Author D. A. Adams has a sure and convincing touch with his world-building, creating a fully-formed fantasy earth for his dwarves and other creatures, complete with history, politics and hope for the future, and he makes me want to read it—no mean feat as I’m usually not keen on overly detailed backstory. I’m not sure how he does it—I wish I knew—but this backstory feeds seamlessly into the coming-of-age tale of a young royal dwarf looking for a magical artifact, or possibly his half-elven roots, or just the truth of his own strengths and weaknesses. I want to know the background because the foreground is so complete and so intriguing. I want to know why and where they are, whose betrayal led to which fractured loyalty, and more. And I want to follow these intriguingly flawed characters, watching them learn and grow.
There’s all the fun of a well-designed game of dungeons and dragons, all the thrills of the quest, all the intrigue of politics and history, and a pleasing recognition of two-sided conflict—no simplistic black and white answers, but rather a landscape where characters and ideas can change and grow. Maybe that’s why I liked the backstories, because they give depth to that landscape, and the characters are truly growing.
If you love intricate world-building, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this book. If you like action and adventure, swords and arrows and more, you'll love it too. And if you’re eager to see those working-class dwarves take a stand, this has to be the series for you. It's even got great illustrations that really do complement the story!
Disclosure: I got this ebook on a deal and saved it for a thoroughly