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Stormslayer

Series: Fighting Fantasy Reissues (Series 2) #4
Alternate Title: Eye of the Storm (working title)
Author: Green, Jonathan
Illustrator: Player, Stephen
Release Date: September 3, 2009
ISBN: 1848310781 / 9781848310780
Length:400 sections
User Summary: When an ice elemental attacks Tannatown out of the blue, you, the local hero, vow to find out why.
Fireguard's Thoughts: Jonathan Green is one of my favorite Fighting Fantasy authors, and I was looking forward to seeing what he produced after Howl of the Werewolf, which is quite possibly the best Fighting Fantasy book out there. I don't think any FF will ever top Howl of the Werewolf, but Stormslayer reminds me my why I'm a fan of the author.

Stormslayer manages to capture a nice classic RPG kind of feel, with you on a quest to assemble a number of magical aids to topple the current all-powerful madman. While using the elements of nature as a theme is a bit overdone in my opinion, the book's writing is solid, the pacing decent and aside from handicaps imposed by low rolls during character creation, the book on the whole isn't overly challenging. Most of the settings were interesting and memorable. I especially enjoyed sneaking around the villain's ship at the end sabotaging bits of it until I managed to get his attention, and I liked how having a sidekick was implemented during the "earth" part of the quest.

The book introduces two previously unseen mechanics to the series (at least unseen to me, as most books in the new series have this first one), the first of which is three pregenerated characters in the back if you don't feel like rolling up one of your own. It's not a bad feature, although I've yet to actually feel like using it since I've spent twenty years rolling up a new character every time I play one of these books (unlike in say Swordquest, where rolling up your own character is possible, but the books are geared toward using the one they give you).

The second is keeping track of the day of the week. Unlike in some books where you have x-amount of days to find the villain before he becomes unbeatable, the reason this time is monsters of elemental types are slightly more powerful on the day matching their theme. I suppose it's a clever idea, but I've read the book three times and I think the day and the monster I was fighting may have synched up all of once. I wasn't even making a point to stay away from the volcano until Fireday was over or anything.

A lesser gripe stems from the fact that because a lot of the monsters are elemental creatures, the book starts you off with a magic weapon to sidestep any of those lame "without a magic weapon you cannot harm the creature and your quest ends here" jobbies. It specifically gives bonuses against dragon-type enemies. As this is your default weapon you never lose and the first time in Fighting Fantasy such a thing's been done, however, it would've been nice to have a little reminder against appropriate enemies, of which there are four or five scattered throughout the book. Again, after twenty years of my starting equipment aside from money and food rarely requiring special attention, it's a little jarring.

So while I wouldn't exactly call it a home run, Stormslayer is still well worth reading for anyone who likes Fighting Fantasy.

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Special Thanks:Thanks to Fireguard for the plot summary.
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