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Item - Harry Houdini

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure Spies — no. 3
Author: Factor, Katherine
Date: May 1, 2020
ISBN: 1937133362 / 9781937133368
Length: 144 pages
Special Thanks: Thank you to Dane Barrett for the information and images.
hadlee73's Thoughts:

Choose Your Own Adventure Spies: Harry Houdini is the second interactive book Katherine Factor has written for this series. Her first, Mata Hari, left me lukewarm due to its lack of actual spying. This interactive fictional account of one part of Harry Houdini's life contains much more spy-related content, though its globe-trotting nature hamstring it a bit.

While I enjoy Katherine Factor's writing, it is often loaded with a mysticism that doesn't fit with the real world content Chooseco is asking her to write about. However, in the case of Houdini, mysticism definitely has its place here, though the book does jump a bit between believable magic tricks and seemingly outright magical enchantments. I get the feeling Factor could write a very engaging fairy tale adventure if given half the chance. Houdini himself is portrayed as a bit of an overconfident buffoon at times, though from what historical accounts of him I have read I'm not sure that's too far off the mark. In this book, he believes he is the greatest thing in showbiz, and so the more modest readers among us will need to inject a bit of suspension of disbelief to place themselves in this role.

One fault I could level at the book would be a similar to an issue I had with Mata Hari. This book tries to cover an extended time period and vast distances worldwide all in the space of only a few pages. I think I would have more enjoyed a tighter scenario involving Harry going through one or two spy missions while using his talents, but that's just me. Don't let that reservation turn you off as it's still a pretty fun story to make your way through.

So it's better than Mata Hari, though not quite what I had hoped for. Nevertheless, for those collecting the CYOA Spies series, this is a decent addition.

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