The Abominable Snowman by R.A. Montgomery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
YOU are a kid who likes to climb mountains, so let's hit the Himalayas!
*BRAKE SCREECH* Reread that title. This ain't just gonna be a hiking book, my friend. We're going after the yeti!
The Abominable Snowman is the first Choose Your Own Adventure [CYOA] I've seen that comes with a map. It's not a highly detailed map, but hey, it's a map! Whereas others were published as pure fun, this CYOA seems set on being a teaching tool. Along with the map, there's also an illustration of the Himalaya range with each peak's name and height listed.
The book kicks off with my buddy Carlos going ahead and getting stranded. Is he okay or should I go after him? Let's dive in!
Adventure #1: I decide to cancel my meeting with the director of expeditions and mountain research to go find my budski, Carlos! The director says he'll go with me. I think this is great, but...When we find Carlos' deserted camp, instead of suggesting we need to find Carlos, the director suggests we go in search of the yeti. Now, I think author R.A. Montgomery meant for us readers to take the leap together and jump to the conclusion that yeti have kidnapped Carlos, and so therefore we need to go find them in order to find him. But honestly, this scene just comes off as goofy. Oh shit, wait a sec...I'm sorry, I forgot I'm reading a children's book! ONWARD! I do my best to play it safe as much as possible, but Montgomery keeps pulling back in! Eventually, and quite out of the blue, I end up with some aliens traveling with Carlos to the Planet of the Seas to gain wisdom. Odd a.f.
The director and I find Carlos. The damn fool hiked off after yeti tracks by himself! We head back to camp and I find a weird hippie sherpa burning incense at the Kathmandu general store. We head off for the Annapurna peak and see what appears to be a signal light flashing. Thinking someone is in distress, we make for the signal and discover it comes from a yeti celebration bonfire. So, yeti do exist. Huh.
This time I leave Carlos for dead, and the director and I head off. We meet a monk and I agree to go on a Buddhist's journey of enlightenment. I have a transcendent moment, am given a benevolent yeti guide and we literally fly to Shangri-La. The alien abduction actually made more sense than this...
This time I say screw Carlos and the director, and go it alone!...and immediately hit a monsoon. Game over, dude.
Clearly I'm not meant to go without the director, so I apologize (yes, that's an option) and do ask if he'll join me on my expedition. He says he'll accept my apology and go...if he can be expedition leader. What a douche! Sneaking a peek ahead at my options, I see that I have no choice but to let him be our leader. It sucks, but what are ya gonna do? It turns out good for me, because we obtain better gear and provisions than what I could have got on my own. It also works out well for Carlos, because he gets rescued. But it doesn't work out so great for me, the reader, because somehow I end up back on the Buddhist's journey of enlightenment track from adventure #3, and there's no branch off storylines here, so it's the same old song and dance.
I could continue reading. There's 28 possible endings to this book. That seems like quite a few until you notice that there are numerous choices where it was basically do you want to continue? or do you want to end your journey?. A bunch of abrupt endings like that attached to one story path significantly reduces the overall adventure possibilities herein, and that's a bummer. However, there are more adventures to be had. They seem interesting from what I could tell from some of the illustrations by stalwart CYOA illustrator Paul Granger. Perhaps I will continue reading, but I'm not going to add to my review and spoil the whole dang book for you!
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