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The War-Torn Kingdom (Fabled Lands) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 15, 2017
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About the Author
Dave Morris is a British videogame designer, comic book creator, scriptwriter and UK best-selling author. He has written more than two dozen choose-your-own style gamebooks, including the acclaimed Fabled Lands series with Jamie Thomson, with whom he co-created Dark Lord: The Early Years, and a Kirkus-star-winning interactive version of Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein. His acclaimed graphic novel epic Mirabilis: Year of Wonders is being serialized in both print and digital editions.
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Though as much it was fun and exploring the world was interesting, the lack of an overarching story or an end goal (though optional in the theme of the book) was lacking leaving me without knowing what I missed or what should I do now that all is explored.
The first book is about a country torn in turmoil. The player chooses which party, the general or the former king, will come out on top as they proceed in the story line. Many character-specific quests will provide the adventurers with the equipment and skills to fight for their side in this book. They will encounter dragons and fairies and other legendary creatures (whose name and nature shall not be revealed here so as not to spoil it) all the while roaming a country of knights and peasants, riches and magic.
For starters, you can choose one of six classes: Mage, Priest, Rogue, Troubadour, Warrior, and Wayfarer. The game rules are very simple, having about the same complexity as the Sorcery! gamebooks, but they feel more intuitive than those of Sorcery! and there are more character details without adding rules complexity. There are six stats: Charisma, Combat, Magic, Sanctity, Scouting, and Thievery, and these stats are determined by the class you play rather than random die rolls. The class you choose also has effects in game other than just the starting stats. Choices you make during the game can modify these stats.
Unlike other gamebooks that I've read, this one has some replay value. There are a lot of quests throughout the book rather than a single quest, although there is a main quest that you can choose to do or not. Some quests are only available to a certain class, encouraging multiple playthroughs with different classes. There is a lot to do in this book. You can choose to travel the continent exploring the forests and mountains, make money as a fisherman, hunt monsters, purchase a ship and trade goods between ports, spend time in the cities located throughout the book - and there is plenty to do in each city. The main quest even has a branching storyline with a different outcome depending on which route you take, and neither route is the right or wrong way.
The open world feel and freedom of choice in this book make it the best gamebook that I've ever read, and I'm looking forward to getting the others in the series.
Regardless, the book itself is just pure fun. If you are a fan of computer RPGs (Role Playing Games), you will certainly love this book. If you enjoy pen and paper type RPGs (i.e Dungeons and Dragons) you will also enjoy this book. If you've never had a hand at RPGs at all this book is a great start. The game aspects (stats, combat, etc.) are easy to grasp. All you need is a pair of die from an old board game (I bought a 5 pack of dice from a local store for 99 cents), a pencil, and a decent eraser and you'll be off to adventure!
These books are not a linear progression from beginning to end of an epic quest. They are an opportunity to explore and really sink your teeth into a setting in whatever way you feel is the most fun.
The most remarkable feature of the books is that you can read them in any order. In fact, you are likely to bounce back and forth between books in a single adventure as you explore this world from one end to another.
I can't recommend the whole series highly enough.