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Item - Revenge of the Russian Ghost

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Jordashebasics's Thoughts:

I found myself feeling annoyed with this book, mostly because something seems wrong with the title. It's hard to say that the ghost is getting revenge. He's just angry, and you aren't the target of any revenge.

The book deals with Rasputin, and more specifically, his boot. This doesn't sound terribly exciting. It's hard to get excited about a boot, even a cursed one.

The writing is fairly good, and the focus is generally very good. There's one path early on where you don't really learn much of what else happens in the book, but usually your path doesn't depart much from your primary goal - to figure out what's going on with the boot, and to return to your own time.

Remarkably, Rasputin comes across mostly as a good person. All of the negative stuff is always from other people, and he usually behaves very well to you.

Despite the general quality of the book, I can't say that it's much fun. It seems a bit too dry, and too many of the endings result in you getting back to your own time and saying something about how no one will ever believe your story.

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Stockton's Thoughts:

First off, this book has a pretty original plot and some excellent writing. You are an exchange student studying holistic medicine in the USSR. Your friend Ilya has invited you to a seance where a mystic will try to contact the spirit of Rasputin. Things quickly go wrong from there.

This book has too many good endings – there's no challenge involved in being successful. It also has lots of page flipping between choices. I also find it hard to believe that a character who can barely read menus in 1980s Leningrad could speak enough Russian to survive in 1916.

On the whole, the story starts off very well. But as one moves through the book, it becomes less and less like a story and more like a dreary, plodding ethnographic on 1916 Russia. Events, too, quickly become random. If there was ever a book with 'squandered potential' written all over it, this is the one.

More reviews by Stockton

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Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) edition


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) no. 99
Item: Revenge of the Russian Ghost
Author: Leibold, Jay (pseudonym used by Montavon, Jay)
Illustrators: Kukalis, Romas (cover)
Marchesi, Stephen (interior)
Date: 1990

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