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(Forgotten Realms: Avatar #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  4,912 ratings  ·  92 reviews
The gods walk the Realms.

Banished from the heavens, they now roam the world, from Tantras to far-off Waterdeep, seeking to regain their full powers. Malevolent Bane, power-hungry Mystra, and Helm, guardian of the heavens, all know the lost Tablets of Fate are the key.

Possessing a mysterious amulet, four heroes, desperate to escape the dark elements of their pasts, find the
Paperback, 335 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by Wizards of the Coast TSR
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Showing 1-30
3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,912 ratings  ·  92 reviews

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Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Okay, I picked this up because our D&D group is or has begun a game in (cue portentous music) THE REALMS....DUH,DUH,DUH!

Anyway my friend N and I rotate DMing duties and he has us in Waterdeep. As I play a Paladin and I prefer to play a Christian Paladin we need to work out the details on the Forgotten Realms pantheon.

Anyway this trilogy entails the (again cue portentous music) TIME OF TROUBLES ....DUH,DUH,DUH!

This is/was when (in duh,duh,duhThe Realms Ao the above deity, you know above the
Ranting Dragon
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dan

Shadowdale was first published in 1989 as the leading novel in The Avatar Trilogy, arguably one of the most significant series of Realms novels in terms of their effect on the setting. It was written under the pseudonym Richard Awlinson, which I always believed was to protect the actual authors (Troy Denning and Scott Ciencin) from the ensuing fallout. Shadowdale begins the tale of the fall of the Gods of the Realms. Chaos, destruction, and death abound as
Alexander Stormborn
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, 2014, to-review
I enjoy the Forgotten Realms setting, especially the diverse pantheon. Shadowdale was the first Forgotten Realms novel I read, primarily due to my fear of the novels destroying my vision of the Forgotten Realms setting and what it would be. I wanted my own interpretation of the setting to paint the canvas of Forgotten Realms, rather than an author trying to sell a book. Going into this, I was concerned, but I decided that due to my appreciation of the Forgotten Realms' Pantheon, that if I were t ...more
David Sarkies
Mar 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Not many people at all
Recommended to David by: A friend
Shelves: fantasy
Novelising the move from 1st to 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons
24 March 2012

Back in 1989 it was decided by TSR that it was well and truly time to reinvigorate the AD&D system, and to be honest it was sorely needed. The gave was about 20 years old at this stage and it had been evolving continuously with more complex and complicated rules being forever thrown on top of the pre-existing ones. The original game has come out as what was then known as the basic set, and had then moved onto mor
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ah, taj divni svijet Zaboravljenih kraljevstava...

Prilikom preslagivanja starih knjižica naišao sam na ovaj zaboravljeni dragulj iz moje srednjoškolske povijesti i nisam mogao izdržati ponovno ga ne pročitati. Izdao ga je dvano propali nakladnik Strijelac koji se specijalizirao za izdanja Forgotten realmsa, svijeta Dungeons and Dragons svijeta igara na ploči, kao i mojih nikad nadmašenih all-time video-igračkih favorita Baldur's Gate i Icewind Dale. Dječaki snovi Eda Greenwooda obistinili su se
Luke Scull
The Forgotten Realms are in a state of monumental upheaval. Cast out from the heavens by the Overgod Ao as punishment for the theft of the Tablets of Fate, the deities of Faerûn walk the earth. Thrust into the centre of this chaos are four heroes, one of whom carries a pendant containing the essence of the fallen goddess of magic. They must survive the machinations of the evil god Bane and seek the aid of the famed sage Elminster of Shadowdale before the Realms are lost to darkness and chaos for ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I do like the dragonlance series and have read so many books in the forgotten realms. So of course I did enjoy this one merely because of the world it plays in. I must say though, that I have read much better stories. I know that these books are often based on role playing books or campaigns and that gives them a certain direction. I don't like it though if this is all too obvious and you can basically replay the battles and scenes in a pure rpg structure. The characters did become a bit familia ...more
Allen M Werner
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
My love for fantasy fiction was truly challenged with this offering by Richard Awlinson (Pen name for Scott Ciencin). Shadowdale: Book One of The Avatar Trilogy is difficult to review because there was so much I disliked. I'm still unsure why I finished reading it - and because I finished it, I gave it two stars. And as hard as it is, I'll try to evoke the past and replay some of it to write a proper review.
Ao, the Maker of All Things, informs without warning, a handful of lesser gods that the T
Michael Shurtleff
Sep 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Oy, beyond oy, vae and gevalt! I came across this paperback, in near-mint condition, on a used paperback rack at a gas station somewhere in Kansas. I thought I had scored a find. But...well, this story is awful. Pace is about the only thing it has going for it. Both dialogue and narrative are a hodgepodge of fantasy genre tropes and gender equality posturing that is shallow enough to be an insulting facade. The plot is no better. The characters are all inconsistent and bipolar, randomly doing an ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Storia potenzialmente molto interessante, ma sviluppata in maniera non molto convincente. I personaggi del party principale sono ben caratterizzati, ma ogni tanto la storia s'incaglia in momenti di stanca, per poi ripartire all'improvviso di slancio. Ottima invece è la battaglia finale alle porte di Shadowdale.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
No esperaba mucho de esta novela y el resultado ha sido peor. Sin contar la mala traducción que empaña todo el libro, nos encontramos ante un grupo de adolescentes hormonados en cuerpos de adultos queriendo salvar el mundo. La historia no es muy allá, los personajes son muy planos y el final es una chorrada.

