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"I may not know how to fly but I know how to read and that's almost the same thing."-- Gregory Maguire, Out of Oz

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Friday, July 19, 2013

The Dwarves by Markus Heitz


This story is about a dwarf named Tungdil, raised by humans, who is sent on an elaborate journey, to reunite with his kinsmen and save the dwarven race from doom.

The beginning of this book is cheesey and hard to get into. Disease and war is quickly devastating the dwarven race, and everybody is fighting with everybody for no apparent reason. There are metaphors that are intended to give a poetic visual, but don't make a lot of sense in hindsight.The character seem incapable of experiencing emotion which makes the story hard to connect to. The characters keep time in Orbits and Solar Cycles; I've determined and Orbit is like a day, and a Solar Cycle is like a year, but if an alternative time unit is going to be introduced, it should also be explained at some point.

The original was written in German, and I think part of the cheese is that the translator tried to translate exactly...Not that I speak German, so I could be wrong, and it might be cheesy in both languages, but if its anything like Spanish, translations don't always need to be exact... For example, the names of the Magi...Nudin the Knowledge-Lusty... I might have gone with Nudin the Philonoist (means lover of knowledge) or Nudin the Scholar. Maira the Life-Preserver, could have been Maira the Preservationist, instead of being named after a floatation device... But again, I'm torn between the oddness of the titles and my inability to read the original text.

On the upside, there were some attributes that made this story better. First the ease of flow; sometimes in epic fantasy there is a lot of storytelling, a lot of side trips down where the ancestors went when they were alive... There isn't any of that, not really, so the hardest thing you're going to have to remember is the difference between Gandobur and Gandogar. I think the adventure was decent, fast paced once Tungdil's journey started; plenty of battles and disputes between the characters, and there was a large range of personalities. I think the plot was easy to follow, the bad guys are always clear from the good guys. Everything tied up nice and neat at the end.

I liked it enough I might read the next installment...eventually.

Rating: 3