Starlight Adventures

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This series was designed as the female-oriented counterpart to the Fighting Fantasy books. The books have the same size and layout as Fighting Fantasy, though there is no standardized game system. Some books have no rules, remaining at the complexity level of a Choose Your Own Adventure, while others offer a few simple mechanisms for randomization and character differentiation.

This page is currently under construction; reviews will be added as I find time to write them. If you find any errors, please send an e-mail to me at

 1. Star Rider
Author: Carole Carreck
Illustrators: Steve Jones (cover), Peter Wilkes (interior)
First Published: 1985
ISBN: 0-14-031840-2
Length: 350 sections
Number of Endings: 17
Plot Summary: You've just come into some money which has allowed you to pursue a dream of horse ownership; now that you have a horse, though, you'll have to work hard to make it into professional competition.
My Thoughts: Between the obnoxiously lecture-like introductory section and the fact that I have no particular affection for or interest in horses, I expected this book to be a completely tedious read. To my great surprise, I actually found myself rather enjoying it. Despite the fact that it's written for an audience that I am in no way a part of, I enjoyed the fast pacing (you never have to wait too long for a decision) and the fact that there is no pointless dice-rolling to bog things down. I also appreciated the fact that, while there can be romantic elements to the plot, they are left entirely up to the reader -- you choose whether or not your character has any interest in potential relationships rather than having the whole thing dumped on you. Although I enjoyed the first part of the book, where you make connections with more established riders, train your horse and interact with other characters, I didn't find any of the endings to be especially satisfying. When it comes time to actually compete, the writing becomes vague, a great deal is left to chance (there are numerous pages ending in things like "How lucky do you feel? Turn to 124 or 307"), and the book eventually ends rather abruptly. Here is where some sort of game system could have come in handy -- things would be more interesting if you kept track of your horse's level of training, building up points during the first half of the book and then using them to compete in the end. Without such a system, the book succeeds fairly well as an interactive story but fails as a game. Despite the fact that it could have been better, though, this certainly exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations.

 2. Riddle of the Runaway
Author: Heather Fisher
Illustrators: James Bareham (cover), Bob Harvey (interior)
First Published: 1985
ISBN: 0-14-031841-0
Length: 300 sections
Number of Endings: 6
Plot Summary: You are a junior detective on your first genuinely interesting case; your task: track down a missing heir before it is too late for him to meet the age requirement for his inheritance.
My Thoughts: This book is a little more mechanically complicated than the previous one; the introduction mentions three factors which affect play: choice (the reader's decisions), chance (the flip of a coin) and fate (determined by your zodiac sign and birthdate, which affect certain events throughout the book). Also interesting is the fact that at several points in the book, the "turn to x, then y" instruction (similar to what was later used in Life's Lottery) is given. Despite these gimmicks, the book is quite linear. There is one optimal ending (led to by several slightly different paths), and whenever a non-optimal ending is reached, the option is given to head back to an earlier point in the adventure and start again. Actually, I quite like this -- there's no sense in starting completely over once you've reached certain critical points, and while it makes the experience of playing through the book shorter, it also makes it more satisfying. The story itself is unremarkable and occasionally cringe-inducing (some of the names are pretty silly, and watch out for the stereotyped Texan), but I had fun while it lasted. It's about as good as the previous book, but for different reasons.

 3. Island of Secrets
Author: Kim Jordan
Illustrators: Steve Jones (cover), Peter Wilks (interior)
First Published: 1985
ISBN: 0-14-031892-5
Length: 350 sections
Number of Endings: 11
Plot Summary: You've been hired to work at a Greek villa, and in the process you get to have an exciting summer vacation near an archaeological dig.
Translation: Italian
My Thoughts: This book offers yet another set of mechanics different from the proceeding books; this time around, there's a Luck score to keep track of which goes up and down and measures ultimate success, plus dice rolls need to be made from time to time. Pretty simplistic, really. The book itself is one of those adventures where time moves along no matter what you do, so it's important to do the right things at the right times. The first time I played, nothing of note really happened and I felt pretty left out. The next time around, I began to discover clues and become intrigued. This satisfaction lasted for quite a few play-throughs as more and more of the mystery was revealed, but eventually I began to get frustrated, mainly because certain major plot revelations require lucky dice rolls. Because of this, it became progressively harder to retrace my footsteps and, after a certain point, caused subsequent readings to muddle rather than clarify the plot. I was eventually successful, but by that point, the book had overstayed its welcome. Other weaknesses, including weak continuity (some characters are introduced twice on some paths while others appear abruptly) and poorly-written romance which never naturally melds with the plot, further detract from the experience. With less reliance on luck and a little more refinement to its design, this could have been a pretty good mystery adventure; as it is, it's tolerable but not quite worth the time it takes to play.

4. Danger on the Air

5. Ice Dancer

6. Trance

Italian Translations

Three of these books were released in Italian as the "Realta e fantasia" series.

1. Intrigo in FM

2. Trance

3. L'isola dei misteri
Translation Of:
Island of Secrets
This book is not part of my collection.

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