• Reading,  Review

    Book Review: The Dwarves

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    There are a lot of standard tropes and clichés here, Tolkien-esque fantasy seen through a continental lens and translated back into English for North American consumption.

    In fact, the farther I got into the book, the more it read like the novelization of someone’s RPG campaign where the events just get more and more implausible. The main character can be talked into just about anything so long as he thinks it’s for the greater good. The rest of the characters have varying, and variable, degrees of depth, but are mostly caricatures.

    There’s the beserker warrior dwarf.

    His brother, the calm warrior dwarf.

    The noble but misguided king dwarf.

    The sneaky, backstabbing, traitorous dwarf.

    The cute, love interest, girl warrior dwarf.

    The grouchy but kindly old wizard.

    The bitchy wizardess with a heart of gold.

    The arrogant and imperious dark elf.

    And another one of him.

    The arrogant and imperious regular elf, who turns out to be a reasonable guy once you get past the arrogant and imperious exterior.

    Denethor. Um, that is, the good guy who studied the bad guy just a little too closely and wound up being subverted to become the worst traitor the world has ever known.

    Legions of thoroughly useless orcs who can’t outfight anyone with less than a twenty to one margin but who, off screen, seem to have no problems capture and butchering entire cities full of people.

    The overall plot is less a plot than an overly complicated series of quests for the main character with a lot of random encounters and pointless fighting on the way.

    Overall rating: 2 stars. While the translation is excellent, this doesn’t read as well as RPG novels in the 80s did.

    And there are five books in the series.

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