Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Search for Snake River (Oregon Trail #3)

The Search for Snake River. (Oregon Trail #3) Jesse Wiley. 2018. HMH. 160 pages. [Review copy]

First sentence: You are a young pioneer headed West by wagon train in the year 1850. You and your family have already braved nearly half of the perilous frontier path known as the Oregon Trail, crossing 820 miles of territory in what will later become the states of Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming.

Premise/plot: The Search for Snake River is the third book in this Choose Your Own Adventure series inspired by the classic computer game Oregon Trail. There are twenty-three possible endings, but only one ending that will bring you and your family closer to your dream of reaching Oregon City.

The first decision you'll be asked to make is should you head to Fort Bridger OR should you take the Greenwood Cutoff. One choice will lead to four endings. The other closer to twenty possible endings.

Risks abound in this choose your own adventure book. Some of the risks directly relate to your decisions in a logical way. Others not so much. 

My thoughts: These books are fun and enjoyable. In spite of the many deaths you might die. Not all failures result in death which I suppose is a good thing. I imagine in the game that is not the case.

  • It will be several months before Pa can walk again, and he's likely to limp for the rest of his life. In the meantime, he'll have to give up his dream, which has become your dream, too, of getting to Oregon.
  • Your family decides to stay for a few days in the cave while Pa hunts for food. But then you'll have to figure out how to go on without your wagon or any supplies. 
  • By the time the oxen are ready to go, you are ready to move on, too...only not to Oregon Territory. You die of dysentery.
  • Ma and Pa are so concerned about you that they tell the wagon train to go ahead while they try to nurse you back to health. But soon they have to leave you behind. You die of dysentery.
  • But as the water hisses and steams, your insides burn, and you realize that your dreams of getting to Oregon have just evaporated into thin air. 
  • Hannah and Samuel cry because their legs hurt, and because they are scared to end up looking and feeling like you. They're right to be scared, because you will eventually die of scurvy.
  • Without your food supply, the risks of starving on the Trail are too great to continue. In a flash, your dreams of Oregon are over. 
  • You hate the fort and the idea of being there any longer, but for now it's where your dreams end. Be sure to keep an eye out for snakes!
  • But what is real is the fact that you've been wandering in the hot desert for a while and no one knows where you are. Your chances of being found are extremely low. 
  • "It was a rattler," you manage to whisper. Your eyes start to roll back in your head, and the last thing you see is Pa's stricken face as he cradles you in his arms. 
  • Even if you make it back to solid land, you'll have to make some hard choices about what to do next. Getting to Oregon City seems impossible now. 
  • Your family is stranded without any water, any animals to pull your wagon, and, soon, any hopes of survival. 
  • Pa explains that he wants to start a business with the local people, offering services to other pioneers. "We can help people who have lost animals, want guides, or need food and water," Pa says. "And I'm sure people will want to trade and buy things from us, which will make us a good living!" Your family's dreams of getting to Oregon aren't gone forever, just on hold for a little while. 
  • Luckily you do wake up, but you are much too weak to continue on this journey. And pretty soon, without any water, the rest of your family is feeling the same as you. You never imagined that something as simple--but as precious--as water would end up destroying your dreams of Oregon.
  • You search desperately for water. But there is nothing. Your family cannot survive. As you lie down for the night, parched and weak, you wonder who will pass by your bones. 
  • While you're waiting, Pa discovers a freshwater spring with clear and delicious water. As you camp there, Ma and Pa start to sell fresh pies, quilts, and other goods to thirsty travelers who stop to rest. By the time Caleb is ready to move on, your family is settled, happy, and convinced that this is a better life than the one on the Trail. You watch the rest of the wagon train roll away, as you help yourself to a big piece of pie.
  • Bam! the next rocks are too big to avoid. You crash into them, and right before you are knocked out forever, you wonder if the wagon wheel will still make it to shore.
  • But you're wrong. Within moments the fire catches up to all of you and you are engulfed in flames. 
  • In one dream, you have taken too much medicine and ended up poisoning yourself. Or is that your fate?
  • As your oxen start to die, you realize that you won't ever make it to Oregon. 
  • You never wished for the veggies you used to leave on your plate more than right now. 
  • You have water in your lungs and will die of pneumonia.
Some endings sound happy enough until you start to overthink them. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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