This is one of those examples where you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. For some reason I really didn't like the cover of this book, however the content was actually not all that bad. It is a shame that by this time many of the people that really liked the original Fighting Fantasy gamebooks had probably moved onto bigger and better things (such as computer roleplaying games) because by this time the complexity of the books had risen quite a lot, not so much with the rules, but rather the way the book played through.
For instance the author uses a couple of puzzles in the pictures (one which required you to take six squares and construct a cube, which would mean that you would have to photocopy the page because to be able to do it properly you would have to cut the squares out). While this book didn't use this particular method, there were times where you had to write a word down, and if you had this particular word on your sheet when you came to a specific paragraph something would happen, however what this book would do was say that if a certain phrase appeared in the text then you had to add a certain amount to the paragraph and turn to the new paragraph.
This story has you as an experienced ranger (all of these later books have you playing somebody who is a skilled adventurer) who is sent on a quest to open up a path through a dark forest that has been cut off by an invading force. There is also an element of political intrigue because the enemy has developed the ability to shape shift and as such they have infiltrated a number of high positions. The adventure takes you through the forest and into mountains at the other end where you must hunt down and kill the leader of this army.
This one was quite difficult though because, like the others in this part of the series, if you make the wrong choice you end up skipping important parts of the adventure. For instance, I did not pick up the mysterious potion which meant that I was not able to get some important information from an ally. I also missed one option which took me to a tomb that I was supposed to go to which meant that when I got to the final battle I was toast because I did not have the amulet. Also because I went the wrong way in the mountains I ended up missing another important encounter which meant that, once again, when I got to the final battle I was once again toast.
Despite the difficulties in this one I still thought that the story was quite good, and that the way they had set the adventure up using the techniques that they are now using are adding another dimension to these books beyond moving through a dungeon, killing monsters, and avoiding traps. However, as I have mentioned, by this time Fighting Fantasy was facing competition from many quarters, including rival series such as Grailquest and Lone Wolf. Also, with the development of more sophisticated computer roleplaying games, the time of the adventure gamebook was coming to an end.