Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks
Montgomery, R. A.
August 15, 2014
1937133443 / 9781937133443
|Number of Endings:
I like Gus vs. the Robot King. There is apparent peril in the story but no real bad endings, which is probably appropriate for such adventures for younger readers. There is humor and disguising oneself as a robot, there are the beginnings of understanding protests for equal rights and similar things as well as the risk of such movements venturing into their own desire for absolute rule. Having said that, some of those ideas might be a bit too subtle for younger readers, but better with an adult to read along and help explain and give some real world context.
"Nobody really knows what the future of robots will be. They become more like humans all the time. Be careful."
Though your parents had been nearly fed up with your robot Gus's antics in the previous book, Your Very Own Robot Goes Cuckoo-Bananas!, the tide seems to have turned in his favor by the start of Gus vs. the Robot King. No mention is made this time that just one more fiasco involving Gus will sentence him to the local landfill, which has to be a relief to you. You've put a lot of work into Gus since rescuing him from your scientist parents' scrap heap in Your Very Own Robot (Or, as the story goes in the second and third books, since you built him), and you don't want your friend to end up in the trash. But your parents are more worried than angry now, especially with rumors flying around that robots worldwide may be marshaling their powers into a concerted effort to forward robots' rights on earth, and a mysterious robot politico known as the Robot King is the driving force of the movement. Does Gus know something about this?
He sure does, as you quickly learn after inquiring. Your parents have been teaching Gus that it's always important to tell the truth to his humans, even when doing so might limit immediate avenues for a fun time, so Gus isn't about to mislead you regarding his connection to the Robot King. You and your cuckoo-bananas pal are off to the races to discover the full extent of the Robot King's agenda and see if it should be halted or helped, and time is short if you want your investigation to make a difference. The police are already on the Robot King's track, and if you don't act soon, his social movement could be dismantled by the authorities. Fear abounds as to the Robot King's ultimate goal, but are his intentions as evil as some believe? Or is it his desire to bring people and their robotic assistants into friendlier alignment, allowing peaceful and humane treatment to exist between the two? Can you alter the course of history by helping broker a deal between humans and their increasingly intelligent robots?
Like many R. A. Montgomery books, Gus vs. the Robot King can be wacky and confusing, and your mission isn't as straightforward as might be preferred. There are no real negative endings in this book; at worst, you don't figure out the full truth behind the Robot King's plans, and decide to take a break from the action and let the police handle things if they get too crazy. The unexpected overarching message of the often silly narrative is an environmental one, as you discover if you make it far enough into the robot organization to uncover the reason for their increase in intelligence. An organic brain will likely always be superior to wires and circuitry, no matter how complex. Is that how the Robot King could be upgrading the mental capacity of his mechanized forces? Is there an animal species calling the shots behind the scenes, one so desperate to convey its message to the human race that it finds a way to commandeer robot bodies to do so? This message, I think, is R. A. Montgomery and Shannon Gilligan's chief reason for writing Gus vs. the Robot King, and their point is taken.
As the final Choose Your Own Adventure book credited to R. A. Montgomery before his passing in 2014, Gus vs. the Robot King is kind of the end of an era. Gamebooks will continue to be written and published, of course, but the interactive storytelling movement has lost one of its pioneers, an author who did much to help generations of kids develop a love for reading. They may not always have been master literature, but R. A. Montgomery books were usually entertaining, and his best Choose Your Own Adventure contributions--Track of the Bear, Spooky Thanksgiving, Death in the Dorm, and others--were among the better options to be found among gamebooks. Rest well, R. A. Montgomery, and I hope you've finally been reunited with your son, Ramsey, in the great eternity beyond our next horizon.
|Thanks to KenJenningsJeopardy74 for the images.
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|Erikwinslow, jdreller, KenJenningsJeopardy74, waktool (Dragonlark, CN 1st printing)
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