Sunday, September 12, 2010

Choose Your Own Romance (Christina Crooks)

I agreed to do this review about a month ago, so I decided to give it a bump. Here we go:

  • Overall: 1.5 ҉
  • Plot: 0.5/5
  • Originality: 3/5
  • Language: 1/5
  • Believability: 1.5/5

Having grown up on the Choose Your Own Adventure series, I was fairly excited by the concept behind this book. It's electronic, so links take you to the results of your choices. Admittedly, the formatting was well done, though I soon discovered that there's no "back" button to try a different option. I ended up scanning backwards or starting the story over again.

The author did a good job of maintaining the second person perspective. The same words and images were used repeatedly, however, and in close proximity to one another. More variety and fewer trite adjectives would have been welcome, though the narrator did become rather verbose when describing a male lead's physique or facial features. The heroine typically falls instantly for good looks and charm, and as a thinker, I couldn't help but be bothered by it. This relates back to another issue: substance.

I expected to be able to work my way through several frames of decisions, a well-written journey where I find myself wondering how I got to where I am at the end. Which divergence was it? What I discovered is that in many cases, the "correct" choice is obvious. The "incorrect" one leads you to roughly 300 words or so of jumbled storytelling that terminate that particular journey. Conceptually, the five stories held quite a bit of potential, but the plots generally lost steam after the initial set-up. Perhaps further development and editing of just one of these would have done quite well.

The last quarter of the book is actually a teaser for a novel. I ended up more interested in that than in the product being reviewed. Surprisingly, a great deal of the literary ticks vanished, though there was still an instance of imagery repetition that I hope will be edited out before the novel is published.

In short, this book held a great deal of promise, but it needs a bit more work to get there.


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