Okay, folks, I think you all know that I’m a big fan of choose-your-own-adventure novels. If any of you have read my choose-your-own-adventure article, you know how they work. If not, then this is the part for you. In choose-your-own-adventure novels, you play the main character and you make the decisions. One wrong move can lead to your dismay, or even your demise. Here are my top five choose-your-own-adventure novels. (P.S. I have only read five.)
The Keep of the Lich-Lord by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson
This book is available on the App Store for $5, and in book form for a lot more money (it’s a collectible). Play as either a Paladin or a Rogue. The app has been adapted into the world of Fabled Lands. For centuries, the kingdom of Golnir has suppressed the pirate armies. Uleath Island, the only defense against the Reavers (the pirates), has fallen to the armies of the undead. Lord Nydaedus, necromancer and warlord, has allied with the pirates to destroy Golnir. After raising himself from the dead after being killed by the great warrior Alriath two hundred years ago, he has raised his army and destroyed Vognar Keep. Now, without the Keep to stop the pirate armies, Nydaedus and his armies will destroy Golnir once and for all. Unless you, a powerful warrior, kill the Lich-Lord once and for all.
There are many things wrong with this novel. For starters, the classes are completely unbalanced. The Rogue is better than the Paladin in every way. Look at these stats:
Now, since you’re fighting an army of undead, you may expect to use sanctity much more than thievery, making the Paladin class kind of worth it, but you’d be wrong. You use sanctity and thievery both once. If you fail, you die. You have a 41% chance of succeeding on both of them if you have a one in that stat. This makes the Rogue class better in every way. Goodbye Paladin, HEEEEELLLLLLOOOOOO Rogue!
The next thing wrong with this novel is how single-minded it is. You have no choice of where to go! There is one time where you see an abandoned cave, and you have no choice but to enter it. Inside there are pit traps, spirits, and a potion that can either poison you, heal you, or increase your combat. Besides the silver flute you find, this is the worst place to go.
There is one town in which you have to make a charisma test to convince the guard to let you enter. If you succeed, he allows you in. If you fail, he allows you in! I have one response to that: What…!?
You are forced to trust a random soldier that you meet in a town. As soon as that happens, another stranger comes and you have the choice to trust. If you don’t trust her, the soldier kills you. So, you’re telling me that you have no choice about the soldier, but you when you meet an elf! And of course, if you don’t trust the elf, the soldier kills you! Seriously? SERIOUSLY?
Another time, you are forced to go out of your way to find a giant stone finger! Sure, the finger allows you to teleport yourself to the elemental plane and kill a rock golem, but the result of that is a town burning to the ground.
Once you get to that town and kill a bunch of pirates, you are forced to go aboard a pirate ship to free the people. Now I know that is a good thing, but in game terms the only thing you get for it is an item that doesn’t heal you but hurts you!
The final thing wrong with this novel is that it is really poorly written. When you are with the soldier and the elf comes in, the soldier attempts to kill the elf. Here are your choices: “Stop him killing the unknown person” or “Let him finish the job…”
That should be “Stop him from killing the unknown person.” I thought this sentence meant that you stop him, and then you kill the unknown person.
Another example: You find out towards the end of the novel that there is a spell that can kill undead. In the end of the novel, you get the spell. You have the choice to use it on the final boss. It then says that the spell was really a counter-spell, and that you had forgotten that. I checked. They NEVER say that! Never! NEVER! They just give you a useless item! Oh, and get this: You are unable to use that item, even as a counterspell!
I won’t say this novel wasn’t entertaining. It was. But if you want an amazing choose-your-own-adventure novel worth every penny, this is definitely not it.
The Pillars of Pentegarn by TSR
The classic choose-your-own-adventure novel, The Pillars of Pentegarn, is set in the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons. There are weird parts, like a talking tree, fox, and owl, that accompany you on your adventure (not the tree, of course, just the fox and owl). It starts off with a group of adventurers entering a dungeon when you see an army of goblins planning to ambush them. You then go and help them. (You have a choice, but if you choose not to, it just says that you live a life without adventure, the end.) You play as a boy thief, and you are put in an adventuring party of you, an elven rogue, a human warrior, and a human wizard. The story is that the wizard is the true king of the Pillars of Pentegarn and is trying to take his kingdom back. With awesome battles, and many different endings–some ending with everyone except the wizard and you dying, others with the wizard taking his kingdom back once and for all–this is a pretty cool novel.
