Space and Beyond was the first create your own adventure novel I read and I must say, I truly regret not having read one sooner. Novels such as these are great in that it gives the reader unprecedented control over the narrative of the story and even provides the reader with multiple endings. It’s like multiple books/stories jam-packed into one novel. However, the true value in create your own adventure novels lies in the multiple journeys that they provide for the reader rather than the multiple endings.
Endings are overrated. Yes, they can be great and they are usually the first thing that one remembers about the book/movie/game, but they are brief. The journey to get to that ending, on the other hand, is much longer and in my opinion, the better part of any story. The journey allows the reader to really connect with the characters in the story and this connection is what results in a great ending. And this is what I loved about CYOANs. They extend the journey even further by including a multitude of stories that each have their own unique plots and twists. Normal stories usually have one set plot that they stick to and straying from this plot is usually considered a negative thing to do. CYOANs, on the other hand, aren’t bound by the same laws and hence, are much freer to roam the terrains of the imaginations and come up with new stories out of the blue.
I would like to take a moment and ask what is your favorite aspect of CYOANs and if you are not a fan of them, why not?