m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Death Cave

I’ve more or less finished Death by Halloween, David Warkentin 2013 (Kindle Unlimited and paperback), the first book in his Adventures You Choose series. A second was promised, but I’m not holding my breath.

I read my way through four or five deaths, all very different except once when the author scolded me so much for my cowardice that I decided to check out the brave option. (It was just as fatal.) If you’re looking for horror, it’s here in spades, but in that drawn-out, cinematic way where the decisions of minor characters never seem to save them or do much good at all.

So if you’re looking for interactivity, it’s not necessarily here. The passages are long and the choices at the end are often just between right and left like you’re back in the Cave of Time. The author even boasts of the disconnectedness of different paths:

When I started writing this book, I wanted to make it as interesting as possible, so I made a decision. I decided that the realities of each story would be defined after the choice, meaning that every time the reader made a choice, a new reality would be created within the story.

(The technical term for this is a Time Cave.) I agree that it makes the story more interesting, but less interactive for adult readers. I’d recommend this book to horror lovers for its encyclopedia of deaths, but not to modern CYOA readers, for whom part of the pleasure of reading is gaining some understanding of the larger structure of the story.