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Item - The Mystery of Ura Senke

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(Original edition)
(ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing)
(ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)
(ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)
(ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)
(ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)

Combined Summary

Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) — no. 44
Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 13
Choose Your Own Adventure Reissues (Australian Versions) — no. 14
Alternate Title: Cup of Death (reissue)
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set 6 (41-45) (Collection)
Translated Into: La ceremonia del té (Spanish)
La cerimònia del te (Catalan)
El misterio de Ura Senke (Spanish)
Il mistero di Ura Senke (Italian)
Mysteriet på Ura Senke (Danish)
Adapted Into: Cup of Death (Graded Reader) (Gamebook)
Author: Gilligan, Shannon
Illustrators: Marron, Jose Luis (ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing - cover)
Nugent, Suzanne (ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing - interior; Australian edition - interior; ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing - interior)
Hedin, Don (Original edition - cover)
Abrams, Paul (Original edition - interior)
Dates: May, 1985 (Original edition)
2005 (ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing)
ISBNs: 0553248928 / 9780553248920 (Original edition)
1933390131 / 9781933390130 (ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing)
1933390700 / 9781933390703 (ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)
Length: 116 pages (Original edition)
121 pages (ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing, ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing)
Number of Endings: 23
User Summary: While in Japan, you get involved in a search for a stolen tea bowl which also happens to be a Japanese national treasure.
Amat's Thoughts:

The Mystery of Ura Senke is very good. It has a strong, well developed plot that gets revealed bit by bit through different plot lines, making multiple read throughs worthwhile. This paired with quality writing and well developed characters makes Ura Senke stand out. Some endings are rather gruesome, but considering the book deals with the Yakuza, it's expected. I highly recommend this one. You won't be disappointed.

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DavidSky's Thoughts:

I thought this book was well-written, but at times was a little too childish, like much of this series. Also, sometimes the main character was described in too much detail, so that I had problems identifying. The choices were well constructed, but sometimes different choices would lead to results that weren't always consistent with each other; there were also many unsatisfying endings and no real "epic" happy ending. Still, an above average CYOA book thanks to the writing. You can see my map of this book here.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This is an excellent mystery gamebook! The story is multifaceted enough that the book is highly replayable without becoming inconsistent. There are a lot of different paths through the book, but rather than contradicting each other, they instead each reveal a different part of the overall storyline. The book's setting is also used well, and interesting bits of information on Japanese culture are revealed throughout.

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Good's Thoughts:

I read this as Cup of Death.

A fun mystery! It goes light, and the woman is real weird. 5/10

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Madeye's Thoughts:

This was one of my favorites as a kid, and it didn't disappoint 15 years later. I haven't read it in a couple years, so I don't remember how the choices and endings unfold, but I just like the setting and subject matter. I've always enjoyed the ones that take you to a place that kids might not usually think about, like Japan, and especially with more adult themes, like crime rings.

I am curious as to why the new reissues released this under TWO titles... the original title and Cup of Death. It was odd to see them sitting next to each other on the shelf at Barnes and Noble. Does anyone know the story behind that?

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Scrumptious's Thoughts:

The book is both great and a bit disappointing at the same time. The great part has to do with its internal consistency and its sharp action sequences. For example, there is a plotline involving a gunshot. Depending on your choices, you might hear it from afar and wonder what happened, or witness it yourself. Or you could be miles away and not know that it happened at all. Regardless of which path you take, there's always more information to uncover, so replay value is high.

The problem is that all the fun stuff (following a suspect by hiding in her car trunk, staking out a smuggler's cabin on an international ocean liner, stealing a speedboat to make a quick getaway) is irrelevant to recovering the missing tea bowl. In fact, if you are on an adventurous plotline, you are guaranteed not to get the bowl. The successful endings come from far duller storylines. There are quite a few endings in which the bowl reappears as unexpectedly as it disappeared. There's even a thread in which you consult a psychic, who advises you to do nothing and wait for the bowl to return of its own accord. It does - The End. You can still search around for the explanation (internal consistency, remember?) but this part of the book isn't as fun.

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Shadeheart's Thoughts:

[Rating: 0/10]
[Recommended? NO]

The "Choose Your Own Adventure" series is one that, for all it was worth, never even came close to living up to its potential. Despite its low literary quality, it happened to be exceedingly rare for books to absolutely suck as bad as the ones written by R.A. Montgomery - with one exception standing out, of course: "Cup of Death". Montgomery's wife Shannon Gilligan is hardly a better writer (at least in this case), with an incredibly uncompelling, logically sparse and unmistakably incoherent, bland shell of a narrative that is so far removed for having any story or motivation that it is almost frightening. Even though the book was published during what I refer to as the golden age of both fantasy and interactive storytelling (1970s and 1980s, save for continued expansion in Japan), this book is at the height of what's wrong with the conventionally weak, pretentious tone of the series (and its many tropes). Rather than acting high on itself, however, the book tries to make up for its lack of literary appeal by trying to keep things moving - only, the story paths move in so many random, painfully unoriginal and dreadfully unrelated directions that the book doesn't ever come even close to making a lick of sense. Gamebooks should serve a purpose - and inspire readers - not arbitrarily fall flat in every regard, failing to accomplish establishing even the faintest outline of a story.

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 remarkable lack of memorability, failure to accomplish anything, and completely irrelevant willingness to avoid following any narrative whatsoever. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

More reviews by Shadeheart

Users Who Own This Item: AgathaRaisin79, Andys80s, Ardennes, benji2, bigcobra, bookwormjeff, Chanticrow, Crazyscotsman, CSquared, dave2002a, Eamonn McCusker, Ed, Erikwinslow, exaquint (1.95), Fireguard, fraze, Game Master, Garrick Muttley, Grifter, Gurvo, Himynameistony, horrorbusiness, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, killagarilla, kinderstef, KJB, kleme (2005 reissue), knginatl (orig., 2005 reissue, Cup of Death PB/HB ) (orig., 2005 reissue, Cup of Death PB/HB ) (orig., 2005 reissue, Cup of Death PB/HB ), MacbthPSW, Madeye, marcfonline, mdcowboy, mlvoss, nelsondesign, Nomad, ntar (original & reissue) (reissue), Nym90, Oberonbombadil (Original US 1st (my childhood copy)), Pessimeister ((Hardcover)), plowboy, Pseudo_Intellectual, Radical347, rolipo26, Ronie1976, rtaylor352, Ryuran333, Seizure, SeventhSon, spragmatic, strawberry_brite, SuperAM2, ThaRid, ThisIslandEarth, toadhjo, twar, waktool (Original, US 1st printing (AU $2.50)) (Chooseco, large edition, AU 1st printing) (Australian, 1st printing), Yalius, zat
Users Who Want This Item: aline, barryattles, bbanzai, Cyan, damieng, exaquint (no price, 2.25), Ffghtermedic, kleme, Lambchop, MasterChief, Mr ?, Muffy (PDF), NEMO, nordik (Ura Senke), odo_ital, SherlockHolmes, stock, Von Scotty, Waluigi Freak 99, yunakitty, ZacharyParker
Users with Extra Copies: bigcobra
exaquint - 1.95

Known Editions

Original edition
ChooseCo reissue edition, first printing
ChooseCo reissue version, retitled second printing
Australian edition

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