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Downshadow: Ed Greenwood Presents: Waterdeep (The Shadowbane Series Book 1) by [Erik Scott de Bie]
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Downshadow: Ed Greenwood Presents: Waterdeep (The Shadowbane Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Length: 320 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 881 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (December 22, 2009)
  • Publication Date: January 26, 2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001NLL64O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,341 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Downshadow by Erik Scott de Bie is the third book is a series stand alone novels titled Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep. The first two books are; Blackstaff Tower: Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep by Steven Schend and Mistshore: Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep by Jaleigh Johnson. Future books to be released in this series are; City of the Dead: Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep by Rosemary Jones (June, 09), The God Catcher by Erin Evans (Feb, 2010), and Circle of Skulls by James Davis (June, 2010). This novel marks the third novel Mr. de Bie has written for the Forgotten Realms universe, the previous two novels; Ghostwalker (The Fighters) and Depths of Madness: The Dungeons, are also stand alone novels. While I have been a fan of these stand alone novels, I think it is time that the editors at Wizards of the Coast allow Mr. de Bie to really show his writing talent and give him a trilogy. I think given a trilogy Mr. de Bie will truly show his talent as a writer. Here are my thoughts on this novel.

The plot of this book follows a mysterious Shadowbane as he patrols the depths of Downshadow to deal with the nefarious denizens that inhabit the place.
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This was a superbly written and thoughtful novel and I highly recommend it to any Forgotten Realms fans or readers who simply enjoy a great fantasy experience. However, I want to gear this review towards the more personal impact the novel has had on me. If you are not familiar with the Forgotten Realms I suggest reading another review as this will not make the most sense in the world. Just know that it is a great novel regardless if you a familiar with the Forgotten Realms or not. As a reader of many fantasy novels, I can tell you this one up there with some of my favorites. Now, let me tell you why I personally liked it so much.

With the 4th edition (4E) debate still raging and Forgotten Realms advocates having mixed feelings about the changing landscape, this novel kind of saved my favorite fantasy setting (for me at least). How did it do that you ask? It returned my favorite aspect of the Realms that I had felt torn away from me with 4E - which is the god: Helm. I realize the novel did not resurrect him outright from his extremely superficial demise, but at least he is part of the world again and that leads me to believe there is a chance of him coming back. So an essence, this novel gave me hope for the future of the Realms.

While I was never a huge fan of the D&D board game, I fell in love with the Realms in 1998 with the release of Baldur's Gate and have since owned all FR video games and have read nearly all the novels. Since I first played Baldur's Gate which prominently featured Helm, I have seen him as the iconic god of the Forgotten Realms. He was a HUGE part of those games and was likely featured more so than other Forgotten Realms deity.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Downshadow basically gives you Batman as a high fantasy character, but fails to do him justice. Shadowbane is one of only two chief male characters in the book--the other being a villainous dwarven monk-type. All the other characters are women, most of whom fawn over our hero. Like typical harem anime shows, the hero appears to be unable to deal with feminine attention, this cluelessness playing the opposite to Bruce Wayne's smooth operator ways. Obviously, male readers fantasize about being a chick magnet, but it is far too overdone here. Even worse is that Shadowbane is shown to be an expert at 'reading' people, a skill that seems hard to believe in someone so socially inept.

This could be forgiven if the plot were stronger, but the first three quarters of the book wander aimlessly between characters and sword fights where the reader is left wanting to know what the overall conflict is that needs resolution? Seemingly major characters get sidelined halfway through, and new major players come out of left field to replace them. Worse, the book ends like the first novel of a trilogy--the only arc that is completed by the end of the last page is the paladin's question of inner virtue (not that this is insignificant, mind you, but a night of misguided intimacy makes you wonder how he retains his status as a holy warrior).

Reading this, you might be surprised that I persevered to the end. Frankly, I was curious where all this was headed, and some questions are eventually answered. The character of Shadowbane, when his personal situation is at last fully disclosed, is ripe with potential. However, if you're going to go on this ride, realize that you have a lot of nonsense to plow through on the way to a less than satisfying wrap up.
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