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Downshadow

Forgotten Realms: Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep, Book 3
Narrated by: James Patrick Cronin
Length: 11 hrs and 48 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Dark Knight Must Choose: Justice or Vengeance

Watchman by day, vigilante by night, Shadowbane's world is turned upside down when he runs across a powerful wizard - in the form of a confused, hunted girl who finds herself at the heart of a fell plot. When his friends start dying and the girl is kidnapped, Shadowbane must choose between the darkness and the light in his heart: to avenge the deaths of his friends, or to let the villain live to face - and possibly escape - justice.

Downshadow is thrilling tale of vigilante justice set in the classic City of Splendors and presented by Forgotten Realms(R) campaign setting creator and celebrated author Ed Greenwood. You don't want to miss out on this exciting glimpse into what the latest edition of the Realms has to offer.

©2009 Wizards of the Coast LLC (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Profile Image for Jeff Greiner
  • Jeff Greiner
  • 20-02-2013

Glad to See This On Audible

What did you love best about Downshadow?

This book does a great job of giving me interesting and engaging characters in the Forgotten Realms without having to give me a massive world-shattering event. What are the sorts of stories happening to the little guy...that's what Downshadow is about. A man out for justice to save a city that doesn't know it needs saving.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I think I liked Erezra the most. She has an interesting story and is probably the most believable character in the way she talks, acts, and thinks. She's not given enough credit I feel like there's more to her that I want to learn, more than anyone else.

Which character – as performed by James Patrick Cronin – was your favorite?

Wrath, the villainous dwarf, was performed as this interesting combination of Bane from the Dark Knight movies and Robert Carlyle from Once Upon a Time and Stargate: Universe.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I'm not sure about one sitting...but I did finish it in about 4 days, that's about as close to one sitting as I get.

Any additional comments?

As a D&D and Forgotten Realms fan there are some issues with pronunciation in the performance and some areas where it seemed that the way it was read missed out on the punchline or the subtleties of the story, but for the most part I was very pleased with this book in story and in performance. Keep up the great work.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for takajej
  • takajej
  • 28-12-2018

Puerile and one dimensional characters abound

I've read a few of the Waterdeep novels and a whole lot of Forgotten Realms books, , and have enjoyed all of them, or at least found something about them to enjoy, until I read this one. The interaction of the main character, in particular with women, is something I would expect to find on some schlocky, daytime TV soap opera or an overly dramatic reality show. The women all fawn over the Gary Stu protagonist, and that's pretty much their defining trait. They are all, without exception, one dimensional characters whose only role is to prop up Gary.

The protagonist himself has maybe two dimensions to him, but if you're familiar with Daredevil or Batman or Spawn then you already intimately know this character.... except this Gary Stu is a less sympathetic, and less interesting, version of that 'Dark Knight' troupe.

Most of the story is moved forward by infuriatingly dumb decisions made by the main character, who doesn't seem to learn from past experiences. I spent most of the book rolling my eyes of saying " Why would you do that?"

This is the sort of book I might have enjoyed when I was a 12 year old young man, when the fight scenes were the most important thing, and strutting, super-machismo was something to look up to. I'm not twelve anymore, and while I still like a good fight scene, it's the characters and their development that makes a good story. This book fails, spectacularly, on that most important front.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Simone
  • Simone
  • 12-12-2018

Harem Anime in Dungeons & Dragons-Form

This story sits in a rather awkward historic space, written at a time when anime as a media-form was truly making a standardized impact in the west. This influence is deeply felt in "Downshadow."

The story is quite crowded with characters, or at least it would have been if the story didn't truly only have one character, the male protagonist himself. Beyond the protagonist, pretty much every other character is a barely developed female shell with their only true purpose being to represent one of the protagonist's metaphorical values. Thus allowing the protagonist to literally flirt with different values he might stand for:

- One female character represents his tendency to lurk in the shadows and fight without honor. Thus she allows him to flirt with the prospect of embracing a life without morals.
- Another female character represents innocence and higher ideals. The life of a hero and a true paladin. Thus the protagonist gets to express his inner insecurity of not feeling worthy of her, and thus of such ideals.
- Yet another female character represents the ideas of duty and the familiar. This is further heightened by the protagonist, at the start of the tale, already having had a relationship with this particular character, essentially emphasizing his movement away from the familiar and into a new understanding of the world and himself.

Supporting characters representing such values is in-and-of-itself a good thing and shows a great insight into the development of the protagonist. However, when there is little-to-nothing to these characters beyond these roles and the continuous flirting they engage in with the protagonist, then it quickly becomes clear that they are not only 1-Dimensional, but outright unbelievable. This especially holds true when one considers the protagonists status as having been in a prior relationship with one of the female characters, but literally finds himself stumbling over the overwhelming and over-the-top expressions of affections from two women he only comes to meet at the start of the story, and immediately faces romantic advances from (in one case, the female character literally appears out of no-where, passes out immediately in his arms, wakes up in his bed the next morning, and is immediately distraught at the prospect that he might have a romantic partner, despite her barely even knowing his name yet).

All of these factors come together to create a tale that is quite interesting from the perspective of witnessing a single character's struggle with his own personal ideals and morals. But is a complete disaster when it comes to its narrative flow and emotional center. The book could essentially have just one character, or one character and the villain. All the female supporting characters could in truth be nothing more than figments of the protagonist's imagination, and the thematic evolution of the story would barely have suffered.
These very same issues can be found in countless examples of "Harem Anime," though this book at least rises above the majority of those by not having the protagonist be a blank slate for readers to use as self-insert-material.


With all of this having been said, "Downshadow" is in truth a quite enjoyable book. One does, however, need a specific mindset for how to truly tap into what the book has to offer, and be willing to accept and look past its many major flaws.
"Downshadow" is not a good book, but it can be a fun one.