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Item - Dragon of Doom

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Online Full Text: Internet Archive
Series: Endless Quest — no. 13
Contained In: The Endless Quest Collectors Set #4 (Collection)
Translated Into: Die Burg des schwarzen Drachen (German)
Dragão da maldição (Portuguese)
El dragón negro (Spanish)
Author: Estes, Rose
Illustrators: Caldwell, Clyde (cover)
Quinn, Harry J. (interior)
Date: November, 1983
ISBN: 0880381000 / 9780880381000
Length: 157 pages
Number of Endings: 13
User Summary: You are Morgan, a young magic user. When you and your pseudo-dragon companion are sent to release your uncle from a 900-year exile, you discover that he plots to destroy the world with the help of an ancient dragon.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is a satisfying read; it manages to give at least a little bit of the feel of an epic fantasy in its relatively few pages.

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Kveto's Thoughts:

In Rose Estes' final book of the series as far as I know, she tries to go out on a somewhat epic tone. You play Morgan, a young mage appointed by a council of magicians to welcome your uncle Zed, a powerful mage. Zed plans to summon Shen, a powerful black dragon.

This book is alright. It has two main paths, one of which will get you a love interest. It's not particularly memorable, but can have a final scene that feels like the film Dragonslayer. The cover art by Larry Elmore is typically awesome.

The annoying talking animal in this one is a pseudo-dragon, a tiny dragon, and I have no idea how you can have a 900+ year old uncle.

Not the best book for Estes to go out on.

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Shadeheart's Thoughts:

[Rating: 7/10]
[Recommended? YES]

The "Endless Quest" series strikes ferociously with perhaps its strongest entry in "Dragon of Doom". Equal parts entertaining and atmospheric, the author - honoring the source material while making it distinctive enough of an original standalone to be universally enjoyable - deserves praise for rising to the occasion here in many senses of the phrase. Though the book could've fared better as either a more straightforward epic fantasy journey OR as a gamebook with a combat system (rather than the choice-making "gameplay"), this is a title that exemplifies the best of these books. Morgan (the clumsy protagonist) and Hinoki (the pseudo-dragon friend) make for an outstanding duo with excellent dialogue and consideration poured into their development; the atmosphere and overall chemistry between scenes and those within them are brilliantly played out quite often. Impressively, there's a real depth behind much of the story, and the immersive engagement with themes and ideas is done on a rather competent level.

Excellent handling of humor, characters, scenes, tone, narrative - you name it, it's here and done to near perfection. The author deserves praise for honoring the source material while innovating, making a unique, engaging and pressing storytelling endeavor out of its concept; even though the emotional weight of several endings feel partially rushed (seriously, a longer, more straightforward treatment could've drawn out sequences for maximum effect). A seriously imaginative development in worldbuilding is also present regarding the dragons - innovative as a conceptual concept, open-ended for consideration... and rarely glimpsed in fantasy in this sense during a quest of this kind. Well-rounded and thought through, the experience has a high replay value as a bonus, considering its many paths and evocative decision-making opportunities. Within my endless love of fantasy, this gamebook quest, considering my recommendation standards, is a worthy-enough legend that SHALL pass. ^^

(Mysteriously disappears into the shadows.)

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utfanatic's Thoughts:

Not a bad Endless Quest book, but I'm getting a little tired of the same old "Child out to rescue a loved one" angles. This time however, you are sent to greet your uncle who has been trapped for nearly a millennium. Turns out this uncle is currently up to no good though. A number of questions arose in my mind early on:

Why would the Council of Nine be planning a huge celebration for someone banned for 999 years for using forbidden magic?

Why would they not give you a map to find the location of this mountain?

The text says that your pseudo dragon looks like a miniature red dragon, but is green on the front cover. Other than this mistake, the cover art by Clyde Caldwell is tremendous. Unfortunately, the interior art by Harry Quin is amateurish and not up to par.

The writing is fairly typical of Estes, average to slightly above. Descriptions of the setting are generally lacking and at times, entire days are skipped over. She doesn't really envelop you in the world, but instead concentrates on character dialogue, which is poor to average. Pacing is pretty poor, with the author taking a long time to describe things in a mediocre fashion that shouldn't take nearly as long. The writing shines when the author is describing the Dragon of Doom. There is plenty of moralizing, naturally, and once again, an animal that speaks to your character, this time it's a pseudodragon.

Efforts at battle encounters are weak, with silly resolutions.

Replayability is high, with vastly disparate paths you can take. I suppose I chose quite an easy path the first time and completed the quest quickly and with ease. Ability to backtrack occurs at times, and the author goes on for pages and pages without offering a choice at other times. Not as bad as in Mountain of Mirrors, but at times, you are reading a novella.

I was disappointed by this book, having expected more out of it.

Rating 1-10: 5.5

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Users with Extra Copies: Blame it on Rio
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