0880382635 / 9780880382632
221 pages (18 sections)
|Number of Endings:
|A sign advertising cheap gasoline lures a young girl into a dangerous situation.
The author of this book is a self-proclaimed Stephen King fan, and it definitely shows in the writing -- the style and storyline are quite reminiscent of King. Not being much of a fan of Stephen King's work, this didn't impress me very much, but others might feel differently. From a gamebook perspective, I found the adventure intriguing but ultimately disappointing. First of all, the book is written in the first person, but if it had stuck with gamebook-style second person, it would actually have been more powerful and frightening; this is the sort of story that could be quite immersive, but since it is clearly about someone else, its impact is lessened. In any case, my first two read-throughs were by far the most interesting. The first time, I made what I thought were good decisions and ended up getting horribly killed. My demise then cast a whole new light on the previous experiences, giving the second read-through a totally different flavor and showing one of the unique benefits of the gamebook: the ability to learn new things and thus experience different emotions reading the same text. Unfortunately, though, my second read-through also ended in a horrible death under circumstances which contradicted what I had learned the first time around. While most of the inconsistencies on display in the book could be explained away as lies told by various characters, there are more contradictions than there have to be, and in the end, it detracts from the experience. After reaching four or five different endings, I didn't feel I was likely to learn anything new or interesting about the secret of Ashton Falls, and I put the book down and got on with the rest of my life. This certainly isn't a bad book, but I'm disappointed that it failed to make full use of its potential; it could have been quite gripping if it had tried a little harder.
This was an eye-opener for me, as it was the first book written for an older audience that I had been exposed to. Up to that point, I had only collected CYOA, Twistaplot, and Endless Quest books. This book brought with it the realization that there were many different series of this type to be explored.
Unlike the CYOA books, however, I felt a much deeper immersion. I have a fondness for Lovecraft, and King... so I enjoyed the setting a great deal. I do agree with Demian regarding the inconsistencies of the various characters and events. And o'course, it would be nice to make decisions that could alter the story a great deal... instead of being directed along a path with frustration, as you feel helpless for 10 or so pages. In the end, I really did enjoy the ride, however gruesome the results seemed to be!
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