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Forgotten Realms: Baldur's Gate #2

Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

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In the second installment of novelisations of the popular Baldur's Gate series of computer role-playing games, Abdel Adrian and his companions face the powerful and evil wizard Irenicus, who plans to use Abdel and his cursed blood as tools in his plans for revenge.

256 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2000

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About the author

Philip Athans

62 books231 followers
I give every book 5 stars in protest against the concept of star ratings in general and the ever-unfolding algorithm dystopia!

Philip Athans is the founding partner of Athans & Associates Creative Consulting (www.athansassociates.com), and the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and more than a dozen other fantasy and horror books including The Best of Fantasy Authors Handbook Vol. I 2009-2013, The Guide to Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. Born in Rochester, New York he grew up in suburban Chicago, where he published the literary magazine Alternative Fiction & Poetry. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, is updated every Tuesday (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com), less regularly on the FAH YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/@FantasyAutho...), and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans. He makes his home in the foothills of the Washington Cascades, east of Seattle.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Fonch.
389 reviews298 followers
January 19, 2021
dedicated with affection to Turbiales, Khanach, Eldamihr, Hougort, MyD69, Mr. Galamomd, Frau Anja Schubert, Monkey Monkey, The Master's Screen and all the people who accompanied Turbiales in the gameplays of R.P.G. Video Games. of Bioware, in this case I want to dedicate this criticism to the players of the Eternam Forum who preceded me, those who agreed with me and those who happened especially to Kunniotani, Guedicosword, Domino, Driades and Jsuly and also to Deigo, Lafu and Galloglass, I also wish to join these thanks to the three writers I have been most influenced by Juan Manuel de Prada, Joseph Pearce and my friend Professor Manuel Alfonseca, who filled with his friendship the deep emptiness that my heart had since 2007 thank you for making me happy and be my light of Earendil in the dark moments and finally I also want to dedicate this criticism to both James Ohlen and his wonderful team for making this such an iconic saga of video games and his successor Swen Vincke president of Larian and all his employees, God bless them.






