Friday, May 4, 2012

Terror in the Ghost Mansion

Terror in the Ghost Mansion (Twisted Journeys #3)
Paul Storrie, illustrated by Sandy Carruthers
Lerner Publishing, 2007
$27.93, LB
February 24th, 2012

Genre: Horror, Adventure, Choose-Your-Own Style
Age: 8+
Description: You are on a road trip with your friends when your car breaks down. Lucky for you the inhabitants of a nearby house invite you to stay. But why do they want to split your group up? Did you just land in a haunted house?
Opinion: The Twisted Journeys series of the Graphic Universe line published by Lerner is a new digitally art-rendered take on the 1970s popular Choose-Your-Own-Adventure titles but these are half novel/half graphic novel/half flipping pages back and fourth. The pages are super glossy and trimmed in black edges which add to the atmosphere of creepiness. Each book has you, the reader and main character, begin reading a page or two of text. When you read a “twisted journey” page (one with a special icon) you get a series of choices (usually two or three). You then pick which one you want to follow and begin flipping pages to follow your story. These are great choices for reluctant readers who might be more inclined to read not only a graphic novel combination but also like the idea of controlling how a story goes. While reading #3 I ran into a lot of “You Die!” endings. So many so I began to wonder if any endings in the book ended happily. The problem with CYOA type books is that you don’t want the story to be so short the reader is done in five minutes and has no energy to bother trying another route but you don’t want a story to go on for ages too as Captured by Pirates did because then nothing ever seems to happen. It takes a lot of skill to make a CYOA story engaging and clever.

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