October 14, 2009
The Clone Wars, Decide Your Destiny Books
The Decide Your Destiny Clone Wars series take the formula of picking your own storyline (I still think of it as the Fighting Fantasy approach) and apply it to the Star Wars universe, with a bit of a twist: adding online content. The first two in the series are The Way Of The Jedi and Tethan Battle Adventure, with at least two more on the way.
The books are aimed at kids, the Ladybird site giving a recommended reading age of 6+, so the font is not tiny and there are interspersed black and white pictures. The story is written in second person point of view, in other words you are the hero and the book tells you what you are doing.
Each entry (some of which are more than a page but not often much more) ends with a page to turn to, or pages if there is a choice. Not every entry has a choice, but hopping around the book does add a sense of adventure (eg. page 24 to page 101 to page 37). The choices are summarised concisely at the end of each entry. Some of the choices are clever, I particularly liked the one where Yoda tests you, and starts with “think of a number” then does division, addition, subtraction and turn to the result, which of course has Yoda there waiting for you.
Also interesting is the use of online content. Some of the choices direct you to the Decide Your Destiny website, where you can click on the relevant box. Of the options of seen these have been animated cut-scenes which add a nice atmosphere to the book. I say, the ones I’ve seen, because I haven’t read every single page of these books, which is a bit unusual for a review. Instead I’ve read a couple of different paths for each book. Yes I died the first time! Yes I wanted to go back and find a happy ending. I’ll probably read some more paths through the books too.
All in all these are great books for kids. If they’re fans of Star Wars they’ll probably be fans of The Clone Wars TV series and I’m sure they’ll enjoy these books. In a time when there seems to be complaints about kids not reading as much as they used these books try a little bit harder than average to appeal. Which is great. I wish I’d had Decide Your Destiny Star Wars books when I was learning to read.