Ballantine, £1.25, ISBN 0-345-33792-1
Rusty Hallock’s Jewels in the Dark is the first gamebook in the special Hasbro-licensed Jem series. If you have lived through the 1980s, you may recall Jem as the cartoon series featuring the goody-goody girl band Jem and the Holograms, with Jem being the holographic alter-ego of Jerrica Benton, the owner of Starlight Records. Their rival group is the Misfits. Also, the manager Rio will be involved in a love triangle of sorts with both Jem and Jerrica as the man is unaware that the two women is one and the same.
I am personally more of a fan of the Misfits as Jem and the Holograms personally make me gag with how disgustingly cloying and sweet they can be. In Jewels in the Dark, however, Jem becomes some sort of an adorable diva so, unlike my reaction to the cartoon series, I can’t help but to be amused here.
More like Choose Your Own Adventure than Fighting Fantasy, this one sees you playing Jem. You don’t have to keep track of scores or roll dice – all you need to do is to just turn the pages. Here, Jem is once again in the headlines because she gets to wear the genuine Langley Jewels as part of the publicity campaign of Mecca Jewelry to promote its new line based on the Langley Jewels. But when the Misfits crash your latest fabulous night out with the Jewels and the Jewels go missing, drama arises.
What I really like about this one is that you can actually make Jem deliver the verbal bitch slap to Pizazz and actually get away with it in style – Jem can be such a delicious bitch here and I love it. There are many ways the mystery can end on a… well, not so successful note, but the endings make me laugh. The writing is wry and even sarcastic at places, and I can only wish the cartoon is as enjoyably chi-chi as this gamebook.