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Item - Burned by the Inner Sun

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Online Full Text: Internet Archive
Series: Choose Your Own Adventure - The Golden Path — no. 2
Author: Montgomery, Anson
Illustrators: Taplin, Nancy (cover)
Semionov, Vladimir (interior)
Date: October 1, 2008
ISBN: 1933390824 / 9781933390826
Length: 183 pages
Number of Endings: 13 (10 final; 3 leading into the next book.)
User Summary: Having avoided capture by the dictatorship that now controls the United States, you and your friends make your way into a mysterious world located on the insides of the Earth. While initially your goal is to locate your lost parents, you are drawn into a mission to combat the evil forces fighting for dominance over both the Hollow Earth and the outside world.
Guillermo's Thoughts:

While the previous book was mostly a sci-fi dystopia similar to Escape in the main CYOA series, this one is more of a fantasy adventure. Instead of beginning with a pointless philosophical disquisition like in the first book, this one includes a short intro which gives the reader some background into the dystopian setting where the series begins; I certainly would have appreciated it more if it had been included as part of the first book.

Introductory sections aside, this book suffers from the same flaws as its predecessor - atrociously slow pacing, extremely long text sections, and very limited interactivity. The book is designed so you can read it without knowing the previous one, by choosing among the four story points where Into the Hollow Earth left off. Unfortunately, this book feels more like the second half of the previous entry than like a standalone chapter in a series; no matter which path you take, you will only have the opportunity to make very few choices, with one of the starting paths (for example) only leading into two abrupt endings. The other three starting paths are more elaborate, but all contain very long text passages which give the reader little opportunity to participate in the story. No matter which one I took, whenever I reached one of the endings leading into the next book I had the sensation that nothing of substance had really happened.

At the time of this writing it has been over a decade without the third book in the series having ever been published. I therefore believe it's safe to say that the series has been cancelled without being concluded. I wouldn't be surprised if poor sales were a factor that led to this decision - while I appreciate the author's intent to create a fairly complex setting and to aim for a slightly older audience than that of the main CYOA series, the planning and design flaws present really prevent the Golden Path series from working. Previous attempts to make CYOA-style books more complex and involving - such as Journey to the Year 3000 in the Choose Your Own Super Adventure series, or the Escape from the Kingdom of Frome saga - were much more effective. Apparently we will never know what the optimal "Golden Path" through the series is, but I can't say I'm too saddened by the fact.

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