Books Illustrated by Ralph Reese


Choose Your Own Adventure

15. House of Danger
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: September, 1982
ISBN: 0-553-22541-3
Length: 115 pages
Number of Endings: 20
Plot Summary: You are an amateur detective and psychic investigator. After receiving a mysterious phone call, you end up investigating a modern house built on the site of an old prison.
Translations: Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Turkish
My Thoughts: This isn't a very good gamebook; it lacks internal consistency and doesn't cover much new ground for the series. It's notable only because it introduces the recurring characters of Ricardo and Lisa.

17. The Race Forever
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: February, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23290-8
Length: 116 pages
Number of Endings: 32
Plot Summary: You have been chosen to compete in two races in Africa, a speed race and a rough road race.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Swedish
My Thoughts: This is a fun gamebook to play... It has two goals for the reader to aim for, and it allows both of them to be reached in one reading. Definitely a well-designed book.

20. Escape
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: May, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23294-0
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 27
Plot Summary: By the year 2035, the United States has been split into three hostile provinces - Dorado, Rebellium, and Turtalia. You are a spy working for the Turtalian democracy and you must escape from the hostile Dorado.
Translations: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: This is another average book. It's not bad, but it's also not particularly exceptional. The futuristic setting is a good idea, but it's rather uncreatively developed. Like The Cave of Time, this book was adapted into a computer game for the Commodore 64 and Apple II in the mid 1980s.

22. Space Patrol
Author: Julius Goodman
Illustrator: Ralph Reese (interior and original cover), Tim Jacobus (reissue cover)
First Published: July, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23349-1 (early printings), 0-553-27520-8 (later printings)
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 26
Plot Summary: As the title suggests, you are the commander of a space patrol and you must travel through the solar system making sure all is in order.
Translations: Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is a fairly good science fiction adventure, though it's pretty typical in most ways. There are a few strange, goofy endings, though.

25. Prisoner of the Ant People
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: October, 1983
ISBN: 0-553-23661-X
Length: 115 pages
Number of Endings: 28
Plot Summary: You are a member of the Zondo Quest Group II, a research organization dedicated to battling a mysterious and destructive entity called the Evil Power Master.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: Perhaps I just like this because it's one of the first gamebooks I ever read, but it's a pretty entertaining adventure. The title doesn't really seem very appropriate to most of the story, though.

29. Trouble on Planet Earth
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: February, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-23865-5
Length: 116 pages
Number of Endings: 22
Plot Summary: You and your psychic brother Ned investigate the disappearance of all of Earth's oil.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This book is exceedingly silly and incoherent; there's little internal consistency, many events make no sense whatsoever, and the characters are mostly annoying stereotypes. The main redeeming feature of this book is that at times it's so insanely bad that it's quite amusing.

30. The Curse of Batterslea Hall
Author: Richard Brightfield
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Ted Enik (interior)
First Published: March, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-23937-6
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 22
Plot Summary: You travel from America to England to visit your cousin Amanda, who lives in the cursed Batterslea Hall.
Translations: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: Unlike most books of this sort, there's a fairly developed (if not entirely original) story told here. Following different paths through the book reveals more and more about what's going on in Batterslea Hall, and after several readings everything makes sense. This is far more entertaining than books full of random, unrelated events tend to be, but it has the potential to make the first few readings rather confusing.

35. Journey to Stonehenge
Author: Fred Graver
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Leslie Morrill (interior)
First Published: August, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-24484-1
Length: 111 pages
Number of Endings: 19
Plot Summary: You are a young reporter assigned to write about a group of teenagers investigating the history of Stonehenge.
Translations: Bulgarian, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish (Spain), Turkish
My Thoughts: This is one of the weaker entries in the series. The plot is aimless, the characters are vaguely defined at best, and the continuity is poor. There's one point in the book where a character is mentioned when it's possible that you haven't yet met him; this makes an already confusing book even more disorienting. Considering its potentially interesting subject matter, this book should have been a lot better.

37. War with the Evil Power Master
Author: R. A. Montgomery
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Paul Abrams (interior)
First Published: October, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-24523-6
Length: 118 pages
Number of Endings: 29
Plot Summary: In this sequel to Prisoner of the Ant People, you and Flppto the Martian are working with the Lacoonian System Rapid Force and must defeat the Evil Power Master before he destroys three entire planets.
Translations: Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: I didn't particularly enjoy this book... The sci-fi fails to work very well; too much time is spent on exposition that fails to really explain anything, and the author wanders off into weird abstractions a few times too many. The book also suffers from choices that really don't matter because you just get blown up before your decision has time to yield any results. It could be argued that this is done to add a touch of realism, but it's kind of frustrating in a reader-driven story. There are some interesting moments, though, such as a point in the story where you get injured and must choose who will become the new commander. Still, these few moments of creativity don't save the book from mediocrity.

38. Sabotage
Author: Jay Leibold
Illustrator: Ralph Reese
First Published: November, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-24525-2 (early printings), 0-553-25860-5 (later printings)
Length: 132 pages
Number of Endings: 39
Plot Summary: You are a secret agent during World War II, and you must rescue two of your friends from a Nazi-held castle.
Translations: Catalan, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish (Argentina), Spanish (Spain)
My Thoughts: I quite enjoyed reading this book even though it has some serious flaws. On the positive side, the book is exciting and contains quite a few interesting choices and one or two genuinely surprising plot twists. Unfortunately, the book is hampered a bit by its writing style, which is rather unengaging and not nearly as detailed or well-written as, say, a Time Machine book. Additionally, even though this is one of the longest books in the series up to this point, it has a number of endings that just trail off in a frustrating manner. Better to have a "you're dead" ending than a "you're alive but we're not going to tell you what happens next" ending. Despite these flaws, though, the book is definitely worth reading.


Choose Your Own Adventure (Skylark Edition)

  15. The Three Wishes
Author: Shannon Gilligan
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Bert Dodson (interior)
First Published: April, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-15241-6
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 7
Plot Summary: Your aunt Louise gives you a charm which will grant you three wishes...
Translation: Spanish
My Thoughts: Considering that there was already a book in this series about the granting of wishes (The Genie in the Bottle), this book seems a bit redundant. Then again, wishing is a rather open-ended topic...

 19. The Tower of London
Author: Susan Saunders
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Lorna Tomei (interior)
First Published: August, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-15270-X
Length: 51 pages (plus "About the Armor")
Number of Endings: 8
Plot Summary: During a trip to England, you pay a midnight visit to the infamous Tower of London with your ghost-obsessed penpal Rodney.
Translations: French, German
My Thoughts: This is a pleasant little collection of ghost stories with just the right level of creepiness for its target age group. There's not all that much to it, but it has a good diversity of ghouls and adventures crammed into its relatively few pages.

 21. Mona is Missing
Author: Shannon Gilligan
Illustrators: Ralph Reese (cover), Leslie Morrill (interior)
First Published: October, 1984
ISBN: 0-553-15283-1
Length: 51 pages
Number of Endings: 9
Plot Summary: You live in Egypt. When Mona, your pet camel, escapes, you must bring her back before your parents find out or they will sell her.
My Thoughts: This is one of the best books in this series. The story is considerably more original than usual, the writing and illustrations are both quite good, and there's a clear objective for the player to meet.


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