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Item - Tattoo of Death

(Original edition)
(ChooseCo reissue edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 159
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 22
Translated Into: El tatuaje de la muerte (Spanish)
Adapted Into: Tattoo of Death (Graded Reader) (Gamebook)
Author: Montgomery, R. A.
Illustrators: Marron, Jose Luis (ChooseCo reissue edition - cover)
Cannella, Marco (ChooseCo reissue edition - interior)
Mattingly, David B. (Original edition - cover)
Bolle, Frank (Original edition - interior)
Dates: 1995 (Original edition)
2006 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
ISBN: 1933390220 / 9781933390222 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Length: 113 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Number of Endings: 15
User Summary: When you make friends with two Chinese-American boys who have been studying in your Tai Chi class, you quickly get forced into joining a Chinese gang called the Red Flowers, each member of which must get a tattoo as an initiation rite. From then on, you must try to bring the Red Flowers to justice.
knifebat's Thoughts:

Definitely one of the darker stories I've read from the CYOA books.

You are a martial artist (Tai Chi practitioner) that is forced to join a Chinese gang. The gang is really evil and they are involved in human trafficking and human slavery. The boss is called Big Guy and he is very Darth Vader like and you will know what I mean when you read the book. The headquarters is located in Kyoto Japan so you will travel over there. You can get caught and executed underground criminal syndicate style. You can be in a highway chase involving big rig trucks. You can testify against them by trying to get police protection.

There is a tiny bit of martial arts in here but for most of the story you are trying to get away from them while constantly being threatened and spied on like a hawk. Make no mistake the two punks assigned to you are murderous scum.

While not my favorite CYOA book, I still enjoyed this book because it's unique. For some reason I got the feeling that the author personally enjoyed writing this book.

More reviews by knifebat

stonemason's Thoughts:

One notable thing about this book is it displays a rather twisted sense of humor here and there, in keeping with the very dark theme of the story. Indeed, this is a lot grittier than the average CYOA. In fact, it could just as easily have been aimed at adults. That's not to say it's gratutiously violent, though -- it's still perfectly appropriate for older children and teenagers (but it would frighten younger children, especially the rather disturbing picture on page 113).

Secondly, it is very well-written, which is good considering that this author, R. A. Montgomery, is usually more fond of bizarre, incoherent storylines. You, the main character, get quite a bit of background and family history, as do most of the other characters. Also, there are frequently unusual plot twists in which you find out that one of the "good guys" is actually evil, or vice versa. Sometimes these kind of twists happen multiple times in one reading.

Finally, it's internally consistent. There are only two or three happy endings, but even the unhappy ones reveal new bits of background information that you can't get anywhere else. It's amazing just how powerful and widespread the Red Flowers are! I just can't recommend this book enough. It's one of Montgomery's best.

More reviews by stonemason

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Known Editions

ChooseCo reissue edition
Original edition

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