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Spell of the Winter Wizard

Series: Endless Quest #11
Contained In: The Endless Quest Collectors Set #3 (Collection)
Translated Into: O encantamento do feiticeiro de Inverno (Portuguese)
Der Fluch des Winterzauberers (German)
Uoozun-jou no mahoutsukai [ウォーズン城の魔法使い] (Japanese)
Author: Lowery, Linda
Illustrators: Elmore, Larry (cover)
Busch, Jeffrey R. (interior)
Release Date: August, 1983
ISBN: 0880380543 / 9780880380546
Length:157 pages
Number of Endings:14
User Summary: You are Omina, the stepchild of the Wizard of Eternal Spring. When your ailing stepfather is captured by the Winter Wizard, you must find a cure for his illness and rescue him.
dArtagnan's Thoughts: Despite apparently being set in the standard Dungeons and Dragons world, most of the encounters in Spell of the Winter Wizard feel like they could have walked straight out of one of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. And since I was a huge fan of those as a child, I think this is no bad thing. Certainly the encounters with the obsessed lepidopterist and the disreputable alchemist stuck with me a lot more than most of the encounters in the other books of the series, and the level of wackiness makes this book a fun read. It also deserves points for giving the reader some tough decisions and allowing for quite a bit of variety in how the adventure turns out. The tone of the book is generally quite cheerful, even descending into soppiness at times, yet there are a few quite dark moments that take the reader by surprise. As is common for Endless Quest books, there is quite an emphasis on behaving morally though the book does sometimes let you off with acting in a cruel manner though scolds you for doing so. It's maybe a bit too easy to get to a successful ending, but there's enough replayability here to mean the reader won't feel too disappointed. Definitely worth a look.

More reviews by dArtagnan

Demian's Thoughts: This is a fairly challenging gamebook, with a less predictable solution than most of its predecessors. However, apart from taking a few reads to reach a happy ending, it's not all that engaging a book.

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Kveto's Thoughts: One of the first books not by Estes, you play a young girl, Omina, trying to save her step-father, the Spring Wizard Alcazar.

This book doesn't really take place in a recognizable D&D world. It feels more like Wonderland, with odd lepidopterists, talking butterflies, clams that were once ferrymen, etc. It feels a bit more juvenile than the others, but this isn't a bad thing. I often notice that some of these Endless Quest books don't seem like they were originally intended for D&D but for a more generic fantasy series. A nice benefit of playing a child is that you have to think your way out rather than fight.

More reviews by Kveto

utfanatic's Thoughts: This is my first read of a Linda Lowery book. Cover art by Elmore is excellent as usual, but the interior drawings from Busch range from poor to average at best. Dungeons and Dragons this is not. You play a young female, Omina, stepchild of Alcazar, a wizard kidnapped by Warzen, the Winter Wizard. Why Warzen has decided to kidnap Alcazar is not altogether clear, but then, does it really matter? Your task is made more difficult by the fact that Alcazar is ailing and will soon die if you aren't able to both free and heal him.

So then, off you go taking a fire poker and a magical whistle. Upon the way, you meet a moth, but no ordinary moth. If you are reader of Endless Quest, you of course have guessed by now that the moth can talk. That's right. There's also a talking reindeer who is really a cat. I'm beginning to think there is a quota of at least one talking animal per Endless Quest book.

But your task in this book is not just to rescue your stepfather, but also to learn the lessons of peace, love, and happiness. Choosing peace, compassion will always lead to success in this book as far as I found, while choosing cowardice or violence will not. However, keeping your word is not always the highest virtue in this book....Is this a positive or just pandering? I personally don't need any life lessons from a gamebook, but then, I'm not 8 anymore. There are no battles to speak of.

The writing is.... ok. Truly nothing special. The author has an occasional evocative turn of phrase in her, but is generally very simplistic in both description and narration. Pace is good and choices presented are solid, meaningful ones with real ramifications. There are a couple of somewhat memorable characters and encounters. Ability to backtrack is nil.

I found the book quite easy to complete in a number of different ways as long as you remember to repeat the mantra: choose peace, love, and compassion.

Very different Endless Quest book. A much softer, touchy feely read, which kept my attention well enough. If the mission was to interject a different, even softer perspective, mission accomplished. However, as a gamebook, it is merely average at best.

Rating 1-10: 5

More reviews by utfanatic

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Thanks to Jim Oaks for the image!