Are you ready to have fun? Are you ready to save the world? Are you ready to eat Chimichangas? Then you are ready to read You Are (NOT) Deadpool, from the Marvel Multiverse Missions novel series from Aconyte Books!
Tim Dedopulos takes the choose-your-own-adventure model to the next level in this book and it’s definitely an improvement on the genre. I read choose-your-own books as a kid and I liked them, but it was never like this. Strap in and read on for my experience with my advance copy of You Are (NOT) Deadpool.
[Warning: My review of You Are (NOT) Deadpool by Tim Dedopulos may contain some spoilers!]
Is it a book, or a game?
Dedopulos calls his creation a gamebook and it lives up to the description. Instead of just choosing between two different actions at the end of each section, Dedopulos incorporates dice rolls, attributes, and items into the process. Your choices affect each of these aspects and in turn, each of these aspects affects the choices that can be made as you read. It adds a bit of je ne sais quois to the experience that really takes it to the next level. It also caused me to really think about my choices. Should I take the FBI badge or the security badge? Will it be more helpful to increase my MERC or my MOUTH? Do I really want Deadpool to eat that many Chimichangas?
The author takes a minute at the beginning of the book to explain how to properly play the game. He suggests having a pad of paper and pencil in addition to a set of dice. I was reading on an e-reader and found opening a note and a die roller app easier.
You absolutely cannot read this book properly without some way to keep track of all your attributes and the different items that you gain along the way. It might be tempting to say “that sounds like a lot of work, I’ll just do what I want” but that would be a mistake. It really wasn’t that difficult to keep track of things and it completely upped my investment in the game and the outcome. I don’t think the story would be nearly as engaging if you skipped the gameplay and just read it as a normal choose-your-own-adventure.
You Are (Not) Deadpool: it’s a game
The items and attributes are extremely important to the game. Having the right item at the right time can make things infinitely easier for you. Of course, knowing which items are going to be the most valuable can be very tricky.
You can only carry a maximum of five items at a time but there are hundreds of items in the book so decisions must be made. I started off spending ages agonizing about what to keep at first but as I read the book I realized that true to Deadpool’s vibe, which items are most helpful at a particular time is very hard to intuit, i.e. they didn’t always make sense. Once I realized this I became more nonchalant about what I kept or threw away and that part flowed better.
The attributes made gameplay more interesting by affecting the values of the dice rolls. There are three main attributes: Merc, Mouth, and Focus that are the most important. They are constantly being affected by choices and events in the story. And as they go up and down that affects the outcomes and choice selection.
Then there are the lesser attributes, of which there are dozens ranging from dragon fire to terrifying weasel. Some of these end up really affecting the story, others don’t seem to have a real impact. Of course, what’s most likely is they all have an effect somewhere and I just didn’t happen to read through where they did. There’s always next time! Either way, it was fun collecting them and laughing at some of their odd titles.
Then there are the dice, total chance thrown in the mix, and messing with all your best-laid plans. It adds a sense of excitement to the story as you can’t be quite sure what will happen. I have my MERC pretty high but what if I only roll a one?! Will Deadpool win enough rounds to win the fight? Only the dice know!
Don’t forget the achievements!
You are (Not) Deadpool even has achievements for readers who grew up with achievement-awarding video games and need that validation. In the back of the book, there’s a list of twenty-nine achievements and sixteen super-achievements that can be checked off. Achievements are obtained by simply acting out certain scenes. Super-achievements are earned by finishing the game with different attribute levels or certain items. The achievements also add to the replay value. I mean, once I’m shown a list of different things to do, I want to do them all!
You Are (Not) Deadpool is still a book
There are over a dozen distinct endings but literally thousands of ways to reach them, making each play-through a unique experience. I read through it five different times and each time it was a completely different story even if a few scenes were the same.
I would give it a very high re-readability. As I said, I’ve read it five times already but I still want to read through it more. I know I haven’t uncovered all of the different situations yet. The fact that I want to try speaks to Dedopulos’s writing ability. The different scenes are interesting and engaging. I really wanted to save the day. And I want to see all the different ways that I can do it.
Deadpool’s signature sarcastic style was on display throughout. The story was exciting but it was also funny. The scenarios were often a little absurd but that fits with Deadpool’s zany energy. The dialogue was often silly but it didn’t feel stupid, which is an important distinction. Overall Dedopulos captures the essence of Deadpool and writes a fun story worthy of the anti-hero.
You Are (NOT) Deadpool has a very broad appeal. If you like Deadpool you’ll enjoy the chance to be his sidekick. If you enjoy games that you can play on your own, play away. If you like books that can be read over and over, start reading. If you like interesting stories with surprising twists, have at it.
Basically, anyone can enjoy this book. Sometimes Deadpool can be a little grotesque but Tim Dedopulos manages to keep the book more PG-13 than R and that’s nice. It allows everyone to come to the party and hang out with Deadpool. Just remember, no matter how many times you save the world, You are (NOT) Deadpool!
You are (Not) Deadpool by Tim Dedopulos is available now on e-books and for pre-order of the physical copy (available July 19) on Amazon and other booksellers now! For more information about the book and other works by Aconyte, visit this site.
What are your thoughts on this exciting new book from Aconyte? Let us know in the comments or over on Twitter! And if you haven’t already, check out my latest book review of Barry Lyga’s Thanos: Titan Consumed!