Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Race To Chimney Rock (The Oregon Trail #1)

The Race to Chimney Rock. (The Oregon Trail #1) Jesse Wiley. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: You are loading up your covered wagon to head out to Oregon Territory, where a square mile of free farmland awaits your family. It's 1850 and there aren't any planes or trains yet, so you'll have to walk while your oxen pull your jam-packed wagon across North America's Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and the lands of many First Nations tribes, like the Otoe-Missouria, Osage, Cheyenne, Pawnee, Arapaho, and Shoshone.

Premise/plot: The Race to Chimney Rock is the first in a four book series based on the classic computer game Oregon Trail. It is a choose-your-own adventure book with over twenty possible endings. I believe only one will lead you to Chimney Rock and set you up for book two.

Your biggest decision is your first decision. Will you choose to start your journey west in April or May?

If you want a REALLY short story to read, always decide to leave in April. You'll be done with the story in no time. There are just four possible stories with an April beginning.  

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I was determined to keep reading until I made it to Chimney Rock.

Are the decisions obvious? Yes. No. Sometimes. Not really. A few do seem easier to discern "wise" from "foolish" actions.

Do all the wrong/foolish decisions lead to death? No. Don't get me wrong. While all wrong decisions hinder you from reaching Chimney Rock and thus keep you from reaching Oregon, not all wrong decisions lead to a grave for you and/or your whole family. I was happily surprised to see some genuinely happy endings. I didn't feel so bad reading the words "The END" if I managed to still be alive. That being said, there were some horrible, horrible endings where you did end up dead.

While I understand that it's necessary to restrict EVERY decision to just two choices in the book and in the game, life doesn't really work like that. A third option makes sense sometimes.


If you want to reach Chimney Rock
  • DO leave in May
  • DO buy extra wagon parts
  • DO let Joseph help you catch rabbits
  • DO go to Papan's Ferry
  • DO make friends with an Indian boy
  • DO admit to not feeling well
  • DO stay with the train instead of following a soldier-guide
  • DO go to the Pawnee nation for help with muddy wheels
  • DO lower the wagons by your own strength
  • DO stop climbing the rock and go back to the wagon when it's time for supper
  • DO stand up taller and face the bear

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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