I'll give book props for cheesiness ala Army of Darkness and budget zombie flicks. Aside from that, there's not much to recommend. It's supposed to beI'll give book props for cheesiness ala Army of Darkness and budget zombie flicks. Aside from that, there's not much to recommend. It's supposed to be a special edition gamebook, but again, there's nothing spectacular about it.
App-wise, it's similar in polish to other Tin Man Games, so there's no complaints there. The game system is different from all other Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and is a way too simplistic and punishing. One - just one - unlucky roll can kill you or basically makes it impossible to finish the gamebook. It's so superfluous that it's almost pointless to play. Doing hardcore mode is basically just abusing the unlimited bookmarks the app allows you.
The story itself is ok - you've been kidnapped while being a mythology-obsessed student - and now needs to put an end to a dastardly plan to eradicate all humans. Even the premise is a bit silly - for example, you got kidnapped while touring the world (student? really?). The writing itself is pretty bland and ignores it's own inconsistencies - like zombies crawling all over the manor despite it not being ready to release them yet, or none of the still living inhabitants reacting to grenades and machine gun fire all over the manor. Or the fact that you had been starved for almost a week and still rather hale.
I know, the tone of this gamebook is such that it's not meant to be taken seriously. I just got the feeling that there's any attempt at storytelling, and just glossing things over to get to the zombies. It also only works if you enjoy the journey, which I didn't. This gamebook adhered absolutely to the One True Path approach. Deviate even slightly (right instead of left, for example) and you either die a horrible death, or miss out killing one zombie and lose, or miss out one item and lose. With each replay you get a little further in, following the exact same path you took previously.
The story follows a mother of two who was first forced by circumstance into the role of a one-time executioner, and then forced by other circumstancesThe story follows a mother of two who was first forced by circumstance into the role of a one-time executioner, and then forced by other circumstances into a conqueror, bearing the blown-up reputation of an "executioness". *blink* *blink* Yes, that the transition.
I think perhaps this short story would really have been better off as a longer novel. The actual idea, and the rather strong female lead, was pretty good. Things just seemed to escalate a little too quickly and I haven't quite lost that "mom" perspective of Tana, the protagonist.
Another problem I had with the escalation into war is the actual war itself. I couldn't help but notice rather glaring conflicts - in description, logistics, and scale - resulting in a general sense of disbelief. (view spoiler)[Paika is this large and impressive city, but it's manned by very little soldiers, which doesn't really make sense. Portions of this army would travel weeks and months away to murder and kidnap. These raiders appear to be very capable, efficient, and deadly. These people actually originally conquered the city of Paika with this small army of theirs, ok, so they're very capable. Yet, upon being attacked by an army of desperate peasants with only a few months training, they basically threw open their city gates, let themselves get slaughtered, and gave the city away. (hide spoiler)]
I haven't read the paired novella yet, so this was my initial exposure to this world they've built. It's an interesting dilemma, where magic use is forbidden due to the fact that it causes unchecked growth of a poisonous plant termed the "bramble" that can't be killed off, only hacked and burned to keep it at bay. But that's about the only thing that stands out about it.
It's a quick read, but don't expect it to be deep. The middle-aged (yes, the story keeps emphasising this) mom-protagonist is actually quite likeable, but more reflection and length would've probably improved the story; more opportunity to be attached to the characters. As it is, when I finished reading, I just shrugged. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I like this one much better than the paired novella, The Executioness. This one follows an ill-fated alchemist whose noble goal was twisted into a horI like this one much better than the paired novella, The Executioness. This one follows an ill-fated alchemist whose noble goal was twisted into a horrific purpose and being forced to take part in it.
It is set in the same city, and the events happen more or less simultaneously with the other novella. There's two or three places that hint at the events that happened in the other novella.
The reason I preferred this treatment of the world is because it goes down into a more personal level. It follows the challenges faced by the alchemist forced to juggle between his dream, his life, and his daughter. The inner struggles and self-justification of the use of magic was well portrayed. It showcases the dark side of human nature, being collectively unable to resist temptations and always focused on the self, damning the many, to benefit the few.
It suffers a similar problem with The Executioness though, in the ending of it. A bit of problem with realism - it just happened too fast and too easily, it's just "the end". (view spoiler)[The unbelievable bit is how the daughter could even have made it through the city gates "leaking" a blue glow. Unmanned city streets and gates I suppose. And how a scholarly man who was locked up and weakening in a cell for two years, poisoned by bramble, and resuscitated (read: scorched and jolted) from near-death able to make an escape on foot out of a city is just incredible. (hide spoiler)]
But don't look at it too critically and it's actually a nice story. The plot is not exactly fresh (genius forced to work for villains) but it's a good take. Like the other novella, it would probably be a lot better as a full-length novel, with greater room for developing not just the protagonist, but the supporting characters as well. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more