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Who is the author behind the innovative GameTales? Meet Nikola Raykov!

Game Tale

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Game Tale

Yaga's Valley

(this review is a translation from Bulgarian)
(original review can be found here)

Game or a Tale?

Do you remember gamebooks? The enchanting (my fingers are itching to write “epic”) adventures, the furious leafing through the pages, the occasional tiny cheats (because when you go to section 43, your character dies, grrr!), and so on and so on. Back and forth. So many sweet memories that I thought my children would never live to have .... They surged over me shortly before we launched this site, just as I was wondering what I should do and if there’s any point in putting it up. Signs come from the most unexpected places. :) I accidentally bumped into a Facebook link to a book. A children’s book. I clicked on it, mildly curious, completely ignorant about what I was getting into. Then Yaga skipped, laughed, spun, and went into ecstasies, because the book turned out to be a GameTale!!! What’s more, featuring a little gremlin (they’re close buddies with trolls, and often confused with them :D), a map (just as Yaga was working on hers), and adventures (exactly!). The honeypot got sweeter when I found out that the author was a Bulgarian and the story had been written specifically for young children. Needless to say, I ordered it immediately, on the spot, and drummed my fingers in anticipation.

Yaga and The Big Adventure of the Little Gremlin

Do you know how my affair with almost any purchased book starts? I order, I receive a neat parcel, I open it and ... stroke the cover thoughtfully. I leaf through the book very carefully and bury my witchy nose into the pages. I don’t think there’s any other aroma like that! Paper, glue, ink, printshop, magical, enchanting, bewitching. And it can happen only once, during a single moment with the new roommate. Yes, it does sound like falling in love, and for the most part it is. :)


However, with this book, we had a virtual date beforehand. It wasn’t like the others. I find the others in online bookstores, browsing by author, genre, or publisher, I read a synopsis or two (or none), I order. At this GameTale’s website, I could feel the spirit of the story, of Nikola Raykov (the book’s dad rather than author), and of all the critters inside.

Everyone can browse The Big Adventure for free. Yes, you can. Because there’re still people who believe in certain “trivial” principles such as free sharing, access for those who cannot afford a product, mutual support. Such people do exist, what do you know! That was enough for me to fall in love with everything related to Gremmy and to discover which illustration shows my animal self.

By the way, Nikola Raykov lives with his family in a small village, which fills me with good-natured envy and a little anger that my own family is not ready to take this step. Not yet.

The Big Adventure of the Little Gremlin arrived to Yaga’s house quick as a bolt. A deluxe edition with hard covers, glossy pages, and splendid illustrations. And the aroma, oh my! I seldom kick against giving a children’s book to the trolls. This one, however, I wanted all for myself, and I jealously stared at them leafing through it. I somehow vanquished my urges and started reading it aloud...

Do you know the first words that come to me if I try to explain how Nikola Raykov writes? A children’s Terry Pratchett. That says it all. The elder troll guffawed at certain passages, I did at others. Whatever I write here, it will sound too boring to do justice to the gigafun (I mean, terafun!) of holding this gem in your hands. Puzzles, riddles, adventures by the spate. Unique children’s humor. Pawsies, eyesies, tail disagreeing with one another. Ideas about important things from the world around us. Travels, meetings, partings. Insights into even more important things from the world inside us. And every time, something new and something different. Because it’s a game! The book concludes with useful guidelines about getting fully immersed in this reality and making the most out of it. If you haven’t already, that is. There’s also a secret code, which leads to a magical place in Gremmy’s website, full of wonderful surprises. The secret code is .... Shall I tell you? The secret code is ... written on the last page of the book. :)


I don’t write book reviews. And usually I don’t recommend books. I don’t see myself as an authority, and I believe that my experiences with the written word are too personal and intimate. Yet, friends .... Here’s a book that I’d give you for each of your birthdays all the way to the 100th one. Its characters don’t show to adults the lessons that children see. They make us smile! Something that we seem to be doing ever more rarely. So have a smile HERE!


I’ll wrap this up with two lines from The Big Adventure:

“Oh, fruit in a jar!” the gremlin exclaimed happily.
“Oh, a gremlin!” the fruit-in-a-jar exclaimed happily.

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