9 December 2014 at 3:02pm
I just finished my first playthrough with a rogue and, after browsing a few alternative paths, I think I am entitled to an educated opinion on this book.
The first adjective that comes into my mind is "easy". This adventure is very easy, expecially if compared to the previous two. That said, it is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but I would have found it better had it been the other way around: books becoming increasingly harder. I mean, after finishing TLoS half a dozen times, reading TEoWF I was feeling like a bullfighter facing a cow. The only battle where I had to resort extensively to backpack items was against Blue Angel, and it was not even a key event.
The writing style has improved even more. The whole playable prologue is a delight and all the characters are "alive" as you read of them.
The plot in itself is well designed and any action taken by Arran makes sense in the context. There is no need to hurry (unlike THoF), that is why we can spend more than some time wandering in Ryker's Island.
Speaking of Ryker's Island, it is a real nice place to visit and the sleds competion is fun, even though the game is mostly based on rolling dices and choices have a minimal effect on the outcome (expecially on the second race).
The careers are fine, even if fewer than in the previous two books. I am not fully convinced by the Death Penalty rule, though. If I am killed in a combat, it is because that enemy is probably too tough for me: how am I supposed to win next time, if I have an even weaker character? Such rule could have made more sense had the book been less linear (giving me the chance to take an alternate path of stock up on potions), but this is not the case (expecially in Act 2).
Finally, I appreciated the return of a few colorful characters from previous books (Hal above all) and I deeply hope that we can play a fourth episode.
Thank you very much, Michael J. Ward!