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To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure
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To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

(Chooseable-Path Adventures)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  4,274 ratings  ·  566 reviews
To Be or Not To Be is a choose-your-own-path version of Hamlet by New York Times best-selling author Ryan North. Play as Hamlet, Ophelia, or King Hamlet--if you want to die on the first page and play as a ghost. It's pretty awesome! Readers can follow Yorick skull markers to stick closely to Shakespeare's plot, or go off-script and explore alternative possibilities filled ...more
Paperback, 768 pages
Published September 10th 2013 by Breadpig (first published July 16th 2013)
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Fanny Skirbekk I've tried to check, and it seems like none of the story lines will get you to node 251. If you read node 251 and then choose the option that leads yo…moreI've tried to check, and it seems like none of the story lines will get you to node 251. If you read node 251 and then choose the option that leads you to node 275 you might understand why.(less)
Kelsey Choose to read the acknowledgements instead of choosing a character at the beginning. :)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.10  · 
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Nov 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1. Upon discovering this review, you are offered your first choice.

Would you rather be reading this:

Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff’d
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour’s at the stake. How stand I then,
That h
After joyfully frolicking through this hilarious book my only question is why the hell did it take someone so long to write a Shakespeare choose your own adventure?

I know, I know, I know if there was one thing missing from your life it was the chance to determine the fate of Shakespeare's Hamlet for yourself all while enjoying illustrations from a wide variety of super talented cartoonists and artists! Me too!!! Well Ryan North has answered our collective pleas and to this I say I am but mad nor
Kevin Fanning
Sep 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kickstarter books are always a gamble. That's part of the fun? Maybe? There's the whole "Is this book even going to get written and published like the author promised" thing NEVER EVEN MIND the "Will I even like it" thing.

Well this book got kickstarted and it really happened, right on schedule, and I really like it, it is the one of the most fun books in existence.

I don't know what exactly I was expecting. You hear Hamlet Choose Your Own Adventure and you think: A Fun New Take On Shakespeare.
First Second Books
One of my friends and I endeavored to thoroughly read Ryan North's TO BE OR NOT TO BE: A Chooseable-Path Adventure over the weekend, and we were bemused to find that when we tried to make sensible decisions, TO BE OR NOT TO BE provided us with a very sensible ending (Hamlet Sr. didn't try to make his son into a murderer! Ophelia invents the barometer instead of dying!), which was great.

But! Even when we tried to make not-sensible decisions (yes, let's have pirates!), TO BE OR NOT TO BE seemed re
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How do you write a review about a book that has SO MANY varying storylines and SO MANY choices? You don't really. You just tell everyone why it's awesome:

💀Every single varying plotline/choice is thoughtful and inventive.
💀 All the 'additions' to the original story are hilarious and somehow perfect.
💀It all allows you as the reader 'to fix' all the issues you saw in Hamlet when you read it in high school. (Seriously, I was so pissed at how dumb they all were)
💀 It's fun.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, own, favorites
I am writing a review of this book even though I have not finished it. Well, I have finished it multiple times, but I have not read every page of the book. I don't know how to get to the chess game!

Welcome to To Be or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure, Ryan North's amazingly brilliant interpretation of Hamlet. It is hard not to use hyperbole when describing this book, but it deserves it like Claudius deserves to die.

At a social gathering, I often pull out the book and ask, "Who wants to pla
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I finished the book!
How do I know I finished it, you ask. After all, it's quite chaotic, there are so many choices to make and how can I remember all of them? Well, this is how I know!


That's right. That's 11 pages of notes and diagrams. Front AND back!
After a certain point it almost felt like homework.

Anyway, this was amazing, to say the least. It was the funniest thing I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Can't wait to read Romeo and/or Juliet.

Seriously, stop what you're doing and go read
Kate O'Hanlon
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
I've played through several times, gotten a few grizzly deaths and even a couple of happy endings. Unlike the choose your own adventure books I read as a kid this seems to have inexhaustible options and endings to delight and amuse. I'm waiting for my physical book to arrive before going through everything because, though the ebooks are quality productions it's becoming a little tedious jumping around to find different endings. It's just going to be easier with real bookmarks.

