You are ALMOST a Wizard...
Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color.
As the story opens, you are given a more extensive backdrop of information than is seen in some of the other books in this series. You are a juvenile elf living in an ancient tree, along with your wizard parents and much younger brother. Right in the middle of your not-quite-clicking magic studies, the ground shakes. Hill giants are approaching your home, and their intentions are vile. Your parents spring into action, instructing you to protect and hide your brother. Do you obey them? Do you stand with your parents to defend your home? Or do you grab your little brother and make a run for it through the forest?
The larger print, abundant imagery, and vagueness in regard to violence all culminate to make this material ideally suited to the lower range of Middle Grade. Not all roads lead to a gruesome death! But… a few of them might.
If you, dear reader, are anything like me… you can count on needing at least a half-dozen bookmarks to note the pages you may want to return to if your storyline’s ending strikes you as less than ideal. >.> (Why yes, I did go back and try every single fork in the non-linear option tree. You live your life and I’ll live mine. ;P)
I regret I wasn’t able to enjoy this book as much as To Catch A Thief, or Escape The Underdark. Unlike with the aforementioned titles in this series, the main character you are acting as/for comes with a history and background (i.e. A family, including wizard parents and a high liability little brother.) The background itself isn’t such a bad thing, although it gives more sentimental tilt to decision making than we saw in previous installments. More irritatingly, the character you play is apparently too young and inexperienced to pass as an actual wizard. So, if you go into this hoping for decision tree choices that will involve using magic… you will be largely disappointed. To that end, the claim on the cover of “You are a wizard!” makes a promise to readers that the book doesn’t truly fulfill. >.> “You are a fledgling wannabe magic user who will mostly be running, hiding, seeking, and getting in WAY over your head!” would have been a more apt tagline… although admittedly, a bit more cumbersome.
As I have mentioned in related reviews, my primary suggestion for future installments would be the inclusion of a character sheet at the beginning. I think this would help readers with their decision-making, as well as introduce a foundational concept that could later transfer to the tabletop game. (It would also be neat to have a playable character ready-made. Just saying.)
A hopeful option for reluctant readers, budding D&D fans, and kids who generally appreciate having more engagement and agency in their reading material. Although, I would recommend other books in this series over this particular work.