Title: Fear Street Sagas #17 – The Raven Woman
Cover Artist: Karen Chandler
Tagline: Who Will Be Her Prey?
Summary: Will The Past Protect Her Or Defeat Her?
Terror is sweeping the land and beautiful Meg Fier is swept up in the frenzy. Some blame the approaching American Revolution. Others say it is caused by the curse of the mysterious Raven Woman.
Meg finds shelter with Dr. Malcolm Howell, renowned physician. She also finds herself falling in love with the kind, trustworthy doctor…
…Until she catches him reciting spells from the Book of Fier!
This is about the best any of us is getting towards learning more about what was going to be the penultimate Sagas, “The Raven Woman.” The last Sagas, “The Hand of Power,” included a short preview in the back along with a summary for “The Raven Woman.” All I can say is it’s a good thing I didn’t know about this when it was first published or I would’ve been beyond pissed at the time I would’ve wasted wondering when the next book was coming out. I’m still trying to figure out which of the authors who wrote the Sagas books was supposed to write this in the hopes of learning about what was planned. I know it wasn’t Cameron Dokey though, or R.L. Stine.
This is the first time any “Book of Fier” was mentioned, which I guess makes sense because the continuity of the Sagas entries flip flops depending on the book.
[Wing: I’m very curious about this Book of Fier spellbook. I’ve not read a ton of the Sagas (pretty much only Heart of the Hunter, so I’m not sure how many spells tend to show up, but I’d love to see more of the Fier women being powerful witches, and especially this Raven Woman legend/curse.]
The online stores offer a bit more to the summary, explicitly mentioning the doctor character is performing mind control experiments, [Wing: Well that escalated quickly!] and Meg would turn to the Raven Woman for help. I’ll offer my thoughts as to what was gonna happen after the recap.
Meg Fier is now dutifully employed as an assistant to the wealthy and charitable Dr. Malcolm Howell, when just the other day she was a lowly seamstress and dirt ass poor. Of course, Meg would like to feel prouder about her work if she also wasn’t grieving the loss of her sister Hester, who died the previous day. Meg receives comfort when Malcolm promises he’ll begin the arrangements for Hester’s funeral shortly.
Meg and Malcolm go around town performing charitable deeds, while Boston is gripped by a wave of unexplained insanity. [Wing: Awesome. So excited about this plot point. Clearly.] Their first stop is to the home of a woman who abandoned her three children for no reason given. Malcolm offers to have food sent to the children, who are being watched by their 18 year old sibling. At a nearby shop, doctor and assistant are attacked by a craftsman armed with an ax, chopping up furniture and raving. Malcolm wonders if the talk of revolution flooding Boston has unsettled many of its citizens, mentioning just the other day the craftsman was lucid.
Meg’s heart practically stops when she sees a dead body taken out of a nearby building, and recognizes it as her ex-future brother-in-law Joseph. Witnesses say Joseph stabbed himself in the chest over and over again while he ranted about how he killed his wife. That’s nearly too much for Meg and she buries herself in Malcolm’s chest for comfort, reminding herself how lost she’d been before he helped her. But the comfort Meg receives is undercut by a feeling someone is watching her. Looking up, Meg sees the feared Raven Woman watching her from the second story window. She tries to get Malcolm’s attention, but looking back they see a raven flying from the window. Inside, Meg is told no one saw any woman on the second floor. [Wing: I NEED MORE OF THE RAVEN WOMAN. I NEED IT.]
Meg suspects the Raven Woman, implied to be some kind of recluse living in the forests surrounding Boston, has come out of hiding to inflict the wave of madness flooding the city. Malcolm argues there must be a logical explanation to the events, and it’s not because of some ghost story. [Wing: Well you would fucking know, wouldn’t you, Malcolm?] Meg feels Malcolm must be right, and the two depart to meet Malcolm’s next patient. At the home of a British general, Malcolm is asked to inspect the lady of the house, who is “In very bad shape.” Almost immediately, the woman bursts from her room and throws herself at Meg, until Meg is violently forced back and about to fall over the second floor balcony-!
That’s all there was.
[Wing: Well goddamn, even when R. L. Stine isn’t writing it, even when there isn’t a complete book, there is still a needlessly dramatic cliffhanger ending.]
From every tidbit I could put together, my belief is, obviously Malcolm is the real villain and it sounds as if there’s a Book of Fier involved, he’s only using Meg to get access to the book, or find where it was, or to steal whatever power she’s been born with because, hello, she’s a Fier/Fear.
(Meg Fier by Trungles)
The Raven Woman’s a red herring who might in fact be guarding Meg and trying to protect her, but as to what connection she truly has to the young girl I can’t say. It’s possible the Raven Woman genuinely is evil like Meg believes and she’ll be stuck between Malcolm and the Raven Woman with her soul at stake. Because the Raven Woman is described as old, it’s more likely to believe the woman on the cover is Meg, and the otherworldly traits of the woman on the cover implies Meg is going to unleash some sort of power of her own. [Wing: Meg is the next Raven Woman! It passes down the line matrilineally. That’s my theory.]
I tried a couple of times to write my own version of this story when I was younger, but I never got any farther than the first few pages, like a lot of stories I tried to write. In my version, the Raven Woman was originally Meg’s nanny when she was a very young child until she got driven out of the city by a mob who suspected she killed Meg’s parents.
Oh well, at least we have all this which is more than I can say for “Carousel of Doom.” That only got a cover by Karen Chandler. [Wing: Which is heartbreaking, because I love that damn cover.]