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Item - The Fireseed

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Series: Endless Quest — no. 30
Translated Into: En las entrañas del volcán (Spanish)
Author: Simon, Morris
Illustrators: Elmore, Larry (cover)
Butler, Jeffrey (Jeff) (interior)
Date: October, 1985
ISBN: 088038171X / 9780880381710
Length: 157 pages
Number of Endings: 15
User Summary: You are Davin Farold, a mercenary travelling home to prove your worth to a father who disapproves of your profession. Unfortunately, a decidedly purposeful storm gets in the way of all this, leaving you to a dangerous mission.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is a bit of an unusual story for the series; rather than having a more or less ineffectual child as the protagonist, the reader here gets to control a relatively competent teenaged warrior. The content of the story is similarly mature, being decidedly gruesome at quite a few points and avoiding the heavy-handed moralizing found in some of the early books in the series. As a result, this definitely feels a lot more like a "real" D&D adventure than most Endless Quest books do, and this makes it a fairly satisfying read. What prevents it from being a wonderful gamebook, however, is its very linear design. Most of the choices are of the "if you're right, you go on, if you're wrong, you die" variety, and those that aren't ultimately lead to the same places anyway.... This linearity works fine for telling the story, but there's only really one story getting told here, so it's not exactly a stand-out piece of interactive fiction. Also, while I'm complaining, I should point out that the main character has a beard in the text, but not in the illustrations. Oh well....

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish translation.)

Coming from such an uneven writer as Morris Simon, It's somewhat surprising this turns out to be one of the best Endless Quest books. The writing is quite good and the illustrations by Jeff Butler are top notch. The tropical island setting is reminiscent of the classic D&D module The Isle of Dread, appropriately mixed with touches of mythology and horror which work quite well to build up atmosphere. The character you get to play is a seasoned fighter instead of a crybaby, and the adventure has the feel of a full-fledged epic quest for once. As Demian and Kveto mention, there is only one path to complete victory, making the book feel quite linear. Still, the choices require careful thought and reaching the conclusion can take quite a few tries. Moreover, even the bad endings make for interesting reading. Definitely a recommended read if you can find it (later Endless Quest entries seem quite difficult to find nowadays, at least in their original English versions).

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Kveto's Thoughts:

This one is quite different from previous books, starting with the title. Almost all of the other books contain combinations of words (Mountain of Mirrors, Raid on Nightmare Castle, etc). Another offering from Morris Simon, who wrote the very martial Blade of the Young Samurai previously. He continues with his theme of adult protagonists, for in this book you play Davin Farold, an experienced fighter. I've noticed that the books are moving away from young protagonists; I wonder if this is in response to feedback. I tended to like playing young kids as they were more relatable to me.

This book has a very Polynesian/South Seas flavour, as you are shipwrecked on an island and get wrapped up in a prophecy that centers on a wizard who had battled one of your ancestors. It's very much a "buddy" type adventure as one of the islanders accompanies you.

It took me several tries to get through, although the book is fairly linear. Sometimes, it feels that some Endless Quests were originally intended to be novels and were changed to fit the format. I'm not saying that is the case here as Simon has written several other books in this genre, but sometimes it feels that way. Interestingly, the shade, the bad guy, tries to help you along in the adventure because he wants you to fulfill the prophecy.

Overall, a very readable entry.

More reviews by Kveto

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