The book is hilario
Jun 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
RIP Shakespeare, you'd have hate it :3 ...more
Ryan North is probably still best-known for Dinosaur Comics, but he's branched out into publishing before with the Machine of Death anthologies (I'm halfway through the first one and have been for a couple of years, which is my typical approach to anthologies, but they're interesting!) and the Adventure Time comics. This book, which was Kickstarter-funded (Kickstarted?), is a choosable-path (choose-your-own-adventure is a copyrighted phrase, apparently) re-telling of Hamlet.

It's bananas. Ryan N
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not my cup of tea.
I didn't find it that funny but the concept of it is brilliant. It is just not for me!
Although this book is humongous, I flew through it. I finished it in an hour.

This is a "Hamlet" adaptation but a very different experience. Here, you can choose which character you want to be. It also has illustrations.

If you are familiar with Hamlet, you will enjoy it.
Mar 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
These books are so clever and make Shakespeare so much more accessible. I also have a feeling that Shakespeare might have really approved of their tone. There is no doubt that this book will raise student's interest and understanding of Shakespeare. The one drawback is that Shakespeare's perversions that are typically veiled from many in his language are front and center in this format. It is reflective of Shakespeare, but it might be a little much for some. I know this book makes me want t
OMG, hilarious. HILARIOUS!

My husband got this through the Kickstarter campaign and was sooo excited when it finally arrived. He's been reading it off and on for the last week or so, every now and then quoting parts at me, and I was kind of like, "Ha. That's amusing. Now back to whatever I was doing before you started reading this quote at me." Okay, not quite, but...I don't know. I wasn't totally convinced.

But this afternoon he pushed it at me right before lying down for a nap, so I picked it up
Feb 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Choose your own adventures aren’t normally my thing but I had a blast reading this (not quite as much as Romeo and/or Juliet but that’s my favorite Shakespeare play). Because Hamlet is such a recognizable story that so many people have read in school at some point, so everyone is able to at least know the main outline of the story before you choose for it to go completely off the rails. I think the thing that I loved most was the modern and sarcastic reimagining of classic lines from the story. ...more
Ana Mardoll
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ana-reviewed
To Be or Not To Be / B00ECJN7T6

How much do I like this book? I will tell you. I like this book so much that even though I participated in the Kickstarter for the book and got a paper copy AND an electronic copy in four different electronic formats, I still bought the Kindle version before writing this review just to make absolutely sure that this book will follow me around on my Kindle account for the rest of my life or until the heat death of the universe (whichever comes first).

If you like th
Sara Bakhshi
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, funny, gamebooks
It was funny reading Hamlet in this way!!!
and maybe I haven't got all the endings but I enjoyed reading it a lot!
It's so good that you can choose your path in the book.
Dawn Livingston
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a choose-your-own adventure book like the kids books. You start with the first page than are given an option and the choice you make dictates which section you go to next so you can reach the end then start again making different choices and therefore having read multiple stories in just one book.

I rated Ryan North's other choose-your-own adventure book, Romeo and/or Juliet, five stars so I feel I can't rate this book any less. But with this 2nd book the amazement at such a fantastic for
Mar 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had high hopes for this book. A Choose Your Own Adventure story around Hamlet is a great premise. However the book is sophomoric and patronizing. I wouldn't be surprised if the author read the play via Cliff Notes. It is written by a politically correct frat boy who can't see beyond his own time. He spends his time mocking Shakespeare in the most juvenile and ignorant fashion, all the while writing literally how great he, the author, is and how amazing his story is.

If you enjoy Shakespeare an
Eric Mesa
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
The book was a fun read. I first did Hamlet Sr, then Ophelia, and then Hamlet. I decided to go with the Shakespeare option each time, essentially turning the book into a modern English version of Hamlet (with commentary). The main thing I learned is that Shakesspeare relies on a lot of silly tropes that only worked because they were new back then.

