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Laura Allen

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The Dark Forest
Joel Martinsen, Cixin Liu

The Dwarves: Book 1

The Dwarves: Book 1 - Markus Heitz It's been quite some time since I've read any pure high fantasy. Truth be told, a lot of it seems formulaic, repetitive, and predictable-- Michael Moorcock would be one notable exception, and of course Gene Wolfe, if you can categorize Wolfe at all-- and I'd stuck with magical/ mythical realism such as Tim Powers or John Wright, or satirists such as Terry Pratchett, for almost a decade.

But I confess: I love dwarves. I'm completely infatuated with all things dwarven-- the beards and axes, the grumbling and quaffing, the mountains and giant piles of loot-- and when I ran across this book, I decided to give it another go.

Unfortunately, my original opinions were confirmed, more or less. "The Dwarves" is an entertaining book, no doubt, and I can't say I didn't enjoy reading it; hardcore fantasy fans should find it very appealing. It has all the usual elements of a fantasy book-- quests and monsters, sorcerers both good and evil, contested thrones and love triangles, treachery and comeuppance, etc.-- and the pacing is quick, eventful. And of course there are dwarves, lots and lots of dwarves.

But there are also lots and lots of stock phrases, characters, situations, and resolutions. It's predictable pretty much everywhere, and readers who are the least bit tired of the usual fantasy setups will probably find themselves at least a little annoyed with this book.

That said, it's still an entertaining read. I may read another or two in the series eventually, if I'm bored or in need of a dwarf fix. It's no "Wizard Knight," but there is plenty of quaffing. That counts for something, right?