It gives you an idea of what Dungeons & Dragons is like, but the downsides are that it is short and doesn’t have a lot of depth. It is for younger readers as well. However, it has tons of replayability, and is generally cool. Also you do not need dice, but, unlike many choose-your-own-adventure series, it is kind of gruesome. I mean, people go insane, get crushed by giant boulders, and get killed by giant skeletal dragons.
Generally though, this is a really fun game.
Sorcery! by Steve Jackson
In my opinion, Sorcery! is one of the most hardcore choose-your-own-adventure novels, EVER. It is a four-part series. You can choose to be either a warrior or wizard. The evil Archmage has stolen the crown of kings, the crown that makes whoever wears it an amazing ruler. If the evil Archmage makes his own army, countries will be destroyed. You must travel across the lands of evil and retrieve the crown of kings.
The only problem with this game is simple: it is really, really hard to win. Also, you are forced to do a lot of things. Another con is you are unable to go backwards. I got to one place where I could either go forward, and die, or do absolutely nothing. How stupid is that! Seriously! Your character unable to walk backwards! GOOOOOSSSSHHHHH!!!!
All in all, however, this is a very entertaining book.
Down Among the Dead Men by Dave Morris, adapted by Indie Books
Down Among the Dead Men is a choose-your-own-adventure novel set on the deadly high seas with some twists. The app is $1, so don’t worry about expenses. You may play as a woman in disguise or as a man, and you even may become a magician, a gypsy, or even a warlock. The book begins with you being kidnapped by a pirate captain, Skarvench. You and four friends escape on a row boat, but the high seas are unforgiving, and between natives, storms, and even more pirates, your chance of death is high. But another cool thing is that you cannot die. When you win the game, it tells you the number of times that you could have died but did not. There are thousands of different possibilities, and I played through and managed to skip the sixth chapter. I still don’t know what’s in store there! There is tons of replayability, and even though it is pretty short and does not have a lot of depth, it is a two-hour read. I think that for 99 cents, this is a great novel and worth every penny. The only reason this is #2 on my list is because it is quite short and has very little depth. Though for the amount of replayability, it is totally worth it. Overall, this is an AMAZING game!
Fabled Lands by Dave Morris and Jamie Thomson
Fabled Lands is available in book form for about $15, or the first and second books are available on iOS for $6. Originally, this was going to be a twelve-book series, but was cancelled after the sixth book. This really gets me annoyed, because the last book was called Into the Underworld and it sounded really cool. Unlike most choose-your-own-adventure novels, which are one large quest, this offers an entire world to explore. There are thousands of quests and tons of dangerous places to explore, from the Unnumbered Isles to the Edge of the World. Each book covered a certain area of the world, each one similar to a certain place in the real world.
Book One, The War-Torn Kingdom, takes place in Sokara, a land in civil war. The war is quite similar to the French Revolution in that a corrupt king is killed by a lesser force which takes control but rules with an iron fist.
Book Two, Cities of Gold and Glory, takes place in Golnir, a land of fortune and trade. Similar to Portugal in the Age of Exploration and Trade, Golnir is lightly ruled by the Baroness of Ravayne, who funds any knight brave enough to fight for her.
Book Three, Over the Blood-Dark Sea, takes place in the Violet Ocean, a pirate-filled dangerous ocean. This is a major trade area like a lot of other oceans and seas.
Book Four, The Plains of Howling Darkness, takes place in the northern wastelands and has really nothing to do with history.
Book Five, The Court of Hidden Faces, takes place in Uttaku, a kingdom of power-hungry rulers who force people to worship their evil god. Similar to a crude version of Medieval England, the masked dictators force people to worship their religion, or else…
Book Six, The Lords of the Rising Sun, takes place in Akatsurai, a kingdom of merchants and martial artists. Almost exactly like Medieval Japan, Akatsurai is a land of samurais and ninjas.
You are able to read the books in any order, which is great. You play as one of six classes: warrior, mage, rogue, troubadour, wayfarer, or priest.
The only problem with these books is that it is really hard to survive and the classes are unbalanced. The amount of replayability is basically infinite. I give this book series three-thousand stars!
I hope I got you interested in some new choose-your-own-adventure novels. Thanks for reading!
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