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Item - The Mummy Who Wouldn't Die

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Series: Choose Your Own Nightmare (1995-1997) — no. 9
Translated Into: La momia que no querĂ­a morir (Spanish)
Adapted Into: The Curse of the Mummy (Interactive Video)
Author: Jakab, E. A. M.
Illustrator: Schmidt, William (Bill)
Date: June, 1996
ISBN: 0553542540 / 9780553542547
Length: 86 pages
Number of Endings: 12
User Summary: You must return an ancient Egyptian amulet which your friend Josh found in his pocket after visiting a museum before you get in trouble for possessing it.
Demian's Thoughts:

The "mummies and museums" theme is pretty popular in gamebooks (for just one example, check out the Fantastic Adventures series). This book returns to that familiar setting and doesn't really add anything new.

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Jordashebasics's Thoughts:

A lot of the Choose Your Own Nightmare books suffer from the same problem; they just aren't that scary. For a book series aimed at kids, I can understand not being legitimately scared by them, but I think I expect something a little creepier than the rest of the CYOA line.

If this were a normal CYOA book, it would fall into a below average category, with a pretty predictable story involving thieves robbing a museum, while you get caught up in the action. By putting this story into the Nightmare line, one would expect the story to lean more heavily into the realm of a mummy menacing the museum after dark.

Instead, most of the book seems to be taken up with your character and companions running back and forth from room to room. The horror elements are mentioned only in the briefest of ways, and not much description is given over to what should be the focus.

The book also slips into a bit of time travel, which should probably be expected. That leads to one of the fun endings, where you get yourself squashed by a pyramid block.

It's a pass.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

It would be surprising if there were no mummy book among the eighteen in the original Choose Your Own Nightmare series, and The Mummy Who Wouldn't Die takes care of that. Schoolwork on Saturday isn't fun, but at least you're studying an interesting subject as you and your friends Kate and Josh Danvers explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A featured exhibit on Ancient Egypt offers unique artifacts to write about for your project. The museum even has an excavated Egyptian mastaba on display, which contained the remains of Pharaoh Thutmosis I. Josh is excited to see actual artifacts that were used for mummification, but his over-enthusiasm irritates a few adults around him. Right after you, Kate, and Josh exit the building, Josh reaches in his pocket and pulls out the gold heart scarab that is a central piece of the Ancient Egyptian showcase. How did it get there? Josh fervently denies taking it, but convincing the museum curator seems unlikely. Should you go tell him the truth anyway, or sneak back in before the museum closes and return the amulet to where it belongs?

The amulet's disappearance has not gone unnoticed, but there's more happening here than you know. Uniformed guards are waiting at the mastaba where you intend to return the amulet, but are they real museum employees, or disguised thieves? Trusting the wrong people will get you locked inside the mastaba, where Josh discovers the amulet emits an ethereal glow. Multiple passageways out of the mastaba open up, but should you risk taking them and running into the robbers? One misstep could transport you to Ancient Egypt, condemned to a life of slavery if you can't find a conduit to return home through time. Even if you make all the right choices, the mastaba's strange relationship to space-time will mess with your mind, but once the police arrive you'll have opportunity to affirm Josh's innocence in the amulet's theft. The authorities expected a burglary at the museum tonight, and you may be able to help apprehend the bad guys.

If you ask to speak with the curator immediately after Josh finds the amulet in his pocket, the man agrees to see you in his office even though the museum is closing. Unfortunately, he turns out to be the cranky person who berated Josh earlier for his wildness near the exhibit. Mr. Ramsey doesn't seem like an understanding fellow, and you fear he'll assume Josh is guilty of stealing the amulet. You want to be upfront with the curator, but something doesn't feel right about the situation, and your instincts are soon validated: a ring of thieves is operating in the museum at this moment, with the goal of obtaining the amulet. They believe it possesses the power of everlasting life. The police are running a sting to catch the thieves in the act, but until they're captured, you and your friends are in mortal peril. Staying close to any undercover police you meet is the surest way to survive, but they're not always easy to recognize. And is there someone else wandering the museum, an entity from Egypt's ancient past? The Mummy Who Wouldn't Die wouldn't live up to its name without an appearance from the title monster...

I like E.A.M. Jakab's other entry in the Choose Your Own Nightmare series, The Halloween Party, but The Mummy Who Wouldn't Die has a radically inconsistent plot. Also, most branches of the story have nothing to do with a mummy come to life, and all the running from thieves begins to feel the same after a while. There are a few minor zigs and zags to the narrative, but these don't raise it to even average status. Kids fascinated with Ancient Egypt may enjoy the read, but there isn't much to objectively commend it.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Users Who Own This Item: fraze, Jordashebasics, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef, kleme (PDF), knginatl (PB, HB), nelsondesign, ntar (Gareth Stevens large print edition), Pseudo_Intellectual, Radical347, ThaRid, waktool (Original, 1st printing ($3.50))
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