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Item - Adventure in the Lost World

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Series: Fantastic Adventures — no. 4
Author: Stroh, R. W.
Illustrator: Mulkey, Kim
Date: 1985
ISBNs: 0816705356 / 9780816705351 (hardback)
0816705364 / 9780816705368 (paperback)
Length: 92 pages
Number of Endings: 28
LC Cataloging in Publication Summary: In the role of a sailor gone three years from home, the reader is asked by a mysterious stranger to return to help his/her parents, then chooses the turns in a plot full of monstrous adventures.
Demian's Thoughts:

It's amazing just how bad this book is. For starters, the writing is just awful -- the whole thing reads like a summary, having no detailed setting, no distinctive character traits and no flavor of any sort. At one point, for example, you battle a monster. The book never describes the monster, or even tells you what it is! It just keeps saying "the monster this" and "the monster that" until the monster is dead! As if this weren't bad enough, the story doesn't even go where it's supposed to. The entire point of the book is to discover what happened to your parents, but every path simply leads you into a random adventure which in turn leads to an ending that never resolves the plot of the book! It's hard to believe, but not a single path through the book has anything to do with the alleged plot! All in all, this makes for a frustrating (though fascinatingly inept) read. The book also happens to be an exercise in wasted space; lots of pages have just three or four sentences on them, and the vast majority are only about half full. If the sections were numbered separately from the pages, in Fighting Fantasy style, the book would probably only be about two thirds of its present thickness. About the only good thing I can say about this book is that my primary copy is a good quality hardcover printed on nice paper; too bad the content doesn't really deserve such good treatment. I also have a paperback copy, and the artwork on its cover seems to be cropped a little differently than that on the hardback.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

Adventure in the Lost World by R. W. Stroh (R. L. Stine?) is a Dungeons & Dragons-style gamebook (but with an original creature or two thrown in). I enjoyed it much more than Demian did. It is true the writing is dry and concise, but no more so than is the case in most interactive books. The book allows you to experience a variety of unrelated adventures depending on the choices you make (similar to Conan and the Prophecy in the Endless Quest series). This may seem like a lazy design but the author manages to execute it quite competently. As Demian mentions, there is one instance where a monster is not described in any detail, but this did not ruin the experience for me. Kim Mulkey's illustrations are not masterpieces, but they do a good job of conveying the setting's variety. Overall, this is a good Endless Quest-style book. Recommended if you can find it.

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