Genre: Fantasy, Choose Your Own Adventure, 5-6th grade reading level
The Adventure is one book with three stories and 26 possible endings. As a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you, the reader, get to make different decisions throughout each story to reach one of the 26 endings, and then start over again to discover a new story and another ending. In Moonrise Mountain, you are trying to reach the top of the mountain where wild horses run, but danger and unexpected encounters lie at every turn. In Temple of Night and Wind, you brave the Maw, a dark cave no one has ever returned from. Will you? In The Tournament, you enter one seeking to free your uncle, but it is far from any sort of normal tournament.
First of all, I have been a follower of Jennifer M. Zeiger’s blog since 2013, so when I learned she published a book of adventures, of course I had to get it! Having already participated in many adventures on her blog, this book was a must-read and did not disappoint.
Each fantasy adventure is unique and following different decisions leads to reading a different story every time. While it does get repetitive to start back at the same beginning every time, each decision you make leads to a different story that follows its own trajectory as you continue to make decisions. With so many possibilities, it can get a little confusing as you lose track of which way you turned last time, so having a way of keeping track of your choices is definitely a must. However, no storyline is ever too long that you completely lose track of where you were going or where you came from. Though it is easy to repeat storylines if you’re not careful.
With different possible storylines in each story, there was always something new to discover. Temple of Night and Wind definitely had the most surprises while Moonrise Mountain took some surprising turns and The Tournament just plain delighted me. I may or may not have stayed up late just to read through every possible ending for one of the adventures. As a mom of two toddlers, it’s usually a given I’m going to go to sleep, but once I start reading one of the adventures, I just can’t stop. The stories captivated me and I love how they’re clean without sacrificing story. If anything, I wanted more possibilities, but, having attempted to write a choose your own adventure story before, I know writing one is no easy feat. I commend Zeiger for being able to pull it off and make it fun and interesting.
These stories were written for children and adults alike to enjoy, meaning there was tons of fun and adventure to be had without any profanity or obscenity. They may be a little easy and on the simplistic side for an adult reader of fantasy, but they still hold interesting twist and turns. There’s just enough world building to set the stage, but hardcore fantasy fans might be left wanting a little. For a child, these stories hold promises of fun, fantasy, and adventure without being too scary and are just long enough to hold their attention without veering into boredom. Which means I told my husband to read this book to our 4 year old when he puts him to bed at night. My son loves these stories and has even asked me to finish reading a story the next day because he wanted to finish it so badly. He loves getting to choose what happens next and my husband loves that the stories introduce making choices to kids, have a good degree of suspense where every line is important to the story, and the choices are realistic. But the best part is that our toddler loves the stories and pays attention. Because getting him to sit for a book can sometimes be worse than a trip to the dentist. They’re about 2.5 weeks into enjoying this book for bedtime and my son whines every time daddy tries to pick a new book. So, it’s probably a two thumbs up from my son, or two check marks if he’s feeling silly.
I might be a little biased because I’ve followed the author’s blog for years and have enjoyed all of her adventures, but my husband has not and says she is a great writer. Her writing keeps us interested and wanting to keep going. I just wish there were more adventures in this book.
How many cups of tea will you need?
5 cups should do the trick, though I might also throw in some pieces of chocolate so I can stay up long enough to keep reading