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Item - Silver Wings

(Original edition)
(ChooseCo reissue edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 123
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 23
Adapted Into: Silver Wings (Graded Reader) (Gamebook)
Author: Montgomery, R. A.
Illustrators: Semionov, Vladimir (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Huerta, Catherine (Original edition - cover)
Morrill, Leslie (Original edition - interior)
Dates: 1992 (Original edition)
2006 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
ISBN: 1933390239 / 9781933390239 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Length: 107 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Number of Endings: 11
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.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

(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.

More reviews by Guillermo

Stockton's Thoughts:

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.

More reviews by Stockton

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 Editions

ChooseCo reissue edition
Original edition

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