(unfortunately only for people who understand Spanish. I joined Turbiales in video 16 of Baldur's Gates II specifically the chapter titled the eye you don't see).
Ladies and gentlemen, after the siege of Dragonspear annex is complete, we proceed to continue baldur's Gates' fascinating experience (the first thing I have to tell you is that the book excuses me to do what I want to talk about the video game. At first my intention was to finish this review for Christmas, and although I concluded it I did not give myself time to translate it into English and I told myself that I did not want to present it incomplete. In fact my plan was modified, because for lack of time I had to give up writing the annex with my impressions about Baldur's Gates III Early Access, which I thought and how it could be improved in my opinion. However Mr Swen Vencke should not worry, as I liked him very much, and there will not be much negative criticism. I'll also try to do one thing compare Baldur's Gates 2 Shadows of Amn with the other Bioware games (Neverwinter Nights and their expansions, the Icewibd Dales 1, and 2, and since I'm doing the Temple of Elemental Evil gameplay courtesy of my friend Turbiales, there will also be talk of him, even if he does not belong to Forgotten Realms, but to Grehawk , which is also owned by Dungeons and Dragons). Anyway Baldur's Gates II Shadows of Amn is my favorite by far, and it's such a rich and varied game that it would take not a review, but a Doctoral Thesis, to talk about it). Another thing I want to modify with respect to the original text is that I barely mention Philip Athans' novel or its adaptation, and what the Goodreads user expects is for me to talk about Philip Athans' novel and not the game, so I'm going to try to talk more about the book (in my opinion the book is not very good , but it's improved over Baldur's Gates' first novel, but I think it's because of the wonderful script that the Baldur's Gates 2 shadows of Amn game has. I recognize that I have been more magnanimous with this book, because already the fans of the game have said about this book everything they had to say, and I do not want to repeat what has already been said, but that has disappointed them greatly is the fairest thing, in fact from what I saw in videos did not like the novel to Mr. Swen Vencke either. I personally believe, it has improved compared to the first one, but it is well below what this game deserves and what fans ask for). Anyway I recommend the Goodreads user before reading my review, to previously read my review of Baldur's Gates 1 and the annex dedicated to Siege of Dragonspear https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... because this review would make no sense, if previously the first one has not been read. The first thing is the dedication I still keep Turbiales and his friends, but when on the occasion of the appearance of Baldur's Gates III I thought I would pay homage to the Baldur's Gates saga. At first I just wanted to see Baldur's Gates, but I stumbled upon the expansion, and I never got to play Throne of Bhaal, because I told myself I wouldn't play it until I passed Baldur's Gates 2 Shadow of Amn, but I stayed at the gates (in fact, I got stuck in the grove and never got to face baldur's Gates Shadows of Amn villain. Hence my anger and that my confrontation with Jon Irenicus was as sick as Captain Achab's against Moby Dick https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1... ), so Turbiales' Gameplay made it a personal matter. Then I'll join you for Throne of Bhaal. I saw on my own without Turbiales the whole saga of Neverwinter Nights and expansions (which helped me realize how great a person Turbiales is, and how gentlemanly he is. Let's just say that although neverwinter Nights videos I saw them in deferred, don't sympathize with the person who made them. Let's just say I don't like your language or the way you play. In fact, as Turbiales himself has announced that he would like to play Neverwinter Nights I would like to be with him and accompany him, although after reviewing Neverwinter Niths it became repetitive, but I am sure that if the gameplay does Turbiales will make me much more enjoyable. Also, I want to see Neverwinter Nights 2 and its expansions. Since I retired from the games before I could play them) I came to the conclusion that Baldur's Gates was much better than Neverwinter, whose graphics age badly, in fact, in my opinion, it has almost nothing original (although I would lie if I said it's a bad game, in fact, you never get to lose interest in it at any time , because he always surprises you with something and has two very good things. Incorporating the third edition rules of Dungeons and Dragons and incorporating the 3d, which facilitates the mobility of the characters, also has a very good thing that allows you to live your own adventures. In fact, Neverwinter Nights changed his life and made me go from teenager to man. He hadn't been abntes of playing this game.) Most of what I thought a novelty was the work of Baldur's Gates Shadow of Amn, and the Throne of Bhaal expansion also owed Icewind Dale 2 a lot of this volume applying the rules of 3rd edition of Dungeons and Dragons, even the time travel, which I thought was so novel also came out in Icewind Dale 2 and the three-dimensional polyeric graphics have aged badly. What has made Neverwinter Nights the great game it is, have been the servers and be able to play the adventures you want apart from the main plot of the game. That's why I met Eternam and that changed my life. That is why I want to dedicate this criticism to all the players, apart from Turbiales I want to dedicate this criticism to all the players who have passed through that server and also to my family and friends, that after my march of Eternam that was very hard they held me I had no right to sink and thanks to them I did not sink. Other than that with Turbiales I saw Icewind Dale 1 with its Heart of Winter expansion, and Icewind Dale 2 (in fact, I booked the viewing of the latest Icewind Dale 2 video for Christmas). I would also like to have a few words for Don Juan Manuel de Prada https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... who I already admired before 2007, in fact, a Polish friend exaggeratedly says that I adore him like a God. Which is not possible because of my religiosity beliefs, which the three writers I will cite share. However I am indebted to him, as I consider myself indebted to Turbiales, or to my friend Professor Manuel Alfonseca https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... . I remember not being able to get over my March of Eternam/Rebellion because of a personal matter and it was Juan Manuel de Prada who pronounced that they helped me overcome it and move on with my life. His wife Maria Carcaba also helped me a lot. That is why I must confess without blush that I will be one of the four ladies who will be happy to bear it until I receive your well-deserved prize. I have always thought that Don Juan Manuel Prada believes that he has the gift and could be a very talented fantasy writer, and that his traditionalist theories could be used in a fantasy novel. In fact, I think, he and Michael D. O'Brien https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... would be two great exponents of the fantastic genre. With Joseph Pearce https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... my debt is of another kind. Thanks to Joseph Pearce I became the man I am and the great collector. The writers you've talked about in your wonderful friends are as real as anyone of flesh and blood could actually be more alive than we are, and your books represent everything I believe. Finally, I would like to thank my friend Professor Manuel Alfonseca https://www.goodreads.com/author/show... (in fact anyone who reads this review I recommend the books of the writers quoted, especially those of friend Alfonseca) could praise his wisdom (since he is the wisest person I have ever met surpassing my father). He writes some beautiful books playing many genres (he's also touched the fantasy genre), he's a great scientist, in fact, he could be called the man who knows about all the subjects, but I'll always be indebted to him for being my friend. Their friendship served to make up for the gap it had since 2007. In fact, of the people I thank, it is together with Turbiales the person who has given me the most. In fact, he was also present in the gameplay, because in Haer Dalis' video, when he had to be rescued from planar prison I talked about him, and how he had theorized about the theories of the multiverse, which I shared in a Verkami for it, is also part of this story. Also and I want to thank my friends at La Salle school especially those quoted above, and my family who held me in this ordeal. I also want to have a debt to all Eternam players especially to Driades and Jsuly for being loyal to both of them. Thank you wholeheartedly. As the Goodreads user can see, this is the most personal review I've ever written, and in which I've put the most heart, though I don't think, to be read by many people. But with this review I wanted to pay homage to everything I've loved and share it with all Goodreads users, as a person I love very much years ago reminded me.
We take up the action where he left off with the Main Character (even if the real name is Abdel Adrian. In the end we will leave a link counting the vital experiences of this character, so that the users of Gooreads meet one of the capital figures of the Forgotten Realms) suffering an ambush in Siege of Dragon Spear and revealing the identity of the mysterious hooded his name was Jon (Joneleth) Irenicus. In fact, it cannot be said that this character was no longer partially present in the first Baldur's Gates 1. Since in the Centeol Layer Forest a woman who had the misfortune of being his girlfriend was dispatched by this character and transformed her into a spider, transforming into a being full of fat, bile and hatred. (Although we will talk about what happens to him in the end with the characters, there will be almost no references to Throne of Bhaal, since this saga already has its own novel, which unfortunately I have not been able to read https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2... ).
Profile Image for Ville Kokko.
Author 14 books24 followers
June 14, 2022
I guess I could have some fun by trying to explain just how this is the worst book ever.

