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Item - The Island of Time

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(Original edition)
(ChooseCo reissue edition)

Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 115
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 28
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 1 (115-119) (Collection)
Translated Into: L'illa del temps (Catalan)
La isla del tiempo (Spanish)
La isla del tiempo (Spanish)
Ostrov času (Czech)
Author: Montgomery, R. A.
Illustrators: Cannella, Marco (ChooseCo reissue edition - interior)
Louie, Wes (ChooseCo reissue edition - cover)
Johnson, Kevin (Original edition - cover)
Wing, Ron (Original edition - interior)
Dates: 1991 (Original edition)
December 1, 2008 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
ISBNs: 0553290576 / 9780553290578 (Original edition)
193339028X / 9781933390284 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Length: 113 pages (Original edition)
116 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Number of Endings: 12 (Original edition)
19 (ChooseCo reissue edition)
Shadeheart's Thoughts:

​[​Rating: 0/10]
[Recommended? NO] ​

Joyless, inconsequential - and ultimately forgettable - the notorious ​​"​Choose Your Own Adventure"​ series strikes again​ with another of R.A. Montgomery's odd titles. ​​"​Island of Time"​ is perhaps best remembered, ironically, for featuring one of the shortest and most bizarrely bland endings in any gamebook ever written... but more on THAT travesty later.​ Trope-heavy, logistically incoherent and mind-boggingly senseless in most cases, the expansively not-so-straightforward book fits in quite well with the rest of the series, a cultural phenomenon that failed to offer substantial artistic or literary merit despite the ever-promising concept and form. Uninspired as it may be, this one stands out just because it manages to end so prematurely (an ending which, in my humble opinion, is more interesting to think about than any other aspect of the story).

Per usual, Montgomery's condescending, high-and-mighty tone is carried out as usual, with a primitively unimaginative and hardly original story that fails to stand out with its characters, atmosphere, plot or themes. The very immersiveness of these stories, after all, is at the mercy of the author's own willingness to compel, create and inspire wonder in the hearts and minds of readers, particularly younger ones, while also offering something to readers of all ages through its appeal. This is forsaken for the usual reasons by the deterministic author, one who painstakingly proves how little he cares what readers will think at the end of the day. By no means does it happen to be ​​the worst​​ the series has to offer (primarily since it doesn't go out of its way to be awful), though it falls into the same traps and conventions already employed to death elsewhere in the series.​ But when a book literally ends after not even seven pages, treats the story in that form as a legitimate possible ending, and then goes on to remind readers how lowly it thinks of creative expectations which are actually worth paying attention to, the whole thing almost feels like a laughless joke. Especially since that first scenario - the telephone call - is one of those "it means something different if you chose this or that" kind of instances, the sheer arbitrariness of the series peaks here.

​At the end of the day I cannot recommend the book for any of its accomplishments or failings, nor do I generally recommend the ​​CYOA​​ series in general.​ It is DEFINITELY worth remembering, however, for its unambiguously ridiculous early ending just a few pages in, a notably bad features that somehow manages to "outshine" everything else within. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

More reviews by Shadeheart

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Known Editions

Original edition
ChooseCo reissue edition

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