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Item - Return to Brookmere

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(Seventh printing)

Combined Summary

Online Full Text: Internet Archive (Fifth printing)
Series: Endless Quest — no. 4
Contained In: The Endless Quest Collectors Set #1 (Collection)
Translated Into: Erufu no shiro o torimodose [エルフの城をとりもどせ] (Japanese)
Regresso a Brookmere (Portuguese)
Retorno a Brookmere (Spanish)
Retour à Ruisselec (French)
Ritorno a Brookmere (Italian)
Das singende Amulett (German)
Zavrushtane v Brukmiur [Завръщане в Брукмиър] (Bulgarian)
Author: Estes, Rose
Illustrators: Elmore, Larry (cover)
Truman, Timothy (Tim) (interior)
Dates: June, 1982 (First printing)
July, 1982 (Second printing)
March, 1983 (Fifth printing)
ISBN: 0935696938 / 9780935696936
Length: 153 pages
Number of Endings: 12
auximenes's Thoughts:

Return to Brookmere has many parallels to the previous book in the series, Pillars of Pentegarn. Both stories concern a youthful protagonist returning to a homeland that has been overrun by the forces of evil. Pillars of Pentegarn had many endings ranging from death, to "you failed but hope one day to try again", and winning endings whereby the evil is defeated. Unfortunately, the best endings of Brookmere never rise above "you've gained a lot of information to bring back to your people in order to plan a reconquest". The main villain, Frang the wererat, is seen once from a distance, and never confronted or defeated, leaving one to wonder if a sequel was ever planned. Pillars of Pentegarn had fun side-kicks in Fox and Owl. In Return to Brookmere you are accompanied by an annoying, fussy, talking amulet that casts spells. The interior art is only adequate, and even Larry Elmore's cover art fails to impress much. This novel is a step-down from its predecessor and gets 2 out of 5 stars.

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Demian's Thoughts:

This is a very entertaining book, with some interesting creatures and a variety of strange areas to explore.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

In this book you play Brion, an Elven fighter who must escape from his former home, which was taken over by orcs, goblins, kobolds and others.

Thematically this one is similar to the first book, Dungeon of Dread, in that it is basically a solo dungeon crawl with lots of fighting. However it is better than Dungeon. There is no "win" ending; basically, you succeed if you escape the lair in any way. As a kid I was surprised because, although you see the "big boss," a were-rat named Frang, there is no way to encounter and fight him, which I appreciate as an adult.

Although many of the encounters are "fight or don't fight," there are some good character sequences, giving personality to some monsters. You can help a hill giant cheat at bowling, or meet a kobold with a cold or even some naughty goblin and kobold children. However, the hero is almost too tough in some of these battles.

The most interesting thread is one that takes you to a touching sequence where a creature is waiting for his master to awaken only to learn that he is dead.

Your companion this journey is a magic necklace called Mim, which is less annoying than most sidekicks. The artwork is of course fantastic. In fact, the Gnoll chieftain picture is iconic of Gnolls.

Overall, better than Dungeon of Dread but not as good as Pillars of Pentegarn.

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noonxnoon's Thoughts:

This has to be my favorite in the Endless Quest series.

I remember as a kid being so absorbed into the story and reading & rereading this book for hours on end.

As another reviewer mentioned, this does have a few occasions of multiple pages to read before you get a choice... but the story is so well done, I didn't find it a punishment.

One of the cool things that I liked was that you could disguise yourself as one of the bad guys and try to bluff your way past various guards... but you can find yourself at risk with the good guys thinking you are a bad guy!

I am mixed on the amulet... while it is an annoying 'buddy,' it at least could give advice or do some other trick to assist you in your travels.

There were some wild concepts in the book... such as the 'servant' that has been watching over his master... but doesn't realize that his master who he thinks is sleeping is actually dead...

There are many 'classic' D&D monsters such as gelatinous cubes, green slime, kobolds, hobgoblins, gnolls... and being heavily interested in D&D at the time, this really added to the enjoyment. (yeah, I know... these are D&D game books, but this book did seem more connected to the actual game).

I certainly enjoyed this book and do regard it as one of the best game books out there.

Larry Elmore's covers are really astonishing, and TSR had to have known his cover art sold a lot of books!

Tim Truman's interior drawings were fantastic, added to the enjoyment of the book, and were thankfully quite plentiful.

As an 'adult,' rereading this book now was a bit difficult to get re-absorbed into it, but it brought back a lot of memories, good & bad, and I highly recommend it.

One odd note... the German version calls the book, "The Singing Amulet," which I find a bit strange!

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utfanatic's Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book. Rose Estes seems to be hitting her stride in this series, and Tim Truman's interior illustrations are the best of books 1-4 in my estimation.

There is some return to the practice in book 2 of going long stretches without choices being made available, but it's not as bad here as in book 2.

Great backstory, decent characterization, nice pacing, and yes... another talking animal, this time a pet weasel. There are some neat ideas in this book, including a very dangerous door.....

Choices are generally meaningful and there are options to return to previous passages to make different choices. The book can be completed without having to fight a single battle, which is good because battles are the weak point in Endless Quest.

Rating 1-10: 7

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