Are you (yes, you) ready to save the land of Astorya from a vicious queen?
You wake up with total amnesia in a strange world. Next to you is a letter in a bottle begging for help. Thanks to Manteau, a chattering French stoat, you learn that you’re in the world of Astorya, where only real humans like yourself are able to write the world into existence. The plot zips along in a second person rife with footnotes, wordplay, gross-out humor, evil Dust Bunnies, and Mad Libs–like sections for readers to fill in information about their favorite foods and the coolest cars they can imagine, among other things. The conceit of reader as main character settles in as the story progresses, but the entire plot is driven by manic jokes and supporting characters. Rather than taking on the salient details of one’s actual identity, the blankness surrounding the protagonist loses a grounding centeredness and makes for a bland reading experience. Likewise, the central conflict with Queen Rulette hints at some interesting ideas around dominant narratives and single stories, and the doodles in the margins raise the concept of marginalization (literally), but these nuggets of insight are buried under the video game–like plot as it advances from zany adventure to zany adventure.
A bold attempt that doesn’t quite carry through to satisfaction. (Adventure. 8-12)