Reviewed by Richard Saar
I have to confess: I love Dwarves... ever since I read J. R. R. Tolkien's, The Hobbit when I was about 12 years old, I've been fascinated by these mythical subterranean creatures. There's just something inherently cool about them, perhaps it's because at 6 foot tall and not exactly being a fan of things underground, I'd suck at being a Dwarf, so their world somehow seems more interesting.
So, when I saw the cover of Markus Heitz's, The Dwares, quite literally staring at me at my local bookshop, I simply had to stop. (note to publishers: covers matter!) When I saw it was also the first of a four book series, well let's just say this book was coming home with me no matter what
All it needed to be was good... and it was!
The Dwarves is set in the mythical land of Girdlegard, a place encompassing loosely bound empires of Men, Elves and Dwarves, in fact there are not one, but five Dwarven Kingdoms. Overlaid on this landscape are the "Enchanted realms" where powerful Magi draw their power from the land itself.
However, all is not well in Girdlegard as forces from the "Perished Lands" have brought down one of the mighty Dwarven Kingdoms that circles and protects the land and have struck right into the heart of the realms destroying the easy balance that has existed for many years.
Our main Character is an orphan Dwarf who lives in the land of Men, sort of adopted by one of the powerful Magi. He's drawn to working as the Magi's blacksmith and has never seen another Dwarf, although he wishes dearly on day he could. Soon enough he is forced to journey back into the world of the Dwarves, a world he's never known, and battle the forces of the Perished Land, Men, Elves and even other Dwarves to save Girdlegard.
He embarks on a quest to forge an Axe impossible to forge, in the one place he can't go, not only to save his people, but also to find out why he was abandoned by his people.
As one who's read my fair share of Fantasy books, I was a bit sceptical that anything new could be brought to such a seemingly generic world setting... the hero off on a quest kind of thing... However, there really is enough new and different here to well and truly have kept my interest throughout.
The world is an interesting one, it's well crafted and it's great to see such a richly detailed exploration of Dwarven Kingdoms and culture, quite frankly for me they are the star of the book. The title is The Dwarves, so they pretty much had to be!
Our hero, and for the most part, the rest of the characters are well rounded, if a little generic at times, but they work well as a cast and the story really does clip along at a good pace.
One slightly negative note is the Author's use of the work "cycle" instead of day. I get it, they don't call days... well, days in this world, but I as the reader still do and after the 100th or so time of reading cycle instead of day, it got a bit tiring.
IBR Rating: ★★★★
Recommendation: It's a really good read for fans of Dwarves specifically and High fantasy in general, I'll absolutely be reading the next three books!
Source: Purchased, from a real book store...