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Series - The Dream Palace

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Publisher: Baen Books -- United States
Categories: Complexity Level : Basic (No Game System)
Format : Paperback
Genre : Fantasy
Writing Style : Third Person

This gamebook, a light fantasy adventure aimed at a slightly older audience than most interactive books, is rather unique. Released in conjunction with a contest to win $500 and a gold wizard statue, it is designed so that it can be read either interactively or as a linear novel. This is accomplished by putting assorted numbered sections in the back of the book while arranging the bulk of the text in linear order. Readers wishing to interact with the book can occasionally be directed to the numbered sections, where it is possible to get sent forward or backward in the text or even be killed; those who just want to enjoy the novel can ignore such instructions. The degree of interactivity is obviously limited by this approach, but it’s an interesting concept.


The Dream Palace

User Comments

A standalone title, "The Dream Palace" is an exceptionally experimental and unusual work in nearly every sense of the word. Initially the book appears promising for the unique experience it offers - again, a highly experiemntal one which is unfortunately not very successful (and is boundless in missed potential). However, the depths of the story are peculiarly shallow, both as a linear adventure and as an interactiveness system. On top of this, the story's protagonists overstay their welcome, and the narrative's distant absentness fail to meaningfully connect with readers personally; despite the humor resembling cult classic sword-and-sorcery banter, it is definitely overblown, long-winded and seldom consequential. Perhaps worst of all, the book is severely hindered by a certain kind of incompleteness because of the contest it ties in with, and the absolute absence of resolution to the actual story. While the book appears visually stunning, and clearly a significant amount of effort was poured into the book, in the bigger picture it quite unexpectedly feels hollow, shallow and incomplete - none of the vivid, bold ideas ever amount to anything, and the book is one which builds and builds... to absolutely nothing. Futile and fleeting, this unfortunately isn't a "dream" I can recommend.


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