Featured Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Escape the Underdark: An Endless Quest Book (Matt Forbeck)
About This Book:
Welcome to the Forgotten Realms Endless Quest books, where you don’t just read a fantastic tale. You become the hero — and choose your own fate. You awaken in an underground cell, stripped of your armor and your sword. Your fellow prisoners inform you that you’re trapped in the Underdark, soon to be taken to the great drowcity of Menzoberranzan and sold off as a slave. But word is that demons are stirring in the underworld’s depth. Perhaps you can use that to break free, fighter.
*Review Contributed By Angela Blount Staff Reviewer*
Told in second-person present-tense, this fantasy is styled after the beloved choose-your-own-adventure books of yore. It also features a vast array of renowned D&D art, with works ranging from sepia to full color.
As the story opens, readers know two things: that you are a human fighter, and that you’ve been captured and imprisoned by the Drow in the subterranean world of the Underdark. Slavery is in your near future, so escaping is a no-brainer. But how you go about that is your call. Do you resist immediately? Plot with the other captives? Feign being a model prisoner until a good opportunity arises?
The larger print, abundant imagery, and vagueness in regard to violence all culminate to make this material ideally suited to the lower range of Middle Grade. Readers are given no background on the main character in question outside of their class, so it’s easy enough to insert oneself into the storytelling. Fortunately, not all roads lead to a gruesome death! But… a few of them might.
If you, dear reader, are anything like me… you can count on needing at least a half-dozen bookmarks to note the pages you may want to return to if your storyline’s ending strikes you as less than ideal. >.> (Why yes, I did go back and try every single fork in the non-linear option tree. You live your life and I’ll live mine. ;P)
I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as To Catch A Thief. Primarily because the fact that you are a fighter doesn’t seem to have much bearing on the plot or how things turn out. There’s a lot of running and escaping involved, for which there’s no class or race advantage. And you don’t seem any more likely to stumble upon a positive outcome if you stick to all the possible fighting options.
My primary suggestion for future installments would be the inclusion of a character sheet at the beginning. I think this would help readers with their decision-making, as well as introduce a foundational concept that could later transfer to the tabletop game. (It would also be neat to have a playable character ready-made. Just saying.)
A solid option for reluctant readers, budding D&D fans, and kids who generally appreciate having more engagement and agency in their reading material.
*Find More Info On This Book HERE!*