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Item - Ghost Train

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 120
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 2 (120-124) (Collection)
Translated Into: El tren fantasma (Catalan)
El tren fantasma (Spanish)
El tren fantasma (Spanish)
Author: Foley, Louise Munro
Illustrators: Dodge, Bill (cover)
Bolle, Frank (interior)
Date: 1991
Stockton's Thoughts:

This book, Louise Munro Foley's CYOA swan song, is all about the Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada. I admit I'm biased here, since I live in BC and know all about the area's various myths and legends. This book is also one of the ones I enjoyed as a kid. And Louise Munro Foley is a good writer to begin with.

Plot-wise, this is simply another "visiting a strange relative for the summer" story. The book presents a number of possible adventures, most found in sequence rather than different branches. Here, Ms. Foley jams Indian mysticism and greedy developers in with the main plot about the ghost train. There's time travel in this book as well, and the explanation given for it is rather interesting. Yet except for a couple stupid endings, it seems to work reasonably well.

You can solve most of the mystery in one read. The problems with the amount of subject matter are neatly counterbalanced by the fact that the plot is very linear – there isn't much that goes unexplained. The downside is that if you make one wrong choice in a few places, you're out of luck.

This is perhaps not the best CYOA book, since there isn't much real gameplay in it. Ghost Train would make a great non-interactive short story or young adult novel, but as a gamebook there's just not much to it. That said, it's still quite well written, as is usual with Ms. Foley's work.

More reviews by Stockton

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