After The Flag Fell by Felicity Banks
Warning! Review may contain spoilers!
This gamebook takes place in a history similar to ours, but with magic. But wait! We have Paul Daniels in this reality too, so what if this is the alternate reality? This gamebook does not not address this question. Instead, you get to live the life of a very interesting individual.
To begin, we are allowed to choose one magical item. When I was younger, I think to my great Aunty Doreen, sadly eaten by wild horses. I remember that day, stumbling on what was left of her – cowboy boot, glittering fingernails, mankini and her most prized possession – her magical brass goggles. These brass goggles are set to enhance one’s senses – though offer little in the protection against horses and thieving nephews.
I am not too familiar with the life of Peter Lalor, but in this gamebook this is who you play. There’s even an easter egg in this gamebook that details the choices you can take to live out his life as it happened. As for my take on this life – well the first choice I took was to get out of a war zone by being conveniently airlifted to safety by a well connected lady piloting a hot air balloon – thus skewing reality completely. This choice cost me one trust point, and I hope I won’t regret that later!
I looked around for our flag, hoping for one last glimpse before we were overrun, but it was gone.
It is a charming little gamebook, nicely written and good easy fun to read. The choices are few, but the ones there are are really quite varied and can change the story quite dramatically. You never really feel quite there though – you feel detached from the horrors of war despite being betrayed and having an arm off and after this the years just fly by. All in all it feels more like a wikipedia entry than a fake life to lead – and perhaps this was the author’s intention. This is a good start to the gamebook but some key areas seem massively undeveloped. Despite this being a world of magic there isn’t a ton of wonder on show, and the magical items didn’t get used once.
If I were the real Peter Lalor I doubt I would still be remembered. Spurred on by my new love and awesome robot arm I thought with mining being viable again, gold mining would be an excellent career choice. Unfortunately I proved to be far too trusting and got squished in a winching accident, with just my beautiful brass goggles hanging off my flattened face.