I absolutely adored the computer game. It gave me the chance to be the hero in the fantasy world I knew from R. A. Salvatore's novels, and it had a great deal of depth of character and story. I approached the novelisation with some trepidation. Of course it was not going to be epic like that. But I hoped it would at least be some trashy fun.

It started out seeming like that. While none of the changes from the original seemed good or to have much point, it went fast and kept me interested... until the point the main character contemplated killing yet another person for no reason and I realised I'd had it up to here with the idiot. It went downhill from there, and soon hit the absolute rock bottom and stayed there for hundreds of miserable pages. I hated how un-heroic the main character was and how everything else was bastardised into indifferent, nonsensical mush with the occasional atrocious scene standing out as a particular "want to kill yourself and everyone else and especially the author" moment. I kept on reading, not wanting to put it down - because then I would have to pick it up again.

The protagonist might be the worst thing in this thing, although goodness knows there's competition. Abdel Adrian is an impulsive, repulsive idiot who's completely unable to carry the mantle of the hero - in spite of the horrible Mary Sue admiration the story tries to give him. Why should anyone care what some bumbling, weak-willed, violent idiot does? He can't even fight that well, which makes the fight scenes even more the boring, bumbling gorefests that they are. It would have been more interesting if someone just wrote down the tactics they used in the fights in the game.

Given the nature of the original game, the protagonist's nature was up to the author. The rest is already there in the game, but of course needs adapting. Athans's method of doing that seems to be to make everything as bland and petty as possible, although quite a few things are stupid and infuriating as well. Every character and element seems to have been drained of just about everything - be it a huge flaw like the nonexistent characterisation of important characters like Irenicus, who goes from an awesome, chilling villain to someone so generic we aren't even told what he looks like; or downright comical minor details like Saemon Havarian being changed from a roguish, backstabbing sea captain to a drunk with a rowboat. Every step of the plot is simplified to the point of indifference too. And then there are the horribly stupid kill-yourself scenes like Bodhi falling totally in love and lust with Adrian's Marty-Stuness and Adrian falling for her having boobs...

The characters are paper-thin and/or horrible. The plot is thin and stupid. Every single change from the original is for the worse; even the necessary ones (eg. not having so many subplots) are done badly. The fights are boring, the relationships vomit-inducing, the dialogue plain bad. If you liked the original, you'll hate this even more than you would otherwise, in spite of that being impossible. It's like a complete opposite of the game with the specific emphasis of defiling what was good there.

I admit I had a lot of fun complaining about and mocking this book...
Profile Image for Grack21.
154 reviews37 followers
March 2, 2016
This is the worst book. Ever. zero stars if I could. My god. Makes twilight look like Tolkien.
Profile Image for Juho Pohjalainen.
Author 5 books283 followers
May 17, 2019
Did you know that the Baldur's Gate books are canon, and the video games are not?

