Josiah's Reviews > The Captives of Kaag

The Captives of Kaag by Joe Dever
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's review
Mar 12, 2012

it was ok
Read from March 12, 2012 to April 03, 2015

The world of Magnamund has not aligned in perfect harmony even after you, legendary freedom fighter Lone Wolf, struck the miraculous death blow against the undead Darklords of Helgedad. Now that this most worrisome wildfire has been permanently doused, it is up to you, the last Magnakai warrior, to stomp out the little fires that still threaten on the periphery, and these minor blazes have plenty of heat to burn you to a crisp if you're not careful. In the ruined lands of the Darklords, somewhere in the stronghold of Kaag, your friend and ally Guildmaster Banedon is being held captive by the remnants of the Darklords' army. You fear they have already started torturing Banedon to make him give up the secrets of Left-handed magic that have served and protected the peace-loving citizens of Magnamund in the two and a half decades since the Kai monastery was destroyed and you, Lone Wolf, were left as sole survivor. For the secrets of Old Kingdom sorcery to fall into the hands of the enemy could return Magnamund to an era as bleak and nearly hopeless as that of the Darklords. You are the only one capable of sneaking into Kaag and freeing Banedon before his captors extract their pound of flesh, one way or another.

The road to Kaag is full of traps, but your Magnakai and Grand Master disciplines honed through the first thirteen Lone Wolf books should get you to the city. Your foes possess higher Combat Skill and Endurance thresholds than ever, and you will have to use every ounce of Kai acumen at your disposal to hold off the enemy in its multitudinous forms. Once inside the forbidding central fortress of Kaag, the passageways crawl with evil creatures, barbarians and wizards and hybrid monsters that couldn't exist if not for the dark powers that created them. I can't see how you'll make it through the adventure if you don't have the Grand Master discipline of Deliverance, as I had to add those crucial twenty extra Endurance points multiple times in The Captives of Kaag. Avoid combat wherever you can, for the most seasoned of Kai warriors will rank below most enemies in fighting skill and stamina, so you can only endure a few altercations before the disparity catches up with you. You need to find Banedon as quickly as possible and exit the fortress, or there's no way you'll make it out alive.

Pay close attention to which Grand Master disciplines you have earned, and let that inform the decisions you make. Kai-surge and Kai-screen are especially useful if you're likely to face off against supernatural beings; Grand Huntmastery is indispensable in the wild, Grand Nexus if you're in danger from extreme heat or cold, Animal Mastery if you're going to need an advantage over animals. Choices are rarely completely straightforward in Lone Wolf books, but keep an eye on where you are and what disciplines you've attained if you want to make it to the end of The Captives of Kaag. Your flight from the dark is no easy one, even with the enhanced skills you've developed in your adventures so far, but a Magnakai master is capable of anything. On behalf of the Kai who came before you, and all who were slain by the scourge of evil pouring out of Helgedad, fight courageously for peace and freedom against the minions of destruction. Despite overwhelming odds, there is always a way for Lone Wolf to emerge victorious. Find it, brave warrior.

The copy I read of The Captives of Kaag is an American Berkley Pacer. Unfortunately, that means roughly fifty pages of the action has been cut. The same was true for my copy of book thirteen, The Plague Lords of Ruel, but it matters significantly more in The Captives of Kaag because the abridging isn't done well. Depending on which choices you make early in the story, you may be confusingly (and illogically) led back in a loop to the same starting point, so what appears to be a delightful array of choices narrows to far fewer. This is a big disappointment, but can't totally overshadow the excitement of Lone Wolf's continuing quest. However, I would strongly recommend one pick up a British Red Fox edition of The Captives of Kaag instead of the American version, since the narrative is presented in its entirety just as Joe Dever originally wrote it. British copies of Lone Wolf books can be scarce and pricy, but they're worth the hassle to procure. In my opinion, no other gamebook series can touch Lone Wolf at its best.

Joe Dever is an extraordinary fantasy writer, his descriptions brimming with literary quality and fantastic imagination, and he hasn't lost a bit of that wonderful linguistic energy fourteen books into the series. The Captives of Kaag is another high-stakes, high-reward foray into the fascinating dark reaches of an enemy kingdom, and loyal readers of all thirteen books leading up to it are likely to come across some old friends and enemies in these pages. Magnamund rarely fails to yield surprises. The Captives of Kaag isn't the best of the Lone Wolf series, but it moves quickly and offers action in abundance, and I'm looking forward to questing again soon in the fifteenth book, The Darke Crusade. To wicked Magnaarn and his co-conspirators in oppressing the people of Lencia, I say: We're coming for you.

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Reading Progress

03/12/2012 page 293
04/03/2015 marked as: read
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