The Black Library, p/b, Â£7.99
Reviewed by Steve Dean
Before men came onto the scene, dwarves and elves lived in peace and harmony, sent each other flowers and never forgot an anniversary. Then, along came an outside party, ambushed a few dwarven caravans and framed the elves, and suddenly it’s all-out war.
There are one or two attempts to prevent the war, a few dwarfs and elves who try for reconciliation, but no one listens, and that’s it, thousands of years of trade and prosperity flushed down the gardarobe.
And that, pretty much, is it. There are some characters in it, kings and sons of kings and common folk, some messing about with an airship and an, as yet, unexplained journey into a dungeon. The characters are barely two dimensional. There isn’t much more to the plot than I’ve explained, and there’s page after page, chapter after chapter, of blah. How the author has managed to make such a momentous event so dull I don’t know, but done it he has.
And talk about holes in the plot, some of them are large enough to fly a dragon through. For instance, elves are supposed to be smart, but not one of them can work out they are being set-up. The blurb actually says the two races have been ‘stalwart’ allies for thousands of years, yet they leap at each others throats at the slightest excuse.
If you went through the book and took out the words ‘elf’ and ‘dwarf’ and replaced it with ‘a person’ no one would notice. This might as well be two armies of blancmanges fighting for all the races are given any flavour.
This is the first book in a planned trilogy, if I was BL I wouldn’t bother with the other two. This is also one of those ‘Time Of Legends’ books, a series that has so far failed to deliver a single decent novel.
I don’t know what’s happening over at the BL offices at the moment, but quality has gone through the floor. It might be time to send the accountants back to their profit-and-loss spread sheets and get a proper editor into the novels department.