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Item - Life as a Viking



Series: You Choose: Interactive History Adventures
Author: Lassieur, A(llison) L.
Date: August 1, 2010
ISBN: 142964785X / 9781429647854
Length: 112 pages
Number of Endings: 23
User Summary: You can choose to be a Viking participating in the Lindisfarne raid, to campaign with Halfdan Ragnarsson across England, or to fight at the battle of Stamford Bridge.
Dtar's Thoughts:

In this book you have three main choices as a Viking. Since this book is only about what it is like to be a Viking, there isn't any opportunity to play any of their opponents. This gives much more room for a variety of choices and better adventure, and the single sided perspective is just what you might expect from a book called "Life as a Viking." The sensible reader will find it a bit ridiculous that Vikings would consider that killing and enslaving a bunch of monks and boys (armed only with kitchen cutlery) makes them great warriors. It does actually happen in the story.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

This book is entertainingly written, but it shares several shortcomings with many other entries in the series. You would expect a gamebook about Vikings to include choices dealing with military strategy (as is the case in Life as a Ninja, for example). However, despite this title being mostly composed of battle scenes, there is little in the way of strategic gameplay, and the choices feel lazily designed for the most part.

Other episodes in the book deal with the different life opportunities available to Viking warriors. It is quite possible to write an engaging interactive text about everyday life (Goal-Minded in the Choose Your Path Sports Books series comes to mind). However, this book does not succeed in providing an interesting interactive account of how Vikings actually lived. One cannot help but feel the educational content here could have been delivered instead in the form of a linear work of fiction with little loss to anybody. Overall, this is an entry you can skip without regret.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

This is my first "Life as..." book. It's interesting. The book is quite simple with a low page count and simple sentences but it does pack a lot of choices into the story.

It is clearly intended to be an educational type series, kind of "learn history through interactive fiction." There are three main storylines which represent the beginning, middle and end of the Viking era. The first is a Viking raid on the monestary of Lindesfarne in 793. The second the Viking invasion of the 850's under the Ragnarsons, and the last is Harold Haadrada's unsuccessful invasion in 1066.

A nice thing about the book is that its sparse style would be good for short attention span kids. And it makes no judgments on acts that in modern times would be unacceptable like killing unarmed priests or capturing slaves. It feels really odd because the books were clearly written to be included in grade school curricula.

The only fault I find is that the second and third adventures are somewhat similar, both dealing with invading armies. I'd have preferred a different option, for example, exploring Iceland or Greenland or even Russia. Then we would have had three distinct Viking characteristics: raiding, invading and exploring.

More reviews by Kveto

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the cover images.
Users Who Own This Item: Kveto, Sir Olli

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