YOUR MOM BECOMES the Earth Queen, the priestess-chieftain of a tribe of insular, xenophobic druids living in a forest at a lake which is the center of all life in the world. She is disturbed that the forest is weakening, that the lake needs a sacrifice to become strong.
She offers a sacrifice of life, and the most precious life — that of her daughter.
Fortunately, you discover in the duress of the moment that you’re a Spellsinger like her, channeling magic and bending nature through your songs which are also spells. (isn’t that how X-Men mutants work, too? the duress part, not the singing part) Now make good your escape, and start your new life on the lam.
Review and Opinion
The last few books, I’ve overused the word “epic” to describe an adventure of large scope, high complexity, and compelling writing. Well tough, cuz it’s happening again — this was an epic adventure of large scope, high complexity and compelling writing.
The shock beginning is a great start, and a female hero is always a welcome choice too. And it introduces magic spells (spellsongs) which is one of my favorite mechanics in classics such as Scorpion Swamp and Citadel of Chaos.
There are multiple ways forward for each section, and a very high tolerance for not knowing specific songs and making a Fitness Check or a fight instead. Combined with the complexity of the interconnections, this made the replayability very appealing and even after winning I kept playing several more times.
And so many of the combinations work, too, free of the “do you have the golden key?” annoyance in some books. There are 4 paths through Act 4 for the showdown, depending on your path in Act 3 and how you exited Act 1. All of them have would have you set up with a good collection of songs, a potential for a magical weapon, and sometimes a companion. This kept the replayability fun; not a struggle for that one missing key, but finding more paths to success.
Errors & Treasures Unfound
- If you finish the mine demon mission, you’re asked if your companion is still alive. On one of the two paths through the miner, he survives but won’t be enabled as the “is your companion still alive” option?
- I never could find 2 of the songs (Heart of Hope, Malady’s Cure), and 2 items (gold earring, Shell of Life). Other than that I think I have mapped out everything.
The letters below refer to their marking on the maps. See the Maps section to find them.
- A – Call of the Wild – Starting page, escaping the vines.
- B – Earth’s Lament – Starting page, escaping the vines.
- C – Shriek of Wind – After your first escape, climb a tree and face down a giant eagle.
- P – Nature’s Defiance – From your initial escape, head north.
- F – Unseen Melody – While escaping the forest to the north, hide from would-be assassins.
- D – Wounds’ Healing – While escaping the forest to the southwest, help an injured Drugaur.
- K – Finder’s Friend – While escaping the forest to the southwest, flee your assassins and get lost in the woods.
- E – Joy of Life – Get captured into a circus after leaving the logging camp.
- G – Chant of Fear – After leaving the mountains, hide from a raiding party of capris.
- N – Song of Battles – After leaving the mountains, fight a raiding party of capris.
- O – Truth’s Sting -Take the performers’ troupe to entertain a rich noble.
- H – Melody’s Illusion – On the way to Avenarre, explore a cave.
- I – Fortune’s Favor – Get to Eterro, and you get a job and learn this song.
- J – Befuddling Ballad – Get to Eterro, and you get a job and learn this song.
- L – Heart of Hope – I never did find this one.
- M – Malady’s Cure – Never did find this one.
Written by Kieran Coghlan
Illustrated by Tony Hough
Book 11 in the series
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