- Author R. A. Montgomery
I was very intrigued when I saw that the Choose Your Own Adventure books were available on the Kindle. Oh, how I loved these books as a child. I’ve still got one of my very favourites - a tatty old copy of the Sherwood Forest adventure. I have no idea that one captured my imagination above all others, but it’s tucked away in a cupboard somewhere.
I couldn’t see how the format would work ebook style - getting to the end of each chapter and having to skip forward to a designated page, depending on your choice. The Kindle isn’t famed for having page numbers, so it needed a bit of a rethink. The problem has been easily solved with links, instead of scanning through pages, you just jump through the book by tapping/clicking the link of the choice you desire.
I thought it worked well on the desktop version, and was acceptable on the iPhone/iPad, but I couldn’t really bring myself to try it on the Kindle itself. The link-clicking process on the device isn’t great at the best of times, let alone when it is your means to moving on through the story. Still, as a way of updating the concept to a digital age, I think they’ve done pretty well. As my brother rightly pointed out, though, it does somewhat remove the ability to cheat your way to a more acceptable ending.
What was more of a surprise to me was how poor I found the writing. I know they are simplistic stories, and not at all aimed at me in my stupid adult life, but it felt very clunky to read. Writing in the second person is a thankless task, but above and beyond that, it felt as though the story skipped through at a rapid pace, jumping from one moment to the next without stopping for reasons or rhythm. When they say Choose Your Own Adventure, they really do mean choose the steps of your adventure, never mind about characters or getting to know your surroundings at all.
Even so, I can’t judge the books too harshly. These books inspired me to write my reader-voted Life in the Fast Lane that became Formula Primo, so I’m just glad they haven’t disappeared completely.