Si eres un rolero intensito de 15 años te flipara en colores.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
This book tries to be two things at once. Fortunately, it does one of those things very well: it is a fun action romp that gets you interested in the setting and makes you want to play the D&D adventure of the same name (circa 1988). Unfortunately, it does a fairly poor job of being the first installment of an epic fantasy involving world-changing events. The real let-down, however, is that it fails to even be a serviceable fantasy jaunt with believable character development and an unbroken ...more
Daniel Millard
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: forgotten-realms
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Red Siegfried
Jul 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Well, I made two other attempts to get started on this book in the past and found it fairly dull but I guess I just needed to give it some more time to get started. So far so good, but it would be a bit more interesting if it wouldn't follow the standard TSR books formula of character introduction, a monster fight, character development, monster fight, character development, monster fight ad nauseum.

Did I mention the monster fights just kind of happen ... seemingly they're thrown in after the s
Ron Gastgeb
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I recently read (OK, listened to) this book for the first time in twenty years. It's amazing how much nostalgia distorts one's memory, making the mediocre seem better than it was.

Such was the case with Shadowdale. The story being told, of the gods being banished to the mortal realm and the chaos that ensues, has the potential to be very good. Unfortunately, the story suffers in the execution. One gets the feeling that the author was handed an AD&D adventure module and told to write a novel t
Miss Ryoko
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Miss Ryoko by: General H. Sassafras
Shelves: borrowed, adult
I sort of have mixed feelings about this book.

The writing was redundant (seriously, how many times do I have to read blue-white (insert word here) or the same word two or three times in a sentence?) and at times very quick (as if the author got bored with writing so he just wrote some real quick junk to take the place of something that could have been good), the characters...well, there really wasn't any I cared for, and the story, for the most part, wasn't terribly exciting.

But.... I enjoyed th
Steve Ragusin
Mar 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
It's hard going back and reading these first books in the Forgotten Realms setting. I'm trying to judge these books based off my current reading and not factor in that this is the infantile stage of the world. These first books are classics, without doubt, but reading them today, they're just not that good. They rely too much on the gaming aspect. I do like the premise of this series however.

As of now I am continuing to read from the beginning of Forgotten Realms, and stuck in 1989.

Next up is th
There is a very good chance that this book - and really the entire of my Forgotten Realms shelf - is the ultimate example of why I'm shelving books as "I was young and dumb, okay?"

But I'm not judging it objectively, I'm judging it from what I remember of reading it when I was like 16. It is the Time of Troubles, the gods and goddesses are walking Faerun, and this is kind of awesome, or it was, if you were a fan of the setting as it was in those days. Which I was. So you know... no apologies here
Oct 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
I love Dungeons and Dragons. I love Forgotten Realms. This book had a strong enough set up to keep me reading it.

