Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998)
Cherry, Eric (interior)
0553567497 / 9780553567496
By now it becomes clear that Edward Packard should leave sports entries alone. First soccer, then basketball, and now a hockey CYOA gets completely destroyed. The amount of school bullies and unrelated accidents gets tuned down a bit this time, yet Fire on Ice is definitely on the boring side, and one would always wonder if Packard had ever picked up a freaking hockey puck.
The story in Fire on Ice is that you've moved into a new town and want to join the local school hockey team. You also have the choice of joining a "renegade" team run by a former NHL player.
I found Fire on Ice to be a bit boring. It was painfully obvious that Mr. Packard was getting tired of writing CYOA books. The setting was claustrophobic and not much happens other than hockey playing. Were it not for the name on the cover, I'd have a hard time believing that the same author who wrote the trippy Hyperspace wrote this book as well.
As well, the book was relatively short, coming in at only 103 pages/sections. I don't know whether that's because of the slightly different format or because the book really is shorter. There's also far fewer choices to play through than in earlier books. The illustrations by Eric Cherry seem too soft and muted to fit the spirit of hockey - Ralph Reese would have been a better choice.
In this book, one of the last in the series, there are no death endings; you either make it as a player or you don't. This is fine and well, but it doesn't work because most of the endings trail off annoyingly. They always leave a story yet to be told and lack a sense of finality.
The hockey material also seems poorly handled and written in an unexciting way. As a result, the whole thing just doesn't work well - there's just something intangible missing from it. I guess it's the old CYOA spirit of the 80s that's gone.
Fire on Ice is humourless and reads as if it were produced by a machine rather than a human. Give me a random, outrageous, objectiveless and silly CYOA any day. That's what seems to work best in this format.
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