him? Apparently it’s like he poofed out of existence, because Hot starts looking under the bed and in closets and eventually leaves the apartment. Ok, sure.
Back at Aunt Jen’s, Frumpy Charlie and John dig for important clues. Jen’s body is still there – no one cares. Charlie finds a box of her dad’s stuff, complete with a cryptic note. Eventually Hot shows up to confront Frumpy.
Meanwhile, Carlton and Marla head to Circus Baby’s to explore and eventually find Jessica and the captured children. This is where the frantic exploration of yet another evil pizzeria comes in and of course all the kids get away safely. Carlton even finds time to explore the kitchen looking for pizza because no one’s life is more important than food. Marla also declares she’s good at mazes when her and Carlton are trapped, but when he calls her out on it, she admits she’s terrible at mazes. Wow, guys, this book is so funny! Later, when the reunite with Jessica and the kidnapped children, they explain the two discs they have make it so the robots can’t see them (and I guess also hear and feel them) and Carlton offers Jessica his ear piece. She falters, asking if his ears are clean first. Because she’s someone who cares more about ear hygiene than her own life and the lives of small children.
Meanwhile Hot and Frumpy spend some time on exposition. Here’s where we find out the big reveal folks!
Charlie is a robot! She’s actually the one that was kidnapped and killed by Afton. Her mother and Sammy left because her dad went apeshit and created a Charlie robot to replace his daughter. He made four robots actually. I guess he was using these discs to make people think she looked (and felt!?) like a real human. As Hot says, “Charlie would be a baby, then a little girl and then a sulky teenager…then at last she would be a woman.” I guess Hot is the woman version – you’d think there might be a significant difference between Teen Charlie and Woman Charlie, but I guess not because the day after her fake death Woman Charlie showed up and apparently didn’t look like she’d age 15 years in a day or something.
There’s also some mention of some sort of rag doll – I think it’s been living inside Frumpy Charlie’s abdomen? I’m not sure. It doesn’t really matter. Her dad created a robot to replace his daughter, meanwhile Afton’s daughter was killed by a robot and her soul somehow took over Woman Charliebot? None of this needs to make sense, I guess.
Back at Circus Baby’s, Carlton gets captured again and injected with weird stuff and he hallucinates Michael and the original kidnapped children. They save the day once more by letting the weird jumbled robot get really hot and then glomming onto Afton so he burns alive. Carlton survives whatever weird shit was injected into him. The actual escape from Circus Baby’s is glossed over, but like I said, everyone gets out safe and sound.
Frumpy Charlie isn’t so fortunate. She kills herself and Hot Charlie with the same weird robot her dad used to kill himself – because Jen was holding on to that for a rainy day. John goes to the cemetery at the end of the book and we get confirmation that the graves are for Charlie and her dad. A mysterious woman waves to John and there’s no indication whether it’s maybe a refurbished Charlie or perhaps her mother or someone else entirely because Cawthon hates being direct. That’s it, THE END.
Oh my great gourd, I can’t believe I survived this shit. I have SO MANY issues. I love sci-fi books with AI characters that I can feel sympathy for and the idea of a robot not knowing it’s a robot is an intriguing one. This, however, was horribly executed. I still don’t believe that the level of technology used in this book would exist in the 80s. I also don’t think these frequency discs would allow for a perfect illusion of a human at all times.
I’m just going to leave you with some of the questions I had after the “big reveal”:
- Why did Charlie’s dad only create 4 robots?
- If one is a baby, wouldn’t there be a noticeable jump from baby to toddler? The second phase is described as “little girl”, does that encompass the ages of 2-12?
- Someone would be bound to notice she’s not aging or growing right? How about the jump from teenager to woman?
- If it wasn’t a noticeable jump, would she just look like a 20-year-old for the rest of her life?
- How does her body process food? Where does the waste go?
- How can she bleed or feel pain?
- Was the fake blood referred to from book 1 actually hers?
- If so, if she were to lose a lot of “blood” in some sort of accident, would she need to be refilled?
- What does she run on?
- The blood of virgins?
- What is her hair made out of?
- How does she see?
- If the earpieces make robots blind by emitting some sort of noise, wouldn’t that effect Charlie too?
- How do the discs actually make her skin feel realistic?
- If she’s actually covered in synthetic skin, what’s it made of?
- Where did her dad get the money and the materials to make all of this?
- Did he ever feel guilty about being able to create such advanced technology and not sharing it with the rest of the world to help advance medical and scientific discoveries?
We’re done, folks! Thank you to those of you who listened to me rant-view these books! I sincerely hope there are no more Freddy’s books on the horizon, but I’ll tell you right now if there are, I’ll friggen buy them!