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Item - Horror Hotel!

(American cover)
(British edition)
(British edition)
Series: Plot-Your-Own Horror Stories — no. 4
Alternate Title: Grand Hotel of Horror (British title)
Translated Into: Hotel de horror (Spanish)
Author: Milton, Hilary
Illustrators: Eastbury, Dave (British cover)
Frame, Paul
Dates: 1983 (American edition)
1984 (British edition)
ISBNs: 0416495206 / 9780416495201 (British edition)
0671492497 / 9780671492496 (American edition)
Length: 122 pages
Number of Endings: 28
LC Cataloging in Publication Summary: Trapped in a historic hotel high on a cliff overlooking a river, the reader must make choices in order to remove himself from the horrors he finds there.
Demian's Thoughts: The trends started in the previous volume are continued here. By now, the majority of the choices actually involve the outcome of the story rather than the actions of the protagonist, and at at least one point, the choice is simply "Turn to page x, or if you prefer, turn to page y." It doesn't get much more random than that! As I said before, this sort of randomness might not be so bad in the hands of a talented author, but the writing here is clumsy at best. Although the book gets off to a slightly more promising start than usual for the series, it swiftly degrades into an uninteresting mess. It was a good idea to provide the reader's character with a pamphlet to explain the history of the horrors that unfold during the story, but this history is included in the narrative in an awkward and heavy-handed manner. Even worse, too many unrelated threads are tossed into the storyline, ultimately drowning out any hope of a coherent or interesting plot emerging. Add this one to the "avoid" list with all the rest of the series so far.

More reviews by Demian

Guillermo's Thoughts: Many people have reduced gamebooks to nothing more than bastard forms of tabletop role-playing (like Steve Jackson did in Fighting Fantasy: The Introductory Role-Playing Game). Nothing could be further from the truth. Gamebooks are not role-playing games, but a different form of entertainment with its own creative identity. They don't just have to be about controlling a character in an imaginary world. They are, in fact, stories where the excitement comes from exploring the possibilities offered by taking a different path each time. From my point of view, the author of this series did the right thing by allowing the reader to participate in the story by means different than controlling a character. That's why the kind of choices included did not piss me off.

This time the story is more about ghosts than about technology coming to life and trying to kill the player character. The book maintains a very effective, creepy atmosphere throughout, and things are made more entertaining by means of a very long path that references practically every mystery detailed at the beginning of the book. Together with Escape from High Doom and Museum of the Living Dead, this is one of the most scary books in the series, and one of the best. Recommended.

More reviews by Guillermo

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the British cover scans.
Users Who Own This Item: Dtar (U.S.), exaquint, horrorbusiness, katzcollection (American edition), killagarilla, knginatl (US, UK), Lambchop, mcd, Ryuran333
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