My review of The Fate of the Dwarves by Markus Heitz
“Vraccas defend us: He has returned! Returned as the Commander of Evil.”
The land of Girdlegard has fallen to the rule of the Mad, Evil and Monsters Tungdil and Ireheart sacrificed friend and love to set it free from.
The Barrier is now failing and the Black Pit awakens. The peace and protection long fought by Tungdil will shatter and the evil contained within will roam free once more.
On this day of anguish and despair has a hero long through dead arisen to aid his once friends or to conquer a land besieged.
With armor black as night and a countenance of bitterness and determination has Girdlegards greatest hero come once again.
The Fate of the Dwarves is the fourth book in the Dwarves series and like many books before it, and many to come there, are traces of true magic, wit and secrets untold; unfortunately these aspects of the story have been greatly under-capitalised in the conclusion to the Dwarves saga. What I have truly enjoyed from this series has been the personality of the characters. Ireheart has been one of my most loved characters and I was greatly relieved that this has not been lost in this instalment. Thankfully, in the events portrayed there has been a greater emphasis on Ireheart as a character and he really comes into his own more. His playfulness, lust for battle and devotion to friends has earned him a place in my heart.
It is in this way that I think the book excels, several of the newly introduced characters have really been kicked up a gear, most notable was the descendant of the Great Rodario; Rodario the Seventh. I feel this is the character that original Radario should have evolved into in the previous books. While being no less cocky than his progenitor, he is smart, capable, ruthless and just as confused by women as the rest of us men. My one negative thought about the character is “if only he could have been a Maga”. I almost feel a hint, a scent on the air but it does not go anywhere, a recurring theme for aspects of the book.
The story… I honestly do not know where to begin. The Black Abyss, home to the most vial, loathsome and destructive creatures the land of Girdlegard and beyond has ever seen and yet it doesn’t go anywhere. The Abyss is a constant in the story but the author really fails to exploit this mine of possibility. The threat is ever present, however you never feel like this chasm of evil is really that frightening. The same can be said for the lesser plots, which seem to number greatly but never get beefed up. As a reader you don’t feel connected to the story, it’s more like watching the extra at the back of the Star Trek scene who just follows Kirk, Spock and McCoy about and dies after 5 minutes. Except here He Just Will Not Die.
There is the making of a true Dark Lord or Evil Mr. Rogers but there is no back story; no anathema for the character and it just feels empty. Tungdil as the hero is also wanting, there is some true gold (no pun intended) in his back-story and his struggle for survival but we only get a taste of it. How he survived, the mystery behind the armour he wears and the dramatic change in personality. These elements had the making of a truly exceptional character unlike the Tungdil of old and one I would have loved to read about again.
The Fate of the Dwarves does not feel like a conclusion; there are too many unanswered questions and unfinished plots. While trying to capture the threat of the retuning evil and the plight of Girdlegard and its people, these underlying themes do not get the detail they deserve. This last instalment could have become two novels which would have given it the breathing room to the development some of the new elements like Tungdil, the Evil from the Black Abyss, the desolation of Girldlegard from internal forces.
There are elements in this story that I think are true to the series and the characters I have committed to. If you are a fan of the series I think you will enjoy the story, but be warned there might be more questions unanswered than answered.
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