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Item - The Trail of Lost Time

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure (2005-) — no. 40
Author: Montgomery, R. A.
Illustrators: Utomo, Gabhor (cover)
Semionov, Vladimir (interior)
Date: 2011
ISBN: 1937133036 / 9781937133030
Length: 110 pages
Number of Endings: 20
User Summary: Your uncle dies, leaving you his most prized possession: a map to a hidden valley in New Mexico that acts as a portal through time and space.
Dtar's Thoughts:

For the reader who is interested in the history and culture of Native Americans, this is a pretty interesting story with a mix of anthropology and adventure. There are three directions you can take: to an ice age mammoth hunt, a coastal fishing tribe, or to a Pueblo culture village in New Mexico.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

After Bantam stopped publishing Choose Your Own Adventure books, creators Edward Packard and R. A. Montgomery each went their separate ways. with the latter gaining control of the CYOA trademark while the former went on to publish expanded versions of some of his books under a different label. The reasons for the split have never, to my knowledge, been publicly discussed, but it's likely the divorce was less than cordial. This book, the final CYOA entry (not counting Dragonlarks) written by Montgomery (who passed away in 2014) also makes me think the author may have been interested in removing Packard's name from the annals of CYOA history; the premise is exactly the same as the seminal The Cave of Time by the New Yorker (that Montgomery calls the time-crossing network of tunnels a "trail" instead of a "cave" is just window dressing). So how does this book compare to Packard's classic? Sadly, as those of you who follow R. A.'s work might already suspect, not favourably.

Montgomery's Cave of Time only travels to the past (or, in a few rare cases, to other places in the present). The adventures mostly stay confined to the prehistoric and pre-Columbian Americas, so there is much less variety than there was in Packard's work. It's also appalling how poorly written the book is, considering the author's experience. Moreover, there is little or no strategy to the gameplay, with the outcomes of choices feeling random for the most part. It's sad to see Packard's mastery of multiple genres (which shined in The Cave of Time in terms of both story and gameplay) substituted with Montgomery's superficial understanding and poor execution of American Indian myth and history. If you are interested in the premise, I would advise you stick to the original Cave and its sequel, Return to the Cave of Time. As for this crap, it is better left alone.

More reviews by Guillermo

Special Thanks:Thanks to Dtar for the plot summary and to Guillermo Paredes for the back cover image that was previously used here until a more complete copy could be located.
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, Darth Rabbitt, Demian, jdreller, KenJenningsJeopardy74, marnaudo, waktool (Chooseco, small edition, CA 1st printing)
Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, newt3425, odo_ital

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