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Edgar Potapov
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How to Read Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman Online: A Horror Story Inspired by Goldilocks and King Midas



Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman: A Book Review




Introduction




If you are looking for a thrilling and chilling read that will keep you on the edge of your seat, you might want to check out Dread Locks, the first book in the Dark Fusion series by Neal Shusterman. Shusterman is a prolific and award-winning author of young adult fiction, known for his gripping stories that explore ethical dilemmas, social issues, and human nature. Some of his most popular books include Unwind, Scythe, Challenger Deep, and Dry.




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Dread Locks is part of a series that Shusterman calls Dark Fusion, which he describes as "a melding of literary elements to create something new". In this series, he takes familiar parts of fairy tales and Greek mythology and twists them into dark and modern stories that are both familiar and original. In Dread Locks, he combines elements of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the myth of King Midas to create a horror story that will make you think twice about what you wish for.


Summary




The protagonist of Dread Locks is Parker Baer, a fourteen-year-old boy who lives a privileged and boring life in a wealthy suburb. He has everything he wants, but nothing he needs. He is surrounded by shallow and superficial people who care more about appearances than reality. He has no real friends, no passion, no purpose. He is numb to everything around him.


That changes when a new girl moves in next door. Her name is Tara, and she is unlike anyone Parker has ever met. She has long dread locks that cover her face, she wears exotic clothes and jewelry, she speaks with a mysterious accent, and she has a captivating aura that draws everyone to her. Parker is instantly intrigued by her, and soon becomes obsessed with finding out more about her.


But Tara is not what she seems. She has a dark secret that she hides behind her locks. She has a terrible power that she uses to manipulate and transform people. She can turn anything she touches into gold, but at a terrible price. She can also turn people into statues with her gaze, but only if they look into her eyes. She is a modern-day Medusa with a Midas touch.


Parker discovers Tara's secret when he sneaks into her house one night, hoping to get a glimpse of her face. He finds her sleeping in a bed surrounded by three statues: a man, a woman, and a child. They are Tara's parents and brother, who she turned into gold when she was younger. Parker realizes that Tara is dangerous, but he also feels sorry for her. He decides to help her escape from her curse, even if it means risking his own life.


But Parker's involvement with Tara has consequences. He starts to change, both physically and mentally. He develops a golden streak in his hair, and his skin becomes pale and cold. He also becomes more selfish, greedy, and cruel. He alienates his family and friends, and becomes obsessed with Tara and her power. He wants to have everything she has, even if it means losing everything he had.


The story reaches a climax when Parker confronts Tara in her house, and tries to force her to look at him. He wants to become a statue, a golden masterpiece that will last forever. He thinks that this is the only way to be happy and free. But Tara refuses to give him what he wants. She tells him that he is making a mistake, that he is throwing away his life for nothing. She tells him that he has a choice, that he can still go back to his normal self. She tells him that she loves him, and that she wants him to live.


But Parker doesn't listen. He grabs Tara's locks and pulls them away from her face. He looks into her eyes, and sees his own reflection. He sees the monster he has become. He feels a surge of pain and regret, but it is too late. He turns into gold, and falls to the ground.


Analysis




Dread Locks is a well-written and engaging book that uses language and style to create a sense of suspense and horror. Shusterman uses short sentences, vivid descriptions, and cliffhangers to keep the reader hooked and curious. He also uses foreshadowing, irony, and symbolism to add depth and meaning to the story. For example, he uses the motif of locks to represent different aspects of the characters and the plot. Tara's dread locks are both her protection and her prison, hiding her face and her power from the world. Parker's locks are his keys to Tara's secrets, but also his downfall when he unlocks her gaze. The locks also symbolize the choices that the characters make, and the consequences that follow.


Dread Locks also explores the concepts of identity, power, and morality in a compelling way. Shusterman challenges the reader to think about who they are, what they want, and what they are willing to do to get it. He shows how people can be influenced by external factors, such as wealth, beauty, popularity, and fame, but also by internal factors, such as curiosity, desire, fear, and love. He shows how people can change for better or for worse, depending on their decisions and actions. He shows how people can be corrupted by power, but also redeemed by love.


Dread Locks also blends elements of different genres and sources in a creative way. Shusterman combines horror, fantasy, romance, and mystery to create a unique and original story that appeals to a wide range of readers. He also draws inspiration from fairy tales and Greek mythology, but gives them a modern twist that makes them relevant and relatable. He uses these sources as a framework for his story, but also adds his own twists and interpretations that make them fresh and surprising.


Evaluation




Dread Locks is a strong and impressive book that has many strengths and few weaknesses. One of its strengths is its plot, which is fast-paced, intriguing, and unpredictable. The book keeps the reader interested and invested in the outcome of the story, as well as the fate of the characters. The book also has a satisfying ending that wraps up the story in a logical and emotional way.


Another strength of the book is its characters, who are complex, realistic, and sympathetic. The book focuses on the development of Parker and Tara, who are both flawed but likable protagonists who undergo significant changes throughout the story. The book also features other characters who add diversity and contrast to the story, such as Parker's family, friends, enemies, and teachers.


A third strength of the book is its theme, which is relevant and meaningful for young adult readers. The book explores issues such as identity crisis, peer pressure, materialism, morality, and love in a way that is relatable and thought-provoking. The book also offers a message of hope and redemption for those who are willing to change their ways.


One of the weaknesses of the book is its length, which is relatively short for a novel. The book could have been longer and more detailed in some parts, such as the backstory of Tara and her family, or the consequences of Parker's actions on his family and friends. The book could have also explored more aspects of the Dark Fusion series, such as how other fairy tales and myths are connected or influenced by Tara's power.


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