Monday, January 4, 2021

Review: Schockwave by Jack Heath

 Ready for a CYOA? 

Don't know what that is? I didn't have a clue what this acronym stood for until a month or so ago—Choose Your Own Adventure! I loved these as a kid and could get my hands on enough of them...unfortunately, our local library didn't have a huge supply, either. So, when I got the chance to take a peek into today's book, that earlier me was more than a little giddy. 

This one is called your Pick Your Fate...not a true CYOA. But the concept is the same, and the adventure....

Well, read further to see what I thought.

Pick Your Fate, #2
by Jack Heath
Sterling Children's Books
Middle Grade Adventure
144 pages
ages 8 to 12

A trip to the beach gone terribly wrong. 30 possible storylines. Which will you pick? Choose carefully, because it's a matter of life and death.
Imagine: You're swimming in the ocean, trying to escape dangerous mercenaries who have planted a bomb on the mainland. Behind you, getting closer, is the largest shark you've ever seen. An explosion rips out from the shoreline and a massive wave flings you closer to the stunned shark's open mouth. You don't have much time, and you need to reach land. Do you keep swimming—or do you climb onto the shark's back to ride to shore? Every step of the way, a wrong decision will lead you deeper into danger . . . possibly to your death. With 30 storylines to choose from, will you survive?


                                                  *  high tension
                                                  *  variety of twists and turns
                                                  *  some violent moments (careful for more sensitive readers)
                                                  *  unexpected consequences after choices
                                                  *  Little lead-in to story


High-stakes, tons of tension, action-packed on every page, and a chance to decided your own actions...and fate—it's got everything an exciting read needs and more.

You, the reader, are the main character. During a trip to the beach, a woman with bullet holes in her boat, begs for help and claims that a bomb is about to detonate. Will you help her? Will you face the evil or try to save your friends? Every choice carries heavy consequences and only a few lead to survival.

I've always been a fan of these types of books...and I died the first time I went through this one. It is an adventurous read and slides along the theme of secret agents, bombs, kidnapping, wild animals, and so much more. Every page is action pure and each choice really does lead to unexpected twists. It was hard to tell if my choices would be 'smart' ones or lead to doom. And this uncertainty is, in my opinion, exactly what's necessary to make one of these books a good read.

The beginning of this one didn't lead into the tale as much as I would have liked. While I did hate more than a page or two of text in these books when I was a kid, this one still starts out a bit too quick. On the other hand, the author did something I've never seen before—he allows the reader to choose whether they'll be a Seth or a Leah, while still keeping the page turning surprise flow.

The tale itself is well written enough. The dialogue is natural, the scenes easy to picture, and the pacing remains quick and keeps boredom far, far away. There are more violent episodes...which is to be expected in a true spy action book, but more sensitive readers might want to keep that in mind. 

I had a lot of fun with this one, and it got passed around all of my family members with each one enjoying it. It's a great read for reluctant readers as well as bookworms and is one of those books, which might be read under the blankets after being told to go to bed.

Thoughts and such...

I took a quick peek at Sterling's website and discovered that there will be, at least, 3 books in this series. The author, Jack Heath, has a hand for writing quick-action, high-tension action scenes and also has another series, which packs tons of short stories...all action...into each book. I'll be reviewing one of these, 400 Minutes of Danger, at the end of the month. So, keep an eye out if you're an action fan...
Or know of a young reader who is.

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