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Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks
Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 33
Ghost Island (reissue)
Das Gespenst ohne Kopf (German)
El port embruixat (Catalan)
El puerto embrujado (Spanish)
(Dragonlarks reissue, first printing; Dragonlarks reissue, second printing)
Schmidt, William (Bill) (Original version, later printing; Original version, school edition; Original version, first printing; Original version, second printing)
April, 1986 (Original version, first printing)
April 1, 2008 (Dragonlarks reissue, first printing)
0553153803 / 9780553153804
(Original version, school edition, Original version, second printing)
0553157329 / 9780553157321 (Original version, later printing)
1933390573 / 9781933390574 (Dragonlarks reissue, first printing, Dragonlarks reissue, second printing)
Dragonlarks reissue, second printing:
The background color on the spine and rear cover of the second printing is a lighter shade than in the first printing. The pictured copy has an increased price sticker on the back cover.
54 pages (Original version, first printing, Original version, second printing, Original version, school edition, Original version, later printing)
57 pages (Dragonlarks reissue, first printing, Dragonlarks reissue, second printing)
|Number of Endings:||
US$6.99 (Dragonlarks reissue, first printing)
US$7.99 (Dragonlarks reissue, second printing)
Dragonlarks reissue, first printing:
Thanks to Ken G. for the front and back cover scans.
|User Summary:||While on vacation in Antigua you hear the story of the ghost of English Harbor and get dared to look for it in a cemetery.|
While some of the paths through this book are short and unsatisfying, it does have some deeper plot threads which bring it well above average for the series. There's also a jab at Christopher Columbus which I found fairly amusing.
What adventures could you scare up on the island of Antigua under normal circumstances? How about if you're anchored there at English Harbor, which locals inform you has a cemetery haunted by a malevolent ghost? You're vacationing on the Caribbean Sea with your parents, accompanied by your best friends Jamie and Meg, but you relish the challenge of proving ghosts don't exist. Goaded by Jamie and Meg, you agree to sneak off your parents' boat one night and visit the cemetery alone. You refuse to be intimidated by the scary stories of imaginative islanders.
As darkness arrives your confidence wanes, but you can't back out. Should you actually go to the cemetery, or hide elsewhere and pretend you did? You might run into the ghost of a headless soldier among the gravestones, or see Jamie and Meg show up draped in a white sheet hoping to convince you they're a ghost. Their attempt is pitiful, but that doesn't mean you're safe in the cemetery. If you explore away from the cemetery you'll be mysteriously transported to Antigua of the distant past, before European colonists came. The Arawak Indians populated the island at the time, and you're welcome to live among them and learn their peaceful ways. You may not even want to return home at the first opportunity, but time travel is complicated, and lingering in the past has unforeseen consequences.
Choose to fake your trip to the haunted cemetery, relaxing instead on the beach under the stars, and you won't avoid the ghost of English Harbor. He was a British soldier decapitated centuries ago by Carib Indians. His head wasn't buried with his body, and he demands you steal his skull from a nearby museum and return it so he can rest in peace. The ghost will tolerate nothing but rote compliance, but you're not sure how to pull off this heist. Should you consult Jamie and Meg, or go it solo? Removing the skull without being caught is difficult, but even if that part goes according to plan you aren't guaranteed to be spared the ghost's wrath. Can you return his skull in exactly the manner he prescribed before you and your parents sail away to another Caribbean isle? Angering the ghost is always bad, but you can satisfy him if you're diligent and lucky.
Haunted Harbor isn't a bad book if you find one of the in-depth storylines that don't end prematurely. The most complete adventure is with the Arawak Indians, where you'll find the closest thing in this book to an emotional connection. Bill Schmidt, illustrator of all eighteen original Choose Your Own Nightmare books, does good work in Haunted Harbor, particularly the night scenes. The story wasn't spectacular, but it's worth future rereads.
Originally, I thought the author's surname "Gilligan" must be a joke, but I guess it's just a coincidence that Gillian wrote a book called Ghost Island.
This book takes the usual path of multiple adventures on relatively short paths, but doesn't feel as slick as the books written by the Montgomerys. You can adventure solo or with companions and in general it has a very "Scooby-Doo" feel. Overall, it's mildly entertaining for its age group.
The artwork in the Dragonlarks reissue is fairly confusing as the characters are constantly changing gender and skin tone, showing no internal consistency. Artists, either choose a consistent look or don't draw the protagonist at all.
|Users Who Own This Item:||Ardennes, dave2002a, Demian (first and second reissue printings), exaquint (reissue), Groatsworth, horrorbusiness, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef, knginatl (orig. red & reissue) (orig. red & reissue), Kveto, NEMO, newt3425, Nomad, Pseudo_Intellectual, ThaRid, waktool (Dragonlark, US 2nd printing)|
|Users Who Want This Item:||bbanzai, CGally, exaquint (red, school edition), Ffghtermedic, NEMO (Any other, including another copy of the one I have), ntar (dragonlarks), strawberry_brite, waktool|
Known EditionsOriginal version, first printing
Original version, second printing
Original version, school edition
Original version, later printing
Dragonlarks reissue, first printing
Dragonlarks reissue, second printing