Profile Image for Benjamin Thomas.
1,966 reviews282 followers
November 25, 2014
In over 40 years of reading (and over 3000 books), this ranks as my number 1 worst of all time. No doubt I am a bit jaded because I did, in fact play the game and I absolutely hated the way the author messed with the characters. But putting that aside, I still can't imagine a worse novel. The plot was horrible and filled with holes, the setting descriptions were amateur at best, and characterization? Laughable. My daughter wrote better stuff when she was 4 years old...

I only kept reading due to my completist nature (yes, I also read the first Baldur's Gate novel) and the unbelivability of what was published as the novelization of the game. I learned my lesson with this one though. After reading it, I can now stop from completing a book if it totally sucks. Life is too short for such drek as this.
16 reviews
December 3, 2008
The worst book I've ever read (besides the first one). In fact, read purely to make fun of.
Profile Image for Katrin.
584 reviews6 followers
August 16, 2018
Well, I didn't play Baldurs gate, so I could dive into the book without any expectations. I love the forgotten realms, this is why I read it. It was not easy, one should have read the first book or played the games. Without that it was difficult to get into. I didn't sympathise with any character. I got dizzy from all the intrigues and counter intriques. The storyline was fast paced and at times interesting. But not enough to make me enjoy the book
Profile Image for Loukios Nousios.
24 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2021
Would have given it 1 star, but for nostalgia’s sake, I’ll give it 2.
Baldur’s gate 2 was a huge part of my teenage gaming years, having having played and replayed it dozens of times.
I didn’t expect much from this book, and I wasn’t surprised.

Here’s a quote from Jon Irenicus (the main antagonist) that captures the writing style and feel of the book:
Profile Image for Kaylin.
56 reviews
March 7, 2013
What the heck did I just read? Supposedly, this is a novelization of Baldur's Gate 2, but I refuse to accept it as such. Basically the only thing that this book had in common with the game was a few names. Even the events of the main plot only vaguely resembled the ones from the game. And the marvelous side-quests? Not a one is mentioned.

It was like Athans didn't want to include any character that he didn't absolutely have to. Imoen and Minsc, who should have at least made an appearance in the first book, were shoved in at the beginning because they had to be. Minsc was then pretty much discarded as soon as possible.

As annoying as this was, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as I didn't much care for the way many of the characters were portrayed, anyway. Irenicus came across as a really bland villain to me, and many of the others just seemed off.

I could go on for a few more paragraphs about how disappointed I was in this book, but I think I've ranted enough. Suffice it to say that I kept turning the pages because I wondered how much worse it could get. If you want to know what the story is, play the game.
Profile Image for Kagan Oztarakci.
178 reviews1 follower
October 21, 2017
"(She) didn't like that word: monsters. It was disrespectful. WHat made one creature an animal and another a monster? Were monsters animals that were new, threatening, or dangerous to people? Monsters behaved like animals, didn't they? When they were hungry, they ate. Calling something a monster made it easier to kill. She hated calling anything a monster."
25 reviews
May 27, 2019
I liked this book because the setting and the fact I played the game and I am obsessed with it. The book is poorly written though and doesn't even really follow any details.

Either this book is meant for 12 year olds, or it was written by one. Sorry to be so harsh, but it was just really disappointing.
7 reviews12 followers
January 14, 2020
This is just so bad.

I loved the games, but I'm not sure the author had ever played them - the characters in the book have nothing in common with their equivalents.