Nonetheless, little things in the book screamed "I was written by a dungeon master!" and yanked me out of the story and setting, such as using character classes as pronouns (e.g. "The cleric" instead of "him"). Third person omniscient narration did not help either.

I rage-quit reading this book after the line, "The sunlight was absorbed by elegant strands of Spanish moss..."
Erik Akre
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: D and D nerds (I must include myself in their ranks)
Shelves: fantasy
If I read books like this all the time, I'm pretty sure the review that follows would become repetitive. It may well apply to all cheap paperback fantasies. I admit though, not having read anything like this since I was in seventh grade, I am out of touch with the genre.

This book seems geared towards seventh grade boys who sit apart and read it at recess while the other kids play basketball or talk to girls. Don't get me wrong, these boys are important people: safekeepers of the imagination and
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like this book seems a lot like "The End of War" and how it transitions between different stories but then it stops at around chapter 5-6. After chapters 5-6 the characters join together and start to go on adventures to stop multiple things. One of the adventures is how they went to the dungeons to go and take this one thing that aided them on their help. But I feel like this a book for people who like medieval times, dragons, magic, and having powers of different types, more or less the ...more
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing was difficult to get through at times. A lot of plot points seemed glossed over or just alluded to instead of the author actually taking the time to show us what's happening. Lots of telling, not as much showing. Until the action starts. All action scenes were substantially better written. And I loved all of the lore covered in this book. The lore is mainly what kept me going, but I definitely became more invested as the book progressed.
Jim Townsend
Excellent fantasy novel set in the the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms universe. Lord Bane, God of Strife, has stolen the Two Tablets, ancient runes with the names and duties of each of the planet Faerun's gods. As a result, the head of the gods, Ao, has stripped the gods of their godhood; and magic has become unstable, until those tablets are returned. The 1989 first book of a trilogy.
Ralph Gallagher
Jan 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The overall story was interesting and fun to read, but it definitely feels dated. The writing was sub-par, like a DM was trying to turn their campaign into a novel without any prior writing experience. There was an over-abundance of D&D references that served no point other than to beat the reader over the head that it takes place in the D&D universe and constantly pulls the reader out of the story.
Kevin Zuech
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I decided to relive my youth by reading books from my past. This was one of my favorites and one of the first 10 books in the Realms. The Gods walk the Realms after being banished and this book really follows a few along with the mortals they enlisted for their help to get back to being immortal. This book was well written and keeps your attention.
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it
The writing is not exactly stellar, with very utilitarian prose (without the refined nature of Sanderson's) and minimal description and decorative writing. But if you're interested in DnD/Forgotten Realms lore it's pretty decent. Will carry on the series.
Jeremy German
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is garbage. Incoherent, trite, poor characterization. The only thing that kept me going was the hope that I'd be able to read the series since it's part of the lore between first and second edition D&D.
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: forgotten-realms
Great start to the series. Some interesting choices with the character development; some of the Midnight/Kelemvor stuff is a bit sophomoric, but still readable. Clearly the central characters are being set up for their later evolution into [SPOILER], but so far it's all good.
Aurélie Knit & Read
Un petit côté "Robin des Bois" que j'avais bien aimé.
Bill Meehan
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-fiction
Enjoyable quest fantasy. Looking forward to book 2.
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Scott Ciencin was a New York Times best-selling novelist of 90+ books. He wrote adult and children's fiction and worked in a variety of mediums including comic books. He created programs for Scholastic Books, designed trading cards, consulted on video games, directed and produced audio programs & TV commercials, and wrote in the medical field about neurosurgery and neurology. He first worked i ...more

Other books in the series

Forgotten Realms: Avatar (5 books)
  • Tantras (Forgotten Relalms: Avatar #2)
  • Waterdeep (Forgotten Realms: Avatar #3)
  • Prince of Lies (Forgotten Realms: Avatar, #4)
  • Crucible: The Trial of Cyric the Mad (Forgotten Realms: Avatar, #5)