Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Little Something Spooky

When I was a kid (and that was a long, long time ago) I enjoyed reading game books.  The Choose Your Own Adventure series was a starting point, but I tended to prefer books with more game to them, like Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series or J.H. Brennan's Grailquest (still a favorite to this day, actually).  One series I did enjoy around middle school, although I only read a very few of them, was Wizards, Warriors and You.

Wizards, Warriors and You was somewhere between a Choose Your Own Adventure and the more complex dice/random number oriented game books.  While the book series followed the standard "make a decision and turn to X section" of all its ilk, it had more randomized options than the Choose line without having hit points or dice and such like Grailquest.  The basic theme of the series involved the adventures of two lifelong companions, the Wizard and the Warrior of "good King Henry".  The reader took the role of either the Wizard or the Warrior (they were never named in the series) and read the book.  The books' "replay" value came from your being able to reread the book as the other hero when you had finished the quest.  The two heroes had the same story, but different paths.  They worked together regardless of who you were playing.
The "game mechanics" were choosing paths and occasionally flipping a coin, doing a math problem or finding out that you failed because you were reading the book on a Tuesday (no, seriously, that really happened).  When you picked the Warrior you picked 3 weapons from the selection in the back of the book and occasionally that choice meant all the difference.  When you played the Wizard you got a selection of spells and choosing to use (or not use sometimes) the right one meant all the difference.  These were young adult books, you see.  They were hella fun.
Today I am looking back at the 5th book in the series (which had a total of 18 books), The Haunted Castle of Ravencurse.  It was the first I bought, first I read and remained my favorite all through my youth.
First thing: Great cover.  The Wizard in a magical battle with a zombie king!  Look at the moody art.  It's the exact thing that appealed to my young self.  Okay, it still does.
The Story: Memory is a bit hazy here.  The Wizard and the Warrior have to go to the haunted castle Ravencurse for some reason or the other.
It was a long time ago.  I do recall zombies, ghosts, monsters, and a magical dual with that zombie king.  I probably read this book 50 times.  I wish I still had it.  I'd read it today.

The whole series was good, from what I remember, even if I didn't read them all.  I was always drawn to the ones with the spooky covers or that had titles promising encounters with ghosts, spooks, and the undead.
If you can find a copy I recommend it for the cover alone.  It had some nice interior art as well.

Keep your pumpkins lit.


  1. Replies
    1. I seem to recall that cover being the sole reason I purchased the book in my youth. Then, of course, it turned out to be a cool read.