Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998)
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 23
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 2 (120-124) (Collection)
Silver Wings (Graded Reader) (Gamebook)
Montgomery, R. A.
(ChooseCo reissue edition)
Huerta, Catherine (Original edition - cover)
Morrill, Leslie (Original edition - interior)
1992 (Original edition)
2006 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
1933390239 / 9781933390239
(ChooseCo reissue edition)
107 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition)
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||You and your friends fly your gliders for sport over the Baja California peninsula. Of course, this being the Choose Your Own Adventure series, your journey soon becomes fraught with danger.|
(Review based on the ChooseCo edition.)
By the early nineties, R. A. Montgomery had clearly become a much stronger writer than he was before (take a look at The Lost Jewels of Nabooti if you need a reminder of how bad his early work could be). This improvement shows in the ChooseCo reissue of Silver Wings: even though the book has relatively long stretches of pages between choices, the quality of the writing prevents it from ever getting boring. Unfortunately, this entry feels lacking in spite of the author's storytelling abilities. The consequences of choices often make sense logically, and there is excitement to be found no matter which decisions you make, but the long stretches of text mean that practically all of the story paths are way too short. This makes the book a rather unsatisfying experience. In large part this is a result of the author having a short page limit to work with (which would most likely have been imposed by the original publisher). Still, he could probably have chosen to write a longer book and to pitch it somewhere else, or he could have stuck to a design more similar to that of early CYOA titles. Since he did neither, none of the story pathways are developed to their full potential.
The adventure involves encountering a group of criminal coyotes (alien smugglers). Based on both the text and the illustrations of the ChooseCo edition, the bandits do not look or act much like the real-life versions would. This was perhaps forgivable in the early nineties but not in the mid-2000s, when many American movies and TV shows had already portrayed Mexican goons quite accurately. Montgomery should really have updated the book, and chosen a better illustrator while he was at it. Overall, I found this title to be rather run-of-the-mill. It's not terrible but also not something you should go out of your way to read.
A fun little story [Note that this review is for the first edition which doesn't have the printing mistakes mentioned in other reviews. I have no idea if those problems were fixed.]
You'll be 13 pages in before your first choice, but overall it's quite a fun little story. This is the tale of two gliders who hit mechanical trouble while flying over Mexico. When one glider goes down, it is up to the reader (the pilot of the second glider) as to the next course of action to follow. Each path can lead to lengthy glider sequences, or encounters on the ground. Overall its actually a good read from Montgomery, and even avoids his usual extraterrestrial encounter pitfall that he commonly put into his older books. Note that this is one of the later CYOA adventure books, so the variation of paths isn't great, but there's enough for a fun night's read.
Despite the title, there actually isn't that much flying in this book. Most of the book involves sneaking around the desert, trying to locate and rescue your friends.
The actual stories within aren't terribly interesting. Most of the good endings involve not taking any risks, and avoiding taking any direct action.
But there are a few bits that I found interesting. Your co-pilot passes out in almost every path. The cause is heavily hinted at, but nothing is actually verified. It's a strange element to include. Also, the book seems to include the only romance between two characters. You aren't one of them, but it's still very unusual for these books to have anything like this, much less a kiss!
Better than I expected, but still not that special.
The reissued version of Silver Wings is subject to one of the most idiotic printing mistakes I've ever heard of: R. A. sent the wrong file to the printers, causing the book to be sold in a state where every page has the wrong directions. Given his writing ability, it's hardly surprising. The good news is for a limited time only you can download the entire book for free and read it online. The bad news is that it doesn't bode well for R. A.'s business acumen.
This book is very, very page-flippy. To get to the first choice, you need to read more than 10 pages. Not a very exciting start, but definitely better than the random stuff R. A. usually does. The rest of the book is no different; there's only a few endings or choices.
In spite of this problem, which plagues many other later CYOA books, this is definitely one of R. A.'s better entries. The plot is more coherent than usual, and generally sticks to one topic: surviving the emergency ditching of your light plane in Baja California. Mainly, what brings this book down to about average is its higher-than-normal linearity.
|Errata:||The first printing of the reissue contained so many errors that it was recalled and a free corrected PDF version was available online for a limited time. These problems were fixed in later printings.|
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Known EditionsOriginal edition
ChooseCo reissue edition