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The First Olympics

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) #77
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (73-77) (Collection)
Author: Baglio, Ben M.
Illustrator: Morrill, Leslie
Release Date: March, 1988
ISBN: 055327063X / 9780553270631
Length:116 pages (plus historical note)
Number of Endings:16
User Summary: During a vacation, you stumble upon a cave and find yourself transported back in time to ancient Greece, where you have an opportunity to participate in the early Olympic games.
Demian's Thoughts: This is rather interesting -- a book by a first-time writer that bases itself around the Cave of Time concept initiated by Edward Packard. Of course, the problem with most of the historical adventures in this series is that one can't help comparing them to the books in the better-written and more heavily researched Time Machine series, a comparison which makes them seem rather trivial and shallow. This is no exception, though if you ignore its inferiority to the Time Machine books and look at it only within the context of this series, it's not too bad, featuring a fast pace, some meaningful choices, and a twist ending or two. It's not especially memorable or educational, but it's an acceptable diversion.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts: Ben M. Baglio is actually a very good writer. The First Olympics is his debut book, and it measures up well with all of the more recent material that he has published.

Using the classic second-person narrative style perfected in this series, Ben M. Baglio borrows fellow Choose Your Own Adventure author Edward Packard's most famous plot device to enable "your" trip to the Olympiad of ancient Greece: The renowned Cave of Time! Transported suddenly to mingle with the ancients, you have little choice but to partake in the festivities surrounding the Olympic games that are now commencing around you.

This book provides a solid assortment of paths that you can take. If you like to compete in sports then you can face off in wrestling against other athletic young stars of the time, and the various splinters of the story are entertaining and include a lot of exciting action. Another series of decisions can lead you into the heart of a subversive plot to help a man get back his kidnapped daughter, though you might have to attempt to cheat in order to win the day. You always have the option of pressing hard to get back to your own time or deciding that there's no real hurry if you're happy to stay in the Old World for a while and see what it was like back then. Of course, what I've detailed so far are only a few of the routes to be chosen by the adventurous young reader.

In my view, The First Olympics is above average for the Choose Your Own Adventure series. The plots are engaging and the writing of Ben M. Baglio flows with surprisingly lovely description at times, something that one doesn't often see in this series.

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MrEndshiftresign's Thoughts: B+

A true one-hit wonder for Ben M. Baglio, and an enjoyable trip to ancient Greece. Loved the lion amulet (read - Ancient Barry Bonds Amulet) given by the old lady and the accompanying storylines, and the unpleasant, yet entertaining ending where the main character looks at Zeus, wishes he can stay in ancient Greece forever, then gets promptly turned into a statue. Be careful what you wish for, kid! A few minor issues, though. Baglio named the villainous charioteer Demonicus (how trite can you get?), and included a wrestler named Felicitus in the wrestling arc. It didn't take me too long to figure out that this was obnoxious cousin Felix ending up in ancient Greece. Captain Obvious in the house! Otherwise, a good first (and as it turns out, only) effort for Baglio, and one of the series' better sporting titles.

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Waluigi Freak 99's Thoughts: Although the "time travel" concept has been used quite a bit, this was a quick, somewhat interesting book. It's average, but not as good as it could've been.

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