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Item - Song of the Dark Druid

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Series: Endless Quest — no. 36
Translated Into: El cántico del druida (Spanish)
Author: Sherman, Josepha
Illustrators: Easley, Jeff (cover)
Holloway, James (Jim) (interior)
Date: March, 1987
ISBN: 0880384425 / 9780880384421
Length: 157 pages
Number of Endings: 20
User Summary: As a young bard-wannabe, you must help release Liliel, queen of the faerie folk, from a trap set by a corrupt and powerful druid.
Demian's Thoughts:

I wasn't too impressed by this book. It doesn't feel like the D&D game at all, being solidly based on British folklore and lacking the familiar spells, monsters or items that flavor most of the other D&D-based entries in the series. While the writing is adequate, the game design is a bit on the dull side. There are lots of choices, and not too much wait between them, but when they arrive, the decisions are, for the most part, rather obvious. There's never much sense of challenge or danger, so the story never becomes terribly engaging. All in all, this wasn't the best note to end a series on, though this was only a temporary ending thanks to the nineties revival. The original format of the series was also used for a few more months in the Lazer Tag Adventures line.

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Fireguard's Thoughts:

Despite Demian's warnings I came into this book thinking it couldn't be all bad.

It is.

Song of the Dark Druid suffers from boring characterization and settings and sometimes the stretches of text between choices were so brief I had to check and make sure I wasn't reading one of the entries in the Which Way Books series. And once again I'm controlling some kid with barely any useful abilities. Why? You can skip this without regret.

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Guillermo's Thoughts:

(Review based on the Spanish translation).

Having reread this book recently, I will offer a more nuanced opinion than other reviewers. The setting does actually have a bit of a D&D flavour to it, and I liked the fact that it was mixed with creatures from British folklore (such as the afanc or the fachan). I also enjoyed the opportunity of playing a bard who has to use wit instead of brute force to deal with situations, which is something not many gamebooks afford the reader. Like some other Endless Quest books, it also has an inspirational message which I enjoyed when I first read it.

The above being said, the book unfortunately does have serious flaws as well. The writing is fairly clumsy and the gameplay is so filled with cliches that faithful Endless Quest readers will by this point have little trouble figuring out how to solve the quest. The book is far from terrible but it definitely ranks on the lower middle part of the scale among Endless Quest entries. If you are interested in this type of setting I recommend more strongly The Goblin King in the Twisted Journeys series, which does a better job on many fronts.

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