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Item - Escape from the Carnival of Horrors

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(First printing)
(First printing)
(First printing)
(6th printing)
(6th printing)
(6th printing)
(9th printing)
(9th printing)
(9th printing)
(British edition)
(British edition)
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Combined Summary

Series: Give Yourself Goosebumps — no. 1
Contained In: Give Yourself Goosebumps Books #1-#4 (Collection)
Translated Into: La feria de los horrores (Spanish)
Flukten fra skrekkens tivoli (Norwegian)
La foire aux horreurs (French)
Die Geisterbahn des Grauens (German)
Author: Stine, R. L.
Illustrator: Jacobus, Tim
Date: July, 1995 (First printing)
ISBNs: 0590137522 / 9780590137522 (British edition)
0590553232 / 9780590553230 (First printing, 6th printing)
Length: 135 pages
Number of Endings: 25
Cover Price: US$3.99 (6th printing)
User Summary: The carnival has returned to town. Last year it was pitiful, but this year it's larger, more spectacular, and (of course) totally evil.
david the goosebumps fan's Thoughts:

Pretty standard in all honesty. In my opinion this is not a book to judge the series on, though I did enjoy the midway section.

More reviews by david the goosebumps fan

deleted-user-12219's Thoughts:

This book is a mixed bag. The plot is completely unfocused, as the book gives the illusion that the two paths in the books are either "play carnival games" or "go on rides," but in reality, the two plots are having short-lived fun in the carnival and trying to escape the carnival.

The book displays a huge amount of laziness as well. Somehow numerous areas can be accessed through different paths, which would be fine if done properly, but there's too many of them, and somehow a single page turn can propel you onto the other side of the carnival in order to make this possible. Really sloppy! I know that sounds confusing, but if you read the book, you would understand completely. The author probably did this to write as little as possible and still get 135 pages. This is the first entry of the series! Did the author really run out of ideas already?? There's hardly any carnival games, and all the locations are tiny with only a few pages devoted to each location. It would made a huge difference if there were more pages devoted to all the locations, especially the haunted house.

The whole escape from the carnival with the Mountain King and Halloween Express felt very rushed, and the reader is forced to guess at the correct choice as logical choices can kill you.

Added to this are the normal problems present in this series. Silly endings that are not scary, and of course a lack of internal consistency. The book has to be totally random as well.

During the spinner carnival game, I landed on the wrong space, and the book kills you without even telling you how or why. It just says you're dead. Page 115 could be taken as an insult to the reader, and there's a spoiler on the back cover of the book in regards to the snake lady.

I know that I've come down on this book really hard but I don't actually dislike it. I'm just disappointed because I remember this book as being a lot better. The book has some great moments and some of the locations were interesting but underdeveloped.

More reviews by deleted-user-12219

Demian's Thoughts:

R. L. Stine is not the most praiseworthy author in the world, but he does occasionally manage to create an interesting gamebook by adding unusual features. In addition to the usual choices, this book includes a number of special gimmicks that make it more fun, most of them involving carnival games.

More reviews by Demian

Enigmatic Synergy's Thoughts:

There will always be a special place in my heart for this book. Being a child of the 90's, I was too young to experience the original Choose Your Own Adventure series during its immense popularity in the 80's. The Give Yourself Goosebumps series were to me what Choose Your Own Adventure books were for many others. With that being said, this book was my first taste of what a "gamebook" was. (Understandably, this may not be considered to be a true gamebook to the more hardcore aficionados). I thought the whole "choose what happens next" concept was amazing, and just like that I became addicted to this whole series and other gamebooks as well.

After re-reading this book now as an adult, it is not quite as good as I remembered it being as a kid. Some of the endings end without a proper explanation as to why, and some threads of the book feel flat-out rushed. While the book still manages to create a creepy and sinister atmosphere, it is simply not as good as some of the later books in the series. I do not (and even as a kid) particularly care for the choices that involve pure luck, such as whether the reader is reading the book on a certain day of the week or on a certain time of day. I believe that these types of choices fail to deliver the sense of control that is at the heart of gamebooks in general. One should not have to rely on silly chances to continue the story, and while this book did not provide too many of them it was enough for me to realize that I did not care for them.

In summation, I believe this is book neither bad nor great; mediocre would seem to be my final verdict. Many parts feel rushed and some of the endings are a little too abrupt and cheap for my liking. While it is a pretty decent attempt for a first book in the series, it is simply not as good as my initial reading of it in the mid to late 90's. However, I must say that this book, and this series in general are what actually turned me on to the original CYOA books that I finally discovered and fell in love with in the early to mid 00's.

More reviews by Enigmatic Synergy

Stockton's Thoughts:

This book is much better than most of the others in this series. It works well mainly because the subject matter - carnival rides - lends itself well to the format. There is no need for a coherent plot here because, after all, what kid would tackle a gigantic theme park's thrill rides and roller coasters in any logical order? I think he would much rather do everything randomly and go on the rides that look appealing in whatever order he encounters them.

The point of reading this book is not to defeat the haunted carnival and escape alive - it's to ride the rides and play the games. As such, the flimsy, largely useless reason given for going to the carnival in the first place, low-quality writing, and Mr. Stine's blatent self-promotion mentioned by Waluigi Freak are all secondary. What really matters most is finding out about the somewhat unconventional attractions the Carnival of Horrors has to offer.

More reviews by Stockton

Waluigi Freak 99's Thoughts:

A lot of the carnival games and rides were fun, and this book was more enjoyable than a lot of R. L. Stine's other works. One complaint is that is seems obvious that the author was using this book as free advertising for his Goosebumps series, complete with a villain suspiciously like Slappy, a chant that turns whoever repeats it into a chicken, and the use of Monster Blood to destroy the evil carnival. If you can ignore the cheap commercial strategy, though, it's a nice bit of fluff, but no more than that.

More reviews by Waluigi Freak 99

Special Thanks:Thanks to Troy Small for pointing out that this book is not illustrated by Mark Nagata -- the correct artist's signature is visible on the back cover detail even though it is obscured on the front. Thanks to Ken G. for the British cover images.
Users Who Own This Item: Alatar001 (S), Arcohnz, auximenes, bigcobra, bonhomme, bookwormjeff, dArtagnan, Darth Rabbitt, dave2002a, david the goosebumps fan, Demian, Dirk Omnivore, duckhugger, Eamonn McCusker, EegahInc, Enigmatic Synergy, Erikwinslow, Ffghtermedic, firefoxpdm, Garrick Muttley, Gartax, Himynameistony, jdreller, JimmyClephane, JoshW, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, killagarilla, kinderstef, kleme, knginatl (US, UK), marnaudo, nelsondesign, NEMO, novelist1982, ntar, plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, qazplm, redpiper05, Ryuran333, Sarah2010, skeleton (British edition), spragmatic, Stargazer, Stockton, strawberry_brite, swordmaster009, Thanos6, toadhjo, twar, vinler, waktool (US 9th; US 11th), Zolika
Users with Extra Copies: bigcobra
Demian - somewhat worn first printing
kleme - Extra copy, has rip from removed gum on the back cover

Known Editions

First printing
6th printing
9th printing
British edition

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