Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers
Au temps des dragons (French)
(pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
Callahan, Kevin (interior)
0553152424 / 9780553152425
54 pages |
|Number of Endings:||
|User Summary:||You search for dragon's gold in hope of helping out your poor family.|
This book almost feels like it belongs in the Fantasy Forest series.... It's not bad, in any case.
I agree with Nomad's review. This is a very simple Arthurian fantasy adventure which is a lot of fun to read, especially if you are a young child. None of the paths are too long, but the writing is atmospheric and some of the choices can be quite challenging for readers in the target age group. This book got me really interested in gamebooks when I first read it as a youngster.
Can a dragon fantasy story be fully fleshed out in a book this slim? Not likely, but let's see what Jim Razzi offers in Dragons!, the second of his three Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventure books. In the era of dragons and sorcery, you are the child of an impoverished knight. You long to help your father on his noble quests, but he insists you're too young, so he leaves you back at the castle. One day while exploring the big, drafty place, you discover an old book with the title Dragons, which speaks in detail about the creatures. You are inspired to don armor and head out on your own to find a dragon guarding its treasure. Your family's financial woes would be over. Optimism rising, you depart the castle...but should you search the dark, forbidding forest, or the lush valley?
You haven't walked far into the valley when a dragon attacks. You could take cover in a cave, but that will put you face to face with a dragon more...annoying...than the first. If instead you turn and fight your attacker, the dragon speaks. Would you like a magical gift? The dragon suggests transforming you into a bird so you can fly. If you're not up for that, the dragon asks you for a kiss to unleash a different sort of magic. Be careful of refusing; a spurned dragon is a terminal adversary, though there are ways you can become equipped to fight back. By the end, you'll have had your fill of dragon escapades.
The forest seems a more likely dragon hideout than the valley. You walk beside eerie, gnarled trees, past a massive rock with strange sounds coming from it. Should you investigate? Running away brings you to a baby dragon whose leg is caught in a metal trap. Leaving without freeing it has consequences, but if you let the creature out you have a new friend who scampers off with a promise not to forget you. Continuing your quest, you might fall into a trap built for humans, or see a spooky castle at the top of a steep hill, bearing the emblem of a full-sized dragon. Penetrating the dragon's domain takes you to a pair of doors: one leads to treasure beyond what you could imagine, and the other to the dragon, waiting to execute you. Will your journey end with generational wealth, or death at the hands of a fantastical enemy?
At the beginning, Dragons! gives off the vibe of an excellent story. You are frustrated that your father sees you as someone to be taken care of instead of a potential hero in your own right. You yearn to do something that matters, not shuffle around the castle all day. If your father won't help, then you must find a purpose of your own, and saving the family from poverty seems a good start. Unfortunately, that's where the story peaks; the rest is a tangle of internal inconsistencies and implausibilities. For one, it's odd that you readily stumble over dragon after dragon in a land where they seem to be considered extinct. The star of the book is illustrator Kevin Callahan, who adds terrific atmosphere. Take a gander at the creepy trees on pages six and seven, the shadowy castle on twenty-eight, the fateful double doors on thirty-four, or you warming up by the campfire on forty-seven. Dragons! isn't much to pay attention to, but it's good for a bit of fun.
This is a fun little adventure for kids and a good addition to this series. The passages are rather short, and it tends to leave the reader wanting more, but considering the age group that it's aiming for, this annoyance is easily overlooked. While there's nothing terribly groundbreaking in Dragons!, it's still a good read and stands out as one of my personal favorite entries despite the flaws inherent with a gamebook of this nature.
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