This isn’t going to be a normal book review, mainly because this isn’t a normal book. I offered to review Superman: Peace In The Balance because it’s a Choose-Your-Fate Adventure Book, not because it’s superhero related. I have much love for this type of literature, though it doesn’t seem to be as prevalent today as it once was. There’s nothing like a variety of possible endings to extend the fun you can have with a story.
And when I say a variety of endings, I mean just that. These books are similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books of my youth. Everything hinges upon decisions the reader makes after each short chapter. Essentially, as the story progresses, you (acting as the main character would) make choices and flip to a new chapter to see the results of your action. This leads to a lot of flipping back and forth, but can create vastly different conclusions. For instance, in this book, I killed Superman no less than four times and destroyed the Earth at least once. And I had a blast doing it (pun intended).
Nothing makes me smile like reliving parts of my early years; I sat with this 144-page book for an hour jumping from chapter to chapter trying to react as the Man of Steel. It’s tougher than you might think! In the story he is put up against General Zod, Braniac, and Lex Luthor…all of whom want to destroy the Kryptonian and either take over or destroy our planet. That’s a lot of pressure for the age group for whom this book was designed. Luckily, kids decide the fate of the world on a regular basis nowadays, thanks to super violent video games. So I’m pretty sure they’re going to bear up well under the pressure.
I was more than satisfied with the writing itself. Michael Teitelbaum did a great job breaking the plot pieces apart to create a total of sixty chapters. He even tossed in some puzzles and games to help point the reader in the right direction from time to time. That part is new to me, as the books I read like this were more straight forward and you literally had the character living and dying by your choices. This way makes it a bit more entertaining and definitely will hold the attention of a grade-school child far better than if it was just all prose.
A short search online reveals a few more of these books with DC Comics characters, so I think it would be safe to say you could grab these and really make a kid pretty happy. I also feel that if you have a child that isn’t a strong reader or perhaps gets bored while reading, these might be a good idea to help ease them into other books or another series. They are a lot of fun and I would recommend them without reservations. Grab a copy for your kid and watch them frantically flip back and forth – it’s worth it…any reading is a good thing.