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Item - Night of the Kraken

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Series: Doctor Who: Choose the Future — no. 1
Author: Green, Jonathan
Date: April 28, 2016
ISBN: 1405926503 / 9781405926508
Length: 150 sections
hadlee73's Thoughts:

Doctor Who: Choose the Future: Night of the Kraken is a systemless gamebook (that is, it doesn't require dice rolling) written by prolific gamebook author Jonathan Green. The story encompasses an encounter that The Doctor has upon visiting one of the earlier Centuries on the planet Earth, but exactly where the plot goes is up to the reader.

Now, clearly The Doctor is the star of the show here, as he is always is when it comes to anything Doctor Who, but that isn't to say there aren't a few interesting side characters to meet along the way. I quite enjoyed the barmaid Bess, so much so that I actually wish she'd played a bigger part in the overall narrative as The Doctor's companion. Being that these are not recurring characters from the television show, you won't really know much about them going in and you're not likely to learn much more either, as there isn't really time for character development when the future of the Earth is at stake! The story has one specific narrative device, that is, the root cause of the difficulties experienced by the seaside town of Bosmouth (yes, there's a little play on H. P. Lovecraft there), and the varying paths will often steer you back to this plot. Otherwise there are actually several paths with varying stories and protagonists who will be involved in this plot (for example, one playthrough might have a simple group of people battling against a swarm of aquatic creatures, whereas another storyline might involve a powerful alien being unrelated to those same monsters, even though the sea creatures still play a part. The story pads along at a hectic pace, and is quite amusing mostly due to The Doctor's less-than-serious outlook on everything.

I should say at this point that there might be the odd time where this book is its own worse enemy. For example, my first playthrough had me making decisions I considered honourable and logical, and led to an ending which seemed like it was really good, and possibly the best ending of the book. The story leading to that ending wasn't the most engaging fare, however. Now, while some readers might just put the book down at that point, having 'read' it already, I continued re-reading through from beginning to end until I'd encountered what I believe to be all of its content (so much so that I discovered a couple of orphaned sections, which isn't uncommon with gamebooks). As I did this, I encountered storylines which were much more fun than the first one I've experienced, and led to endings which were even better (though not all of the endings are happy ones). This could be problematic for a book of this kind, as some readers will play it once, get possibly a story that doesn't engage them, and then spread via word of mouth that the book might not be very interesting. That would be a shame, as there's a tonne of fun and some interesting characters to meet for those who explore.

I do think Doctor Who fans will get more out of the book than people who aren't regular watchers of the television show, as there are references to things and technologies that readers might not understand if they don't know the background of the wacky universe of The Doctor. The book is still a fun read, though, so I do recommend it for Doctor Who fans and readers who want a bit of interactivity in their books.

More reviews by hadlee73

Special Thanks:Thanks to Mateusz Motyka for the cover image.
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, hadlee73, Malthus Dire

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