Warbringer! – Conclusion



I know from feedback that this book holds a special place in the heart of certain of my readers, but I am duty-bound not to sugar-coat any of my opinions.

Plus, its more fun that way.

This book was like the rhyme about the girl with the curl in the centre of her forehead.

When it was good, it was very, very good.  But when it was bad….

The good :

  • The opening sequence was excellent.  Great atmosphere, high stakes and a breathless continuation from the end of book 4.
  • Much of the military sequence was really interesting, and (like the rulership decisions in book 4)  it was a welcome change from the ‘hack and slash’ which is prevalent through so many gamebooks.
  • As usual, the supporting cast were fleshed out to degree often lacking in the genre.  People such as Antocidas, Gwyneth, the ruler of the Spires of Foreshadowing were given some flavour beyond mere enemies / allies.

The not-so-good.

  • If ever a book failed at the last hurdle, it was this one.  The book has the same ending, whether or not you actually kill your arch-enemy immediately beforehand!
  • Further, if you do, it happens ‘off screen’! You rout his army, and some of your forces just bring his body to you?!  No epic battle?  No hand-to-hand combat??  Were these the same authors that created the fantastic ninja battle sequence from book 2 and the marvellous duel with the Grandmaster of Shadows from book 4??
  • The ‘game’ part of the book seemed neglected.  After a fight or two in the first sequence, the only real dice rolling involved the (aborted) fight with Honoric and the Old One.  Similiarly, the ninja skills were barely mentioned.  For example, I didn’t have Shin-Ren, but there were a number of occasions when I would have thought that the use of that skill would have been crucial.
  • You also get the feeling that the authors weren’t sure if this book would be the final instalment of the series.  There are no real loose ends left to tie up, given that (maybe) Honoric has been killed and the Rift forces retreated before Avenger’s battle-hardened troops.  Books 1-4 had compelling sequel hooks.  Here it was more ‘you’ll probably have interesting adventures in the future’…


A lesser Way of the Tiger entry is still pretty darn good.  And my desire for a sequel hook may well be satisfied in spades in book 6….

Oh, and by the way :









4 thoughts on “Warbringer! – Conclusion

  1. If you had completed the poem it would have been total war! I think you knew that.

    There were more fight opportunities that your choices avoided (e.g. if you had tried for support from Serakub or Greydawn there would have been opposition from the rift), but admittedly not alot. Against that the game allowed for 6 different routes through the battle, each with their own range of choices, so there wasn’t much room for extras. So fair point but look at what you did have.

    Same regarding Honorics possible ending. Aside from the fact you could be down to one hit point after the Old One the only way to have a final battle would be to cut something else. That said I’d have happily bought a 450 section book so as to have an extra battle to finish off Honoric (or the besieging Rift Spawn), but since my mum published her book I know what editors and publishers are like.(Bullying a resource guide for teachers and parents by Vivette O’Donnell, not that its important here). And to bring in accursed reality, as I first read to my disgust in Lest Darkness Fall people love to describe two leaders meeting and fighting during a battle, but it rarely happens. (That the next book I’m going to reread, highly recommended if you haven’t before). So … again I agree with you but have to point to financial decisions as weakening an otherwise great book.

    And only David Walters managed to make Shin-Ren useful for anything.

    Interesting point regarding the authors unsure if there would be another book, Falcon was also rather hiccupy with book’s 5 and 6. I’m in melancholy mood today and have just flipped again remembering two great series cut down in their prime. So before I go to a dark space to guzzle chocolate I’ll just say

    ALLRIGHT FIRST TIME!!! You haven’t managed that since Avenger. Ok so Honoric escaped but still Who’s Da Man?Your Da Man.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just finished up Warbringer a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, much of it was a tedious slog. The war at the end, a whole lot of seemingly-random decisions with “nope, you die” So that you could make it through in one play seems like phenomenally good luck.

    But as you say, when it’s good it’s good. The fray at the beginning wastes no time in ramping up the action, the cross-country travel is classic adventure material, and the writing itself is (some goofy mistakes aside) atmospheric and colorful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Best of all, Honoric may actually finally be dead depending on how you play out that ending. I was curious how they would handle him in Inferno given the 50/50 chance that he’s dead and buried. (not like the “only mostly dead” from Avenger)

    Liked by 1 person

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