iHero: Castle of Doom by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore

(7.0/10) The art is simplified, acting as a perfect compliment to a story written by the 2 Steves.

With the tag line, 'decide your own destiny,' this book will remind slightly older readers of the early Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone fighting fantasy novels, though this one doesn't involve the use of dice for skill, stamina and luck. It is a much simpler form of the original, but is just as fun. In this one, you are a warrior wizard, one of the last great ones existing in a place of dragons, monsters and magic, but you are also great with a sword, so you can look after yourself against any foe. A man knocks at the door, and tells you that there is a great evil coming from the North, and that is where it all starts.

There are fifty possibilities for the reader to choose from and one way or another they have to get to the Castle of Doom where the cruel Count Doom lives along with all the other evil night creatures and demons of old. There are several paths this plucky character can take and half the fun is seeing what happens and where it takes him, only to find he has to go right back to the beginning.

The interior art is drawn by Sonia Leong who normally works as a manga artist and draws all the art for the iHero books, even the covers. Manga art seems to look right with this as manga is a more recognized art form nowadays that young readers tend to love. It is done in a standard shojo or boy's manga style, and includes a deadly but handsome Count Doom in some of the interior art, the striking Muto, hairy werewolves, and a tavern with all sorts of creatures in it. The art is simplified, acting as a perfect compliment to a story written by the 2 Steves. These two are responsible for titles like; Skull Island, Tiger's Lair, Russian Gold, City of Terror, Vampire Hunter, Zombie Hunter, Demon Hunter and Alien Raid. They manage to grasp the reader's interest in the story, and it becomes essential that the reader gets to the end even if it isn't as easy as you might think - though what would be the point of it being so easy to get through?

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