Series 2000 16 the Mummy Walks
Front Tagline: One small step for mummy...
The last thing I want to read about is mummies, so I can't pretend I went into this week's book with an open mind. And thought it contains almost the same amount of mummies as any other Goosebumps book, it bears so little resemblance to this series that it's a little bewildering. The action doesn't take place in Egypt, but the made-up Middle-Eastern berg of Jezekiah. Protagonist Michael is put on a plane from New York to Florida for the purpose of visiting his Aunt in Orlando. But once he gets on the plane, he can't help but notice he's the only one in the cabin. Without even Bronson Pinchot tearing paper to keep him company, Michael wanders aimlessly around the plane. Finally, mid-flight, a middle-eastern man exits the cockpit and brings him a delicious dinner. So either this is an ironic hijacking or something else is going on.
After being called "Excellency" by everyone he encounters once exiting the plane, Michael figures out: "Hey, they must mean me." As cheerful foreigners celebrate his venture to the palace, it's explained to him that he's not really Michael Clarke from New York, but rather the son of two dead Jezekiah rulers. After the murder of his parents, he was sent overseas for his protection, where he lived for all these years unaware of his royalty. After seeing his shock, General Rameer, the military expert in charge of Michael's readjustment, asks whether his parents told him all this. Like this was something he'd forget being told. His "parents" did however hand him a sheet of paper that simply said "We're not your real parents" as he was boarding the plane, which is probably not the best way to break news that requires followup questions.
General Rameer has more news: His parents hid a valuable mummy, which in turn holds a valuable jewel, just before they died. The entire economy of Jezekiah depends on borrowing against the value of the mummy jewel. Without the jewel, thousands will starve and the nation will collapse. Write to your congressmen and oppose the bailout in favor of mystical mummy jewels. How is Michael supposed to know where the mummy is hidden if he was just a baby when all this happened? Well of course his parents implanted a microchip in his brain with the info. Because a poor desert nation dependent on borrowing against an ancient relic will also have the technology and money at hand for brain surgery and advanced cerebral microchips.
Of course Michael can't remember anything, but he caves to their pressure-- literally. He points to a random cave. General Raheem announces that they'll all leave at dawn to investigate the cave, and that Michael is coming with. Michael tries to explain that he's not a morning person, but this holds little weight with crazy military dictators who are using preteen members of royalty to further their own aspirations. The nefarious intent of the General is all spelled out by the General's adopted American daughter, Megan, who sneaks into Michael's room and explains that they'll kill him whether the mummy is or isn't in the cave. Michael doesn't question this information because adopted daughters of nefarious dictators are notoriously reliable.
The next morning, Megan tags along as they make their way through the desert towards the caves. Then some rebels attack and there's a gunfight and boy, we're a long way from werewolves. All tuckered out from being shot at, the Jezekiah military entourage rests until the next morning. When they finally enter the cave, to Michael's great shock, they do find a mummy. This mummy comes to life and chases after the explorers. It's then revealed that the mummy is really Megan, who knew Michael was lying and thus disguised herself as a mummy to scare away the men with guns. Then some other men with guns kidnap her and Michael.
The rebels tell Michael that they know he knows where the mummy is. He tries telling this new group of middle-easterners with guns that he doesn't know anything, but somehow they don't believe him. Frustrated, the rebel leader tells his lackey to shoot Michael. After some persuading, the rebel leader finally softens and agrees to throw the boy into a snake pit. And before Olivia de Havilland can chime in with a comment, not a metaphorical one, but a large hole filled with pythons.
But before that can happen, Megan saves the day once again by stopping the execution and convincing the rebel leader that letting them go back to America will actually benefit the rebel cause. The rebel leader reveals why he's on the losing side by agreeing and the two kids travel back. Because a rebel leader fighting for his people has enough money to fly two kids to America?
Michael's "parents" greet him and Megan at the airport and explain that the reason he couldn't remember anything about the mummy was because they had the microchip removed at an early age. His parents welcome Megan into the family.
But the Twist is:
Remember that mummy and its jewel? Michael's guardians had the mummy shipped over secretly years ago and reveal its hiding place in the basement. The next morning, the mummy and its jewel are gone. Megan leaves a note apologizing for being a double-agent for her adopted father. And the mummy's not there because a member of non-royalty taking the jewel causes the mummy to come to life. But whereas that should have been the first chapter of the advertised book, that's the end of this one. Take that, readers!
the Platonic Boy-Girl Relationship:
Michael and the daughter of the guy who wants to kill him, Megan, who disappears into a cave halfway through the book.
Close your eyes and point to anything they do in this book.
Memorable Cliffhanger Chapter Ending:
Michael's "mom" asks who is on the phone when he calls, and then he tells her, and then she knows who is on the phone. Edge. Of. The. Seat.
Great Prose Alert:
Maybe I am that baby, I argued with myself.
Even RL Stine is clearly bored with the series at this point.