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Item - Inz the Warrior


Series: Inz Interactive Novels — no. 1
Author: A., S.
Illustrator: Porter, Zachary
Date: 2008
ISBN: 1432727168 / 9781432727161
Length: 218 pages (106 sections)
Number of Endings: 18 (not counting failure by infinite loop)
User Summary: Inz, a young warrior in a world where magic and science coexist, must go on a quest for a rare flower in an effort to cure a plague afflicting his village.
Demian's Thoughts: Print on demand is a blessing and a curse -- it's wonderful that it's so fast and easy to publish a book and keep it in print, but it's unfortunate that a lot of works end up in the marketplace without the polish they need to live up to their full potential. Like Vengeance, the last print-on-demand book I reviewed, I wanted to like this, but I was too distracted by its flaws to fully enjoy it.

From speaking to the author, I certainly admire his goal: a character-driven adventure spanning several volumes and providing a reading experience suitable for travelers or those otherwise unwilling to spend time fiddling with dice and pencils. Unfortunately, the execution, both in terms of writing and gameplay, needs some work.

Lack of editing is definitely a problem; the text uses just enough unnecessary adjectives ("fiery flames") or slightly awkward constructions ("he couldn't help but bending over and vomiting") to distract the reader. Things aren't helped by the fact that characters are largely defined by tics that they repeat again and again (one calls Inz "brother" constantly, another is frequently referred to as doing things "boyishly"). These aren't big things by themselves, and most could be easily corrected with the help of an editor, but left as they are, they add up and prevent the text from flowing as well as it should.

I was also unsatisfied by the book's interactivity. I understand the author's reasons for excluding a game system, and that probably wouldn't have solved any of the book's problems anyway. However, given the amount of combat in the book, it does often feel like something is missing -- reading drawn-out, third-person descriptions of combat is definitely less satisfying than rolling dice. While there are some decisions in combat situations, they tend to come only after long blocks of text, and they lead to instant death a little too often. Shorter text blocks with more frequent choices and less premature termination of the story might have made for a more exciting read.

Even outside of combat, less time between decisions might have helped divert the reader from the editorial problems and kept the mind from wandering. I will give credit for many choices having a certain logic to them... but I still didn't feel that satisfied by the decisions I made. It's more frustrating to reach a bad ending if it takes multiple pages of non-interactive text to get there, and the sense of exploration and scale is lost when the reader's epic journey is dictated in a mostly linear way rather than requiring more detailed mapping and discovery.

I can't really recommend this book in its current form, but I certainly wish its author success in improving the series in the future. There's definitely some unrealized potential here.

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Special Thanks:Thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book.
Users Who Own This Item: katzcollection, knginatl
Users Who Want This Item: Gartax, jeremydouglass

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