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Star Rider

Series: Starlight Adventures #1
Author: Carreck, Carole
Illustrators: Jones, Steve (cover)
Wilkes, Peter (interior)
Release Date: 1985
ISBN: 0140318402 / 9780140318401
Length:350 sections
Number of Endings:17
User Summary: You've just come into some money which has allowed you to pursue a dream of horse ownership; now that you have a horse, though, you'll have to work hard to make it into professional competition.
Demian's Thoughts: Between the obnoxiously lecture-like introductory section and the fact that I have no particular affection for or interest in horses, I expected this book to be a completely tedious read. To my great surprise, I actually found myself rather enjoying it. Despite the fact that it's written for an audience that I am in no way a part of, I enjoyed the fast pacing (you never have to wait too long for a decision) and the fact that there is no pointless dice-rolling to bog things down. I also appreciated the fact that, while there can be romantic elements to the plot, they are left entirely up to the reader -- you choose whether or not your character has any interest in potential relationships rather than having the whole thing dumped on you. Although I enjoyed the first part of the book, where you make connections with more established riders, train your horse and interact with other characters, I didn't find any of the endings to be especially satisfying. When it comes time to actually compete, the writing becomes vague, a great deal is left to chance (there are numerous pages ending in things like "How lucky do you feel? Turn to 124 or 307"), and the book eventually ends rather abruptly. Here is where some sort of game system could have come in handy -- things would be more interesting if you kept track of your horse's level of training, building up points during the first half of the book and then using them to compete in the end. Without such a system, the book succeeds fairly well as an interactive story but fails as a game. Despite the fact that it could have been better, though, this certainly exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations.

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