As I said, it was a fun read, but I have the feeling that 14 year old me probably would have loved this book and found it hilarious.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So many happy endings, man! Everyone gets one! Even the GHOST! I loved it :D
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
To Be or Not To Be is—well, it’s the question—but it is also a supremely clever book, a success both in the choose-your-own-adventure genre and in the Shakespeare adaptation genre. Author Ryan North first gives readers (interactors? Actors?) three character choices, and they’re the good ones: Hamlet, Ophelia, and the ghost. North covers the main character, the female character, and the supernatural character, all tempting options. Sure, someone will always have wanted to be Horatio or Claudius, ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a fun idea, especially the extended pirate scene that was glossed over in Shakespeare's version.

Shakespeare's act 4, scene 6:
"Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for the
Courtney H.
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The idea behind this book is fantastic. Hamlet is all about choices--or the decision not to make choices. And some of the characters--as North makes sure to point out--make really terrible choices that have, not unexpectedly, really bad consequences. Think about all the better choices these characters could have made! Or, you know, the worse choices they could have made. Then think about the terrible choice Shakespeare made--specifically his decision to whittle a fantastic sea battle with pirate ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is ridiculous and I love it!

Whether you know everything there is to know about Hamlet or you maybe read it once when you were in high school, there is plenty to love about this silly retelling.

North does give you little *clues* as to which choices match the original story, though that doesn't necessarily guarantee this book will take the same paths.

I was laughing out loud as I read this during my lunch break (note: this is a hard book to read during lunch break because you're flippi
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor
Every English major should have a child who is an English major so that Christmas comes with gifts like this book. A choose-your-own-adventure Hamlet!

In truth, I've only "read" one adventure so far, and it wasn't as easy as you might think to make the choices Hamlet did in the Bard's story--partly because Ryan North's commentary on Hamlet's idiocies makes it hard to remember what originally happened. But no worries, whatever pages you turn to come with great illustrations, the sarcastic comments
Apr 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure I gave this book a fair read through, but I did try a handful of stories. The concept is brilliant. I love the concept. The implementation was bad. North tries too hard to be amusing. His constant jokes and parody of Choose Your Own Adventure stories just fell flat (and obnoxious). I only tried 3-4 stories because North's writing was so off-putting it made the experience tedious. ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read every single page but have been through a few different adventures and loved them all. ...more
Jun 03, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
This book is just one excessively long joke. And it's not a good joke. ...more
Laura (bbliophile)
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Oooh this was so much fun! Review to come (:
no the sense of humor here isn't gonna be for everyone but i maintain that this book's only flaw is the lack of an option to romance horatio ...more
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Hi, I'm Ryan! I was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in 1980 and since then have written several books. You can read my Wikipedia page for more, or check out my author site at!

I'm the author of the webcomic Dinosaur Comics (that's the comic where the pictures don't change but the words do, it's better than it sounds and I've also done crazy things like turn Shakespeare into a choose-yo

Other books in the series

Chooseable-Path Adventures (2 books)
  • Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure

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  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
11 likes · 4 comments
“This was a really amazing part of your adventure, Hamlet. You’re sure that, should you ever one day write a book about this story or perhaps a stage production, you’d DEFINITELY include this scene. Why, you’d have to be literally crazy to write a story where you journey to England, get attacked by pirates — actual pirates! — but then just sum up that whole adventure in a single sentence. Hah! That’d be the worst. Who puts a pirate-attack scene in their story and doesn’t show it to the audience? Hopefully nobody, that’s who! Even from a purely structural viewpoint, you’ve got to give the audience something awesome to make up for all the introspection you’ve been doing; that just seems pretty obvious is all.” 2 likes
“Chicks, man, am I right? They crazy," you say.
"Yes, what IS the deal with over half the human population of the planet? They're definitely all 100% insane," Horatio replies sarcastically.”
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