A small troll found in a basket goes in search of his parents in this rough-cut series opener.
In the story, little Urki negotiates a mountain, a maze and other obstacles with help from allies like sentient fuzzballs and fairies dispensing fairy dust. It’s related in a wordy English or, optionally, Spanish narrative that reads like a video game translated to prose—awkward prose at that: “Marlock’s sparkling eyes moved in the direction in which the little troll was pointing.” It even breaks suddenly between two chapters for a lengthy actual game. The monotonous (though optional) game features a hard-to-steer ball with which readers need to gather no fewer than 40 floating crystals while rolling through a maze. As far as in-story interaction is concerned, along with pulsing lights that don’t always move with the page turns, there’s a sparse assortment of animations; some design effects obscure sections of text. Furthermore, both the pages of story and the occasional full-screen cartoon illustrations jerk distractingly at the slightest touch. As an enticement to buy the sequel, the tale itself likewise jerks to an abrupt halt at an arbitrary point.
Readers and gamers alike will be underwhelmed. (iPad fantasy app. 7-9)