Review * Chain Letter by Christopher Pike

October 4, 2012 Reviews 16 ★★★★

Review * Chain Letter by Christopher PikeChain Letter by Christopher Pike
Series: Chain Letter #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 1, 1986
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Pages: 192
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
When Alison first read the chain letter signed "Your Caretaker," she thought it was some terrible sick joke. Someone, somewhere knew about tha tawful night when she and six other friends committed an unthinkable crime in the desolate California desert. And now that person was determined to make them pay for it.One by one, the chain letter was coming to each of them ... demanding dangerous, impossible deeds... threatening violence if the demands were not met. No one out of the seven wanted to believe that this nightmare was really happening to them. Until the accidents started happening -- and the dying...

What I Thought…

  • Chain Letter was THE BOOK of my childhood. I went through Pike’s books like water but this one I read more than any of the others. I loved his books so much that after I read them all I made one very scary attempt at a King book.
  • Since this is a reread for me and it’s been since the late 90’s since I read it I decided to write down some stuff to see how good my memory was. I did a scary good job at remember the important stuff, in fact I was spot on for most of the book, with one glaring exception: I took it a little too far and I started in on the second book (Chain Letter 2: The Ancient Evil) for a few things. As the chain letter progresses they are given different tasks and I took a few of them too far (though I’m happy to report that after skimming the second book I at least got them right).
  • There are 7 major characters in the book, and while they know each other, they all aren’t friends. A chance circumstance put them on this path. Their tasks in the chain letter are all tailored to what they cherish/hate.
  • Christopher Pike is a master story teller. As this is a reread for me I know who the killer is, but I forgot how well Pike twists everything around so that you are constantly thinking the Caretaker is someone else. You essentially have 8 possibilities for who the Caretaker is, one of the seven in the group, or someone from the outside. As I reread the book I could pin point each place that he made you think you knew who the killer was.
  • Even though I knew the outcome there were still some parts that were creepy, and I remember that the first time I read it I was definitely scared. But knowing who the Caretaker is definitely takes away some of the scariness.
  • Tony was my favorite character by a lot, he was (in the typical late 80’s/early 90’s YA) perfect, except for the one fault that made the book work. A couple of the characters drove me nuts, but it was by design so it wasn’t too bothersome.
  • The thing that irked me the most was the fact that their high school life was more of a college life which was mildly irritating (I don’t know about y’all, but I could not just come and go as I pleased in high school.) But it’s one of those things that is like that to make other things work.
  • Chain Letter is not terribly scary, it’s more thriller like, so I would definitely recommend it as a good Halloween read for those who are scaredy cats like me.

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16 Responses to “Review * Chain Letter by Christopher Pike”

  1. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    Perfect, Kim! I love that we can bond over our love of Christopher Pike! I don’t even like to think about Chain Letter 2, because it ruined a lot of what I loved about the first book, although of course I own it. I really do like how all the characters end up together in the same car, it set the scene up perfectly- the drunkenness, the tension, the bad decisions that get made… Even when his characters are merely plot devices, Pike still gives them realistic personalities to make them act the way he needs them to.

  2. fakesteph

    They turned it into a movie, btw!!!!!!! And I love how much you love this book. Maybe I will read it… if I ever get ahead on my TBR. :) I also love the way you formatted the bottom. Totally going to copy that.

  3. Jennifer | Book Den

    I wish I had that kind of memory of books I read. I can remember how much I loved, liked, hated them, but I always lose the details. I usually loved Christopher Pike.

  4. Bittner

    One of these days I have to go back and give Chris Pike another chance. I’m glad you liked it because sometimes childhood re-reads can be a bit shaky.

    • Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

      They can be, this is probably my exception. Cause I’ve read other childhood favorites and they haven’t been as good. Part of it though is that YA lit has changed so much and I think that plays a huge part.

    • Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books

      Of course we can still be friends! I’m not like that! But I think you should cause they are awesome. As far as a recommendation… Any of his older books (like mid 1980’s) are his best. The other ones are great too, but IDK, those were just better.

  5. Roberta R.

    Huge Pike fan here (I even dedicated a whole section of my blog to the man)…but CL isn’t a fave. As for CL 2, I pretty much hated it. That’s what Pike recently had to say about the book on his Facebook page:
    Why did I write a sequel? I was offered a lot of money, and I wanted to keep my publisher happy. That’s the same reason I wrote two sequels to Remember Me. Obviously neither of those books were meant to have sequels. But I’m not ashamed of Chain Letter II. I knew when I started it I couldn’t repeat the first book. That’s why I added the supernatural element. I thought the book was pretty scary. “Once you are in the box you stay in the box.” But because of my situation at the time, I was forced to write the book in less than a month. I regret I didn’t spend more time on it. I would have made it longer – I had many more scenes with the demon girl and our two heroes in my head..
    For all those who haven’t read anything Pike, I’d recommend Remember Me 1, The Last Vampire (now Thirst) series, Last Act, Spellbound – all good places where to start.