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Baldur's Gate: A Novelization Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1999

2.5 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Forgotten Realms: Computer Tie-In Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786915250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786915255
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,274,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
If only I had read these reviews before purchasing this book, I could get back those few hours of my life and spend them doing something more enjoyable, such as running naked through a field brambles.

This was bad, bad, bad. There were times when I honestly thought that the author was a fourteen-year-old boy for whom English was, at best, a second language. There were random words throughout the text that made no sense. I thought that perhaps they could be strung together to spell out some sort of hidden message, but I stopped after I reached three pages' worth.

I get the impression that the author was kept to a strict word count on this book. His treatment of characters, particularly the relationship between Abdel and Jaheira, is astoundingly juvenile. Abdel somehow manages to be simultaneously too evil to be a hero and yet not evil enough to be an antihero. By the end, I didn't care if he succeeded or was redeemed, I just wanted it to end. And when it did, it was as though he had reached the word limit and clicked "Send" without another thought. I think the game itself had more of an epilogue.

Why did I keep reading it? It was kind of like a bad car wreck or a fat person on a minibike--I just couldn't look away, but when it was over, I felt ashamed for having looked.

Don't make the same mistake I did. If you were trapped on a deserted island with only this book for entertainment, write your own book in the sand. You can always use the pages of this one for toilet paper.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I will tell you up front, I went in knowing the book was bad so had low expectations. Those expectations were not met. I would not, could not believe how bad it was. The book fails as both a novelization of the computer game, and as a story.
First, I didn't expect the book to be all that close to my own adventures in the game. Obviously the game is too big. However the author kills the NPCs twice. First with character assasination, the characters in the book do not resemble the characters in the games one bit. Secondly literally killing them, it is almost a revolving door. Join the hero's party, die, next NPC please.
As a story it is truly, truly awful. Even given the level of gaming franchise fiction this is a low water mark. The most well developed character Abdel is barely two-dimensional if that. We see virtually no struggle with his legacy. It is magically overcome by the love of a woman. The plot is a mess as Abdel runs from location to location without reason. The background is almost totally left out. Our heroes run off to places because one line of explanation is given that there might be something in the next location.

At 250 pages this is not that short a novel. Some exposition could have been given rather than run from one fight to the next. Now Eddings in his Belgariad/Mallorean takes a lot of heat for the plot essentially being location to location to location. The way Edding's does it though appears masterful compared to Athans. After 250 pages what we have learned about most of the characters is they are dead, Jaheira lacks morals and Abdel is boring.
Even Robert Howard's Conan stories have more depth to them and they are pure hack and slash.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
After seeing several high-rated reviews, where the reviewer grilled the majority who gave the book a measly 1 star, I am here to grill the minority who thinks the book is awesome.
Someone said that it was trying to be 'original.' My retort, YOU DON'T TRY TO BE ORIGINAL WHEN YOU ARE MAKING A CONVERSION! You try to follow the original storyline. Might make a tiny change here and there, or fill in the blanks, but you DO NOT REWRITE THE STORY.
Only the basic skeleton of the plot of the game-story is left in the book. Practically everything else is changed. Character personalities are changed, the main character's level of experience is changed, etc. In the book, Jaheira acts pathetically, I only saw her 'true' personality (the one from the game) appear once in this book. At all other times she just acts the role of screaming chick.
First off, in the game she is more mature, and very strong-willed. Not so in the game, her husband gets killed by Abdel, and then after being a little weepy she decides to, effectively, become Abdel's girlfriend.
Pure balderdash! If her real personality were in effect, Abdel would have died a slow, painful death the instant he killed her husband.
And THAT is only ONE of the problems with the book... GRRRR!!!!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It neither works as good fantasy fiction for the casual fantasy enthusiast, nor does it utilize the pre-existing environments/story/characters in Bioware's BG game to large-enough degree to satisfy those that played the game (and yes I played, completed and enjoyed Baldur's Gate immensely).
My main criticism with the book is that the writer attempted to appeal to both general fantasy readers and players of BG and ended up watering down the story so that neither could appreciate it. In other words, I can't see non-BG players appreciating the sketchiness/flat/ vague/generallness of the way the story is laid out, yet BG players might feel alienated because the writer doesn't stick to the game's story/history enough. The writer tries to place Abdel in so many situations that you feel like the book is a collection of sketches rather than a cohesive whole... Which seque-ways into
The story seems more like a sketch/outline than a fully fleshed-out epic. It quickly jumps from one scene to the next with few transistions. It's almost like the author was saying "I had to keep the story within a specific number of pages, yet I assume you all played the game. Thus, I can skip a few chapters/story devices and you'll be able to follow along easily."
Some characters/plot-lines are developed and then quickly disposed of or never fleshed out. Why should we care that Sarevok was replacing his own men with Dopplegangers? We never get to see the ramifications of this either way. Why should we care that Xan took so long coming back from the Bandit camp? It builds up to Abdel and Jaheira having to raid the camp to see what happened to their friend when all of a sudden Xan appears and is okay. Whew! That's less fun and adventure for the reader to enjoy.
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