Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 1, 2021
KJ Shadmand's "The Island of Dr. Moreau" is quite possibly the finest gamebook I have ever read. The writing is impeccable - Shadmand's prose is beautiful, with a distinct hint of the formal, 19th century style that evokes the original source material. The amount of text in between choices is just right - neither too much, nor too little. Other characters are plentiful and interesting, giving the book a vitality that is lacking in gamebooks about exploring dungeons or the like. The Island of Dr. Moreau offers a wide range of choices, providing more freedom than Critical IF Gamebooks like "Heart of Ice," but "Moreau" is much more strongly plotted than free-form exploration books like the "Fabled Lands" series. Outcomes are reasonable, so I didn't feel unfairly blindsided by the consequences of my choices. It is free of annoyances like inventory limits that force frustrating choices about which of your hard-earned items to discard. It is easy to skip combats, which I did on the second of my two play-throughs, and I found the book was just as enjoyable (or maybe more so) without playing out the combats. Now that I've seen Shadmand imitate late 19th century prose and setting, I'd love to see him tackle something different - I'd suggest reading "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons as an example of blending stories from various genres into an exciting and relatable science fiction setting that could work beautifully as a gamebook (though not literally adapting Simmons' work, which is still under copyright).
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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
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