The main character is completely unlikable, as are their supporting cast and it is one of the worst books I've ever read, if not the worst (certainly nothing else springs to mind right now)
2 reviews1 follower
May 23, 2019
It was better than first one but still... Thing that you did with Minsc... He was the most iconic character in the game... Please stop. I will not handle if you will writte one more book from this universe.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
274 reviews
April 21, 2023
OK, I made it 3* because Goodreads would not allow 2 1/2 stars. This was boring. Not near the quality of other Forgotten Realms books. Characters were forgettable, battle scenes contrived and without imagination, attempts at multiple subplots failed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Stephen.
20 reviews
May 6, 2018
Read the other reviews, I think they say it plenty enough. This book just isn't worth reading unless you truly want to just read the series.
May 28, 2023
Una historia de lo más común, con unos personajes que no llegan a interesar y una narración confusa y pesada. Al final es un sinsentido difícil de clasificar
Profile Image for Naufri.
25 reviews
January 10, 2018
Al menos el primer libro se salvaba en cuanto a los personajes, porque si bien la reinterpretación del protagonista afectaba a los secundarios de manera más o menos coherente, en esta segunda parte esa misma reinterpretación sirve también para todos aquellos personajes que hacen grande la saga de juegos original y, que en este libro, tienen una burda participación. El autor toma su nombre y la nostalgia que nos trae a los que somos jugadores del videojuego y los va destruyendo página a página, mientras uno espera que aparezcan el menor número de personajes posible.
Por tomar un ejemplo: Minsc es un guerrero guardaespaldas que, tras asistir con sus propios ojos al asesinato de la mujer que juró proteger y tras su posterior histeria, solo encuentra consuelo en un pequeño hámster callejero al que adopta como consejero espiritual, pues en ese momento de extrema ansiedad se hace creer a sí mismo que proviene del espacio y que tiene la capacidad de comunicarse con él. Un personaje memorable, y con cierta relevancia en el videojuego ya que aparece en el primer minuto de juego, es representado en esta «adaptación» como un loco que le habla a un cricetino a través de unos diálogos absurdos y que, tras demostrar su inutilidad para algo más que no sea hablarle a este, termina ganándose la vida de sirviente en una taberna.

Eso por no hablar del protagonista que, sin ser respetuosos hacia el autor del libro ya que la gracia del juego es la infinita posibilidad de crear al personaje que uno quiera, es infantil, estúpido y simplón (al igual que toda la trama). Y mejor solo citar de forma breve sobre cómo algunos malvados son, en un principio, bien tratados con varios capítulos centrados en ellos, para luego cerrar su participación con casi media página.

El único motivo para cerrar esta trilogía de libros es que su última parte está escrita por otra persona. Desastre total.
Profile Image for Jesse.
1,062 reviews12 followers
September 17, 2010
And yet another let down in the "forgotten Realms" genre. I don't know why I keep reading these books...(it's because I can't help myself...)

This was the second, and final book, in the "Baldur's Gate" series. Now, I never played the game, so I don't have that conection with it, but I was still let down.

Actually, the begining was promising. I thought that this one was going to be better than the first. When I read the first book and wasn't very impressed, I guessed that it was one Athans first attempts (this is all hersey, I don't know that at all), but I thought maybe he would have improved his writing by the time he got to the next book. That didn't really happen.

The characters continued to be pretty shollow, the plot was jaunting and forced, and the endding was pretty abrupt and unsatisfying.

However, I will say that I read these book mostly for history of the "forgotten realms" world and for ideas for my DnD games and my own little stories. And there were several cool ideas. Unfortunatly, Athens didn't fallow them up. Actually, it seems like that is a fairly common thread in many of these 'older' FR books. I think maybe the editor or publishing department must have told them that they can only have so many pages. With these "Baldur's Gate" books it seemed unusually short.

Anywho, I'm not saying "don't read it". If you are like me and you want to read all of these books and pick out the small, yet priceless, nuggets of goodness, go for it. Just don't expect much.
3 reviews3 followers
February 7, 2013
I played the game. I approached the book, hoping for a least a decent, novel-quality After-Action-Report. I was hoping for an extension to the epic-ness and the lores and the sophisticated characterization that I so love in the game.

Instead, I find disappointment. The characters are weak (not physically but in terms of personality), unimpressive, dumbed-down and outright boring. I feel no attachment to the story or the character the way i feel about the game. I have the feeling that Philip had yet played the game when he wrote the book. Shame on you, Philip, bloody shame!
July 20, 2015
Kind of like the first book, but Imoen suddenly becomes a lesbian (note to author: girl-on-girl is hot, but not when someone like you is writing it) and Irenicus gets flanderised into a dirty pervert with no motivation.

Reading this is more painful than crucifixion, so anyone stupid enough to actually want to read this will probably find it in a depraved BDSM dungeon.

No wonder a better author was hired for the third book (which is also rubbish).
Profile Image for Deneir.
14 reviews
December 17, 2013
I couldn't finish the first book in the series so I'm knocking this off my Want To Read List. I highly doubt it gets better so pretend this book was never written and re-install the game. I just got the Enhanced Edition so I'll be enjoying this story the way it was meant to be enjoyed. By playing the Video Game!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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