Author: Danny McAleese and David Kristoph
Genre: Children, Create Your Own Adventure
Series: Ultimate Ending #1
Source: Directly from authors
First Published: April 4, 2016
Book Description from GoodReads: Three priceless star jewels. A century-old, cryptic journal. Using only the resources left by your grand-uncle, it's up to you to find Atraharsis — the legendary lost city beneath the sands.
But the way won't be easy. Raging sandstorms, sinister traps, and a whole host of mysteries stand between you and your Ultimate goal.
Can you solve the riddles, and recover the fabled star gems in time?
Or will you — like so many who've gone before — become the next permanent resident of the forgotten city?
YOU choose your own path in this treasure-hunting adventure! Ultimate Ending lets YOU pick the story. YOU make the decisions, solve the riddles, avoid the traps and gather the clues. It's a mystery and adventure book that YOU control!
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to the authors for providing me with a complimentary paperback copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
My Review: Growing up I knew that there were Create-Your-Own-Ending books but they never really appealed to me (I can wholeheartedly blame Nancy Drew for keeping my undivided attention). But now that I've read this Ultimate Ending book I'm wishing I had jumped into this unique genre as a child.
In this first book of the Ultimate Ending (UE) series young readers are given an Indiana Jones-esque adventure and are quickly pulled into a story involving lost treasure, sand storms, tomb raiding, puzzle solving, hidden cities and a few creepy creatures. Armed with only an old mysterious journal and a side kick, readers try to uncover the lost city of Atraharsis and its famous jewels.
As this was my first foray into the Create-Your-Own-Ending universe I had my preconceived ideas of how things would work but the authors went over and above my expectations. They start off by clearly and briefly describing how the book works for the new-to-UE reader making it easy to jump right in. I have to say that I loved being able to decide how things would pan out for my character. Oh the power!!
I thought the 'one Ultimate Ending' that readers strive to achieve is a great idea and while I didn't make it to that ending ending it was a fun ride. Yes, I succumbed to one of the perilous traps and even backtracked (because I kept a bookmark in my last page) and tried a different route which helped me last a little longer the second time around. Needless to say, the possibilities of re-reading this book are practically endless due to the addition of randomized coin tosses and dice rolls that readers can use to make some of the decisions.
My only reservation for young readers (I'd recommend this book for 9-12 year olds) is that some of the words used may be a little over the heads of some younger readers (glyphs, portcullis ...) so it would have been nice to have some of those harder terms underlined and a glossary of terms at the back of the book for those readers.
This is a great way to add a healthy dose of excitement to reading (and a great way for parents who enjoyed Create-Your-Own-Ending books in the 1980's to be nostalgic). By giving the decision making over to the child it really engages them and the options for the story's path are practically endless. There are MANY cliff hangers throughout this book that is filled with short chapters. Even reluctant readers will be eager to get back into the adventure and see if they can bypass the many fatal traps that are sprinkled generously throughout. This is a roarin' good twisty read that puts tween readers at the helm of the story. Now THAT'S an adventure!