GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Sheep Review: Brotherhood of Dwarves, by D.A. Adams | I Smell Sheep

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sheep Review: Brotherhood of Dwarves, by D.A. Adams

As anyone who has ever played Dungeons & Dragons with me can attest, I love dwarves. I love their tendency towards the Lawful Good alignment, I love their dour outlook on life, I love their emphasis on tradition and history and the fact they're metallurgical experts is an added bonus. This strong preference for dwarves has brought me into conflict with numerous people, including Carvan who among his many English failings is a preference for elves. What with their prancing around the forest and being in harmony with nature and not being able to wear heavy armor because their brittle little bones snap like twigs. Hate elves. Where was I? Oh yes. So anyway, many fantasy books have dwarves or dwarf-like characters in their universes, but the dwarves are seldom the main character. And to an extent that makes sense because the majority of the fantasy-reading audience is human, so we like human main characters because they're easier to understand. However I recently found out that there is an entire series of fantasy books in which dwarves are the main characters. Needless to say, I was excited.

In the first chapter Adams provides some important setup for his fantasy world and divides the dwarves into three distinct ethnicities. To the south are the Tredjards, known for their black beards and their war-like disposition, the result of constantly fending off the attacks of orc slavers. In a sort of central location are the Ghaldeons with brown or red beards, and who are more focused on commerce and interaction with humans, ogres and the other dwarves than with fighting. However the Ghaldeons are in a distinct decline after many of their lands have been conquered by the human Great Empire. Finally to the north in relatively remote mountain ranges are the Kiredurks with mostly blond beards. The Kiredurks are not particularly warlike, instead focusing on history, art and the promotion of culture, and because they live in rather remote mountain ranges are largely ignored by enemies.  

The Brotherhood of Dwarves follows the adventures of Roskin, heir to the Kiredurk throne, although he is far from a conventional Kiredurk. Roskin's mother was actually an elf, which makes Roskin the first half-elf half-dwarf I have seen...well...ever. As a result Roskin has a black beard instead of the usual blond of the Kiredurks and is constantly beset with an urge for adventure and excitement which his kingdom simply does not provide. Fortunately for Roskin it is a tradition among the Kiredurks that each heir is given one year to sow their wild oats before they have to take up the mantle of leadership. Roskin decides to use his year to find a platinum statue, the titular Brotherhood of Dwarves, which represented the unity of the Kiredurk and Ghaldeon dwarves before it was taken by the Great Empire. Legend has it that the Brotherhood is in a secret vault of the fortress Black Rock and the general who built that fortress has recently been exiled. If Roskin can find the infamous general known as Evil Blade, he might be able to reclaim the priceless artifact.

Overall, I have a couple of issues with the book, despite enjoying it. There is a lot of exposition that's kind of dumped on us throughout the book. Exposition is perfectly fine and whenever you make a new world it's important to explain a lot of elements, and I appreciate that Adams has put a lot of thought into his world. Unfortunately I felt a lot of the exposition was sort of dumped on us at once. I feel like it could have been incorporated into the book a little better rather than a third-person omniscient narrator telling us. Again, just my opinion.

Another issue that many people might have with the book is it has a lot of standard fantasy elements. The usual races are all there: human, dwarf, elf, orc, with the added bonus of ogre. The orcs and humans are evil, mainly because they practice slavery and genocide, and a lot of fantasy tropes are invoked. So in some respects parts of The Brotherhood of Dwarves treads the same ground that we've been through countless times before.

What I did like about the book, though, was the character development. Roskin and his ally Red go through significant character development throughout the book, which I appreciated and I found it to be realistic. Red and Roskin are at least developed characters rather than cardboard cut-outs. I sort of disagree with where this book left off but it at least left me willing to read the other books.

Ultimately if you're not really interested in dwarves like I am, you can probably pass this book by. There isn't anything here you can't find somewhere else. If you do like dwarves, though, then I'd recommend picking this book up. I definitely will be reading more books in this series from Adams and hope the books become more refined as the series continues.
- Kalpar
3 1/2 Sheep

You can find D.A. Adams:

We received this copy of Brotherhood of Dwarves from Seventh Star Press. Check out their website for other books in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror genre with some amazing art work.

Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher located in Lexington, KY.  We specialize in speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, and horror).  The company  was established in October of 2008

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