Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Review: The War of the Dwarves
Unfortunately that was the case with The War of the Dwarves. While I enjoyed the first installment the sequel just didn’t measure up. It took me just over a month of active reading to finish the 716 pages. Normally I’m a fast reader, but lately I’ve been suffering from reading fatigue so I read this on a sporadic basis. The thing is, up until the last 100 pages, I was never engaged to such an extent that I couldn’t put the book down and continue with something else – never a good sign.
As with The Dwarves, the plot is pretty straightforward and the few twists are fairly predictable. I can see how this might make the story more accessible to casual readers, but serious fantasy fans will find it a tad too simplistic. Where the novel really disappoints this time round is with the characters. They seem emotionally stunted to an infuriating degree and, for the most part, their actions (and reactions) just didn’t ring true. It felt as if the characters were being dragged along to fit the plot, and not that the plot developed in response to the characters actions. One example of this is where Tungdil is betrayed by someone and he just shrugs it off in order to face the threat to Girdlegard. This is no small betrayal and I would have expected him to be completely devastated as a result. Century old feuds, which played a large role in the first instalment, are also set aside far too easily for my liking.
Heitz follows in the footsteps of George R.R. Martin by killing off some major characters, but in this case it’s used as an easy way out of resolving conflicts. The deaths don’t seem to have much of an emotional impact on the rest of the characters or, with the exception of one or two, the reader.
The last 100 pages or so offers a much needed redemption for the rest of the novel. The ending is riveting and action-packed. It ends on a happy note with a truly poignant moment or two. I only wish there was more of this earlier in the novel.
The War of the Dwarves isn’t a bad novel as such. It has its moments and turned out to be an enjoyable read overall. It feels geared more to the casual reader. If you are looking for a light, entertaining escape into fantasy this might be for you.
The rating: 5/10 (Average)