This is one of those books that is so boringly average it's hard to review. While reading The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, I didn't feel actively insulted like I did with Monster Blood, but I wasn't overly impressed like I was with Stay Out of the Basement. This is the first Goosebumps book that is just....there. It feels like R.L. Stine pushed this one out without straining too much during the writer process only to fulfill a contract obligation. I could be wrong on that score; heck, I probably am. However, that doesn't help me shake the overbearing sense of blah I felt while reading this one.
And you know what? It shouldn't be that way. This is the first Goosebumps book to not be set in an American suburb but instead it's set entirely in Egypt -- cool, right? It's filled with sand and pyramids and all that fun jazz... which should make for a decent read, but it just isn't. The main character (Gabe, I think?) is a whiny brat who complains about his parents not getting him some water during a tour of the Great Pyramids. Seriously. Nine pages. The entire first chapter is this kid acknowledging that he is in a really cool place that most Americans never see.... but he doesn't care because his parents aren't catering to his every whim.
This kid is twelve. Not three.
It doesn't get worse from there, but it doesn't ever really get better, either -- Stine somehow reaches a plateau of boring in the first chapter and maintains it throughout this book's entirety. The only actively offensive thing is Gabe's incessant whining, but even that only rears its ugly head on occasion. Evan from Monster Blood was whiny, too, but at least Stine created Andy to act as a foil to Evan's general awfulness. The closest this book comes to that pair is Gabe's cousin Sari, a girl who is pretty annoying and braggy herself because her father is the entire reason they are in Egypt -- he and his team are exploring the tombs for scientific study. Or something.
I'm just finding myself struggling to find anything meaningful to say about this book. The stuff with the curses is sort of cool, and Gabe and Sari barely escaping getting kidnapped was pretty thrilling.... but everything else is pretty lame-o. The majority of this book is vague curses, mummies, and getting lost in the tunnels of pyramids. Sounds pretty fun, right? It's....okay, but somehow Stine manages to dull the edges on everything, thus creating a watered-down version of something that could have been really neat. I don't regret reading this book, if only because that means I get to read Let's Get Invisible! next.