My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement. Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers and continue on at your own risk!
I’ll be honest, out of all the Tolkien-esqe characters (elves, dwaves, humans, hobbits, etc.), dwarves would be last on my list to read about. So, I was hesitant to pick up this book. The sample (about 75 pages long) really drew me in, but after that, the story seemed to ebb and flow. Here’s what I thought…
This book reminded me of a Lord of the Rings, from a dwarves perspective. The hero, Tungdil has to go on a journey to rid the land of an evil threatening to take over. Along the way he gathers a mixed group of companions (a wizard, other dwarves, a half alf, a son of a god, a human) who help him accomplish his goals.
Plot Score: 3/5
Location, Location, Location
This takes place in Girdlegard, a land divided up into different human kingdoms- each with it’s own wizard. Then each of the five races of dwarves have their own kingdom, along with the various races of elves. Tungdil does discover there are tunnels connecting the dwarf kingdoms, which makes it easy for him to travel long distances very quickly.
Religion is what disturbed me most about this location. Everyone had a favorite deity (Vraccas for the dwarves, Sitalia for the elves, etc.) and each race is in perilous danger, and close to extinction, but the gods don’t make a single appearance. In a fantasy world, you have a chance to allow proof for existence of deities, but they were just absent.
Location Score: 3/5
Characters and Relationships
Tungdil- he is our window into this world. He is a dwarf that grew up with humans, and is not being introduced to the bigger world- and is meeting dwarves for the fist time. All he knows about dwarves he learned from books (just like us!)
This book had a lot of great components, but I think characters is where the book fell short for me. I didn’t really like any of the characters, Tungdil was a goody two shoes, Lot-Ionan was a hopeless dreamer (in all his 287 cycles he had never once used his powers to kill or harm), Andokai is a b*tch, Djerun (probably the biggest bad a$$ of them all) never speaks. I will say I enjoyed Boindil (he had some of the best lines in the book – sort of like Maggie Smith on Downton Abbey), and Rodario, who saved the crew many times with his costumes and acting.
Characters Score: 2/5
Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)
Gods do not exist? They call on Vraccas so many times, you’d think the guy would actually show up at some point. Rodario points out “Deities need lessor beings to adore them, or they fade and die. They lose their purpose; there’s no reason for them to exist.”
Bigger Meaning Score: 1/5
Opening Line: “Pale fog filled the canyons and valleys of the Gray Range.” I think an opening line should draw me in, and this one falls short for me.
I found myself skimming a lot of this book. There is a lot of action, so the story moves, but with over 700 pages, I felt there were sections that didn’t move fast enough. It felt like the author created conflict every step of the way, with everything being worked out in the end. It becomes uninteresting to read, when you know that these challenges aren’t going to stop them, and that they are going to win in the end.
Style Score: 3/5
– I almost really enjoyed this book, but not enough to read the next ones. I did read the summary of the plots so I could condense 700 pages into two paragraphs.
– Did anyone else feel like this was similar to the Lord of the Rings?