A Perfect Cliche Storm: Let's Read Adventurers Wanted

Freezair For A Limited Time

Bonus Material Part 1: The Reading Guide

Before I get into this, I would like to inform you all of the contents of the page immediately before the guide.

Side the First:

The adventure continues with Book Two

The Horn of Moran

Coming Spring 2010

You can make all the jokes about "The Horn of Moran" that you want, people. Personally, I think as far as titles go, it speaks for itself.

On the other side, we get a bunch of lovely advertising guff:

Do you have the courage, the wits, and the skill to become an adventurer?

If so apply online at


Considering that the answers to the above for Alex were (respectively) "No," "No," and "No," I'm guessing I make the cut easily.

* Fill out an Adventurer's application

Admittedly, I could use the cash.

* Nominate Slathbog's Gold for Book of the Year in your state

...No comment.

* Play games

Can you spot the number of poor storytelling choices made in this chapter, kids?

* Access bonus material

If this book were a DVD, I imagine it'd be the kind that considers "interactive menus" to be bonus material.

Request M.L. Forman to come to your school

I don't imagine he's been asked out much. I sorta feel bad for the guy.


If that sign only gets seen once every thousand few years, I don't imagine as such.

But enough of this nonsense: How about the actual guide?

The Reading Guide

The pre-fab reading guide seems to be a relatively common trend in kid's/YA books as of late, and I can't quite say why. I first noticed it in the first Fablehaven book, and since then, it's been popping up in the back of numerous books with an odd regularity. Even those that, within themselves, make absolutely no attempt to be "educational." Perhaps an attempt to appease the Moral Guardians, worried that their child has picked up another one of them thur Say-tantic books. Or maybe it's the publishers, panicking that kids are just reading for fun. We can't have reading being fun, after all! I don't know who came up with them and I don't know who's stuck writing 'em, but whoever he/she is, they don't pay him/her enough.

They're out-of-place in other books, and downright inappropriate in this one. But is that going to stop me from doing it? Heck no! That's what I'm here for.

With the possible exception of typoes (accidentally inserted by my fat fingers), these are all copied verbatim from the back of the book. I have, however, answered them in my own... "unique" fashion.

1. At the beginning of the story, Alex wishes for a different life. Have you ever wished for a different life? Have you ever wished that you could be somebody else? Who would you like to be?

I wish I could be a widely successful children's fantasy novelist who is renowed the world over for writing books that are far better than this dreck. Somewhat less egotistically, I also wish I could be somebody who didn't think it was a great idea to sarcastically summarize horrible books in the name of a laugh, because then I would have more free time.

2. If you suddenly had a chance to go on a great adventure like Alex, would you go? Would you be afraid? Would you want to take someone with you? Who?

I've already been on an adventure! I took with me Chet. Chet is a Level 100 Mewtwo. Any and all discussions involving "fear" at that point become pretty moot.

3. Arconn tells Alex that if he doesn't go on the adventure he will regret it for the rest of his life. Why do you think he would regret it? Are there things in life you regret not doing? How about things that you have done that you regret now?

Beats me. Despite what Shoulder Moodring Narrator told me, I couldn't really sense the "happiness" coming from Alex. I suspect this was a pretty neutral event. As for regrets? I regret not spending nine bucks of my trade-in credit on this book. What I do regret doing should be obvious.

4. Early in the story, Andy is warned to be careful of his curiosity. Why should we be careful of our own curiosity? Are there things you are curious about that might be dangerous to know?

If we get curious, we'll start making scientific progress and discoveries! And, as we all know, Science Is Evil. As for the second question, not since the WikiLeaks fiasco.

5. Alex is told that where there is power there is also accountability. What kinds of things in your world could be considered power? What kind of accountability is there for the powers you've been given?

Well, there was this one time I was bitten by a radioactive spider...

6. It takes a long time for Alex to really believe in magic. Are there things in your world that you find hard to believe? Are there things you believe in now that you didn't when you first learned about them?

A long time? Really? By my accounts, it took only like four or five chapters. I find it hard to believe that this question was written by someone who actually read the material.

7. When Alex fights the three-legged troll everything turns out well, but he is still punished. Is it fair for Alex do be so punished? Have you ever broken rules to do something you know was right?

If you can call Olaf's waffly treatment "punishment," then hell yes, the inexperienced little upstart deserved to be punished! Getting yourself killed won't do anyone any good, son! Also, I'm probably violating copyright law by copying these questions exactly, but the stupidity of this section must be exposed. For the greater good!

8. Iownan tells Alex that she can only see possibilities. Do your friends and families sometimes see your possibilities better than you do?

My families see the possibility of me being asleep right now, but they're totally wrong about that.

9. Iownan asks each of the adventurers to promise to return the lost crystal of the tower to her. Why do you think Iownan would make that request? Have you ever had to keep a promise that somebody else made?

Because Iownan's favorite poem is, "Circle circle, square square, now you've made a Pinky Swear."

10. Eric Von Tealo can only give his word that the story he told the adventurers is true. Would the people who know you be willing to accept your word? How important is it to have a reputation for being honest?

Do you accept my word that this story is awful? Good! Having a reputation for honesty is important because it's your reputation. So long as you've got good PR, you can say anything you damn well please and people will eat it right up!

11. When Alex faces the wraiths at the ruins of Aunk he is tempted to do what they say. Have you ever been tempted by someone? Have you ever been tempted by something you wanted?

Well, I finished this liveblog after all, didn't I?

12. The wraiths tell Alex that they are his friends, and that they will help him become great if he helps them first. Has anyone ever promised to be your friend if you promised to help them first? Are they still your friend?

What I want to know is, why is Iownan somehow more trustworthy than these guys? I mean, what proof did she offer that the crystal was actually hers? Maybe it really belonged to them, and she planned to take it from them to take over the world! Ever think about that?

13. Alex crosses the wall into the dangerous shadow lands to help his friend Tayo. How far would you be willing to go to help your friends? How far would your friends go to help you? Should there be a limit to how far you go?

OK, now I know you didn't actually read the book. He didn't go over it, he went beside it! And I think sparing my friends the horror of having to read this for themselves to find out how bad it is counts as a pretty big favor. ...And I swear my answer to the next question will not be in the form of a "Durr hurr Eye red dis buk 4 u" joke.

14. On the journey home, Alex and his friends take the time to remember Eric Von Tealo. They make sure that his grave is marked and that his name is remembered. How important is it to remember people who have helped you? If the people who helped you aren't around any more, is it still important to remember them? Why?

Ahhh, Cousin Peter. Thank you so much for instilling a lifelong love of comedy and geekery in me when I was but a wee tot. Too bad you aren't around anymore... ...because you moved to Phoenix. *sniff* I'll always miss you! Even if you are only two hours away!

15. When Alex returns home he is surprised to discover that his own father was once and adventurer. Have you ever discovered things about your parents that surprised you? Have you ever tried to find out about the things your parents did when they were your age?

When it comes to things my parents did when they were "my age," the "Clapping Restaurant" story gets toted out at every family gathering, so I didn't have to ask. But things about them that "surprised me?" Let's not go there.

16. Arconn tells Alex that words have power. Word can sometimes hurt us, and sometimes words can make us feel good. How do you use your words? Have you ever hurt someone with your words?

M.L. Forman, if you're reading this right now, I want you to know that I hold no ill will towards you as a person, and I'm sure you're a perfectly nice and friendly guy when you're not writing things like... well, things like this. And I pray that you don't take this too seriously, so hopefully, no hurt will be done. ...I hope.

(Also, hello question tacked carelessly on to the end thar.)

17. How is reading a book like going on an adventure? How many book adventures have you been on? What have you learned from your adventures?

Muddafugga! I've written books! Three of them! Three! You and your narmy-eyed "Golly gee ain't reading swell" stuff can't touch me!

Now that we've had that lovely discussion, class, your homework is to actually go to the listed website and give me a report on your findings. Length is no issue! A paragraph will do so long as it's informative. You have the rest of the week! See you on Monday!

And that's the last of the content specifically in the book itself. The rest of the liveblog will be dedicated solely to the (seriousface, so leave now if that stuff bores you) disassembly and Deconstruction of the book itself. Here be essays.


Oh man, the reading guide. I didn't think this book could go from just plain mbad to smarmy and self-serving, but it somehow managed it! Good on you for hitting it with both barrels. :D

And I'm looking forward to the essays, myself. I enjoy picking things apart (whether they be computer programs, electronic gear or writing), so it should be interesting.
lee4hmz 23rd Feb 11
<i>Nominate Slathbog's Gold for Book of the Year in your state</i>

Now that's brazen.

The questions in the reading guide are just sad. They sound really condescending, and also very generic, the sort of questions you could ask about practically any book. It's not like this book sounds like it hits on any important life themes or anything, and the guide is trying to make it sound like a big deal, like "you could apply this to your life!"

Looking forward to the essays!
BonsaiForest 23rd Feb 11