Interactive books have been around for many years. Although popular in the 70’s and 80’s, it is again showing an insurgence in popularity. I can honestly not compare this book to anything I have read previously, so I am reviewing this from a newbie point of view. While I acknowledge the style is different, and there will be fundamental changes to the storytelling methodology, it must still conform to certain areas of literary writing protocols, with which I am vastly familiar and experienced. Having said that, this has been the most fun this reader has experienced reading a story. The offbeat one-line humour coupled with ribald comedy sent the reader into random bouts of laughter. This added many nostalgic moments of cartoons and comics from years gone by. Definitely one for adults of all ages that still have a childlike quality to their essence, but absolutely no reason why the younger age group could not enjoy this as well. There was no graphic sex or realistic death scenes within. You will need patience, lots of patience.
Sitting in a bar, drowning their sorrows, are three ex-reporters. Having recently been laid off from the Cleveland Tribune, Melah, Dale and the third reporter (You), are discussing launching a new journalistic web site. You are all suddenly surrounded by a white light and given a warning of extreme events to come: “Only you can save the world, so choose carefully. They’re coming”! So the story begins.
Outside, a bank has just been robbed and a meteor has landed, leaving a crater in the surrounding landscape. Three unmistakable characters rise from the debris.
1. The Ox, a famous super-villain (Obviously the bank robber).
2. The Nightwatchman, a mysterious hero.
3. The Cosmic Guardian, a legendary figure from the 80’s.
You the reader, the third ex-reporter, will be given the first of many choices; this decision will be a direction to follow, commencing your interactive experience. You take the lead from here on, and each time a significant scene appears choices must be determined to continue with your quest. Your role is to make intuitive choices as the story progresses and assume the significant roles you choose, thus creating the narrative as you go along. The result is to unravel the puzzle by understanding the characters, seize the plot and save the world—the usual familiar super hero type scenario. Or is it?
The wonderful experience with interactive literature is that as the reader, you are the protagonist within this story. It is a puzzle within a story, with you at the helm, choosing the routes to take, making decisions as they are presented. There are 90 possible endings to this story, so you must choose wisely, as 84 of these will end in your untimely, and often annoying, death. The death scenes are usually very quick, cartoonish, and quite humorous, so there are no graphic blood-thirsty moments to be seen.
The story is written in the second person, present tense. This accentuates the reader’s role as the protagonist. The story narrates to you and you also discuss findings with yourself as internal monologue. Most of the time these are laborious, informal in tone and voice. The writing is fast-paced, witty, very descriptive and follows literary standards for punctuation and grammar as well as possibly able within the confines of interactive, non-linear storytelling.
The use of multimedia enhances the reader’s experience with many static, anime-type graphics, usually depicting a super character; very well drawn. The word building and sentence structure was admirable for this type of dialogue. The quality of writing was simplistic, coherent and creative; allowing a certain amount of artistic freedom for the author’s style of originality with often familiar scenes and themes. Fluidity was successful within the differing routes, where linear writing was apparent for short periods of time. The characters were unable to be well-rounded or too complex due to the constraints of the differing route lengths. Thus the story was definitely character driven. Though what descriptions were written certainly gave each character their due. The plethora of characters within this story depended on the route the protagonist travelled; with the speech patterns discernible for each character without the use of dialogue tags.
The plot, or main theme, resembled the Axiel format style of interactive literature; very consistent in maintaining its presence throughout the multitude of routes. The plot layers branched in all directions, leading away from the central area, forming a glut of interwoven stories, even looping on occasion. The reader’s decision would ultimately determine the outcome of the story, and utilising the character wardrobe/suitcase the reader/protagonist assumes new identities, allowing for a unique perspective in understanding each of the characters and plot layers. The structure of the story definitely followed the literary guidelines; the hook attracted the reader’s attention, initially setting off the domino effect of the interactive process. All branches had movement within their storylines, action sequences, and often an ending usually with the protagonist’s demise. A well thought out story, very enjoyable.
To find the branch that leads to saving the world is the key to solving the puzzle. Can you find it?
||(5 / 5)|
|2. Grammar :
||(5 / 5)|
||(5 / 5)|
|4. Plot /Story line:
||(5 / 5)|
|5. Bigger picture:
||(5 / 5)|
(5 / 5)