Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Book review: The Daring Do Adventure Collection

Daring Do Adventure Collection box set
It really is quite a substantial box
Time for Louder Yay's Hearth's Warming Special review! Today, I'll be taking a look at The Daring Do Adventure Collection, the box-set of three DD books (and some other bits and bobs) by G. M. Berrow. This isn't the cheapest item to buy: The Book Depository is currently charging just under £40 for the US edition (pub. Little, Brown) that I'll be reviewing. There's also a UK edition published by Orchard, but I don't have that. Is the Collection worth the substantial outlay? Let's have a look...


I was pretty pleased on this score. The set comes in a substantial, nicely decorated box with the MLP logo worked into the artwork relatively subtly. The box is cardboard, but it's well constructed and feels sturdy. Inside, you get the three books, which are all attractive, nice-to-handle hardbacks with very suitable cover designs and an exclusive full-colour frontispiece by Franco Spagnolo in each. You also get a replica of the safe-keeping box from "Daring Don't", inside which is a slightly disappointing blind-bag sized gold-painted (all over, eyes included!) Daring Do figurine.

The golden relic of Daring Do
And now we know why Daring Do can also beat a cockatrice...
The stories

The books are presented as though written by A. K. Yearling, which is a nice touch. The first volume, Daring Do and the Masked Thief of Marapore, sets the tone. It's a rollicking adventure, as befits this pony, with plenty of action and the (very) occasional Easter egg for fans of Pony's expanded universe. I got into the story pretty quickly, though it's worth mentioning that you do have to be fairly familiar with Daring's character as there isn't much basic explanation. This shouldn't matter, given the set's target market. Maybe a teensy bit rushed at the end, but otherwise this is a good start to the series.

This is followed by Daring Do and the Eternal Flower, which I felt was the weakest of the three books, despite the presence of Ahuizotl. It still has some memorable sequences, including a scene set under water and a nice set-piece in a scientific institute, but lets itself down with a few too many niggles. For example, at one point Daring is suddenly revealed to have an empty vial secreted about her person; this comes out of nowhere and isn't set up at all. The frontispiece is also the weakest, showing a red dragon... even though the creature is clearly described as green in the text!

The three books in the collection
Not shown: Daring Do and the Quest for the Toasted Marmite Sandwich
Things pick up again with the concluding story, Daring Do and the Forbidden City of Clouds. You do have to suspend disbelief a little to accept that Twilight (in particular) wouldn't have discovered the eponymous city during one of her adventures in research. If you can do that, it's an intriguing place, enough so that I wouldn't be surprised to see fanfics set there. The characters are interesting (Dr Caballeron makes an appearance) and there are hints of a quite remarkable pony society in these remotest parts of Equestria. The open ending also leaves plenty of space for future volumes.


The Daring Do Adventure Collection is a pretty nice set. The stories themselves are generally quite well done, though they're not consistently up to Berrow's highest standards. Presentation is excellent: the book covers, in particular, are perfect and the spoof biography for A. K. Yearling is brilliant. The golden idol  is disappointing, and the price is high – this is very much a collector's item – but it's probably worth the outlay if you're a fan of the chapter books and/or Daring Do. Oh, and that dedication to Lauren Faust is a nice touch, too.

Franco Spagnolo's frontispiece for the first book
"To Equestria... and beyond!"
  • Very nice presentation for the most part
  • The stories generally capture Daring's character well
  • Just the occasional joke/reference for the brony market
  • The second book is a little disappointing
  • The figurine doesn't look great
  • It really is a bit on the expensive side


  1. I noticed that there is a new one on Amazon, via Book Depository, just (flutter)shy of £30 and with £3 for postage. Tempting, given this review, most definitely but unfortunately I can't justify even that price. Still, with luck there'll be a point where the price drops a bit further. It does look all very nicely presented, that's for sure, but it's a bit of a shame if the figurine isn't quite as good as it could have been. One to definitely keep a look out for then. :)

    1. Well, the books themselves may eventually be reprinted and sold separately as cheaper paperbacks. I don't know that, but it wouldn't surprise me. They wouldn't look or feel quite so nice, but the stories would be the same. :)

    2. That would probably be better then, if they do. I'll have to keep an eyeball out to see if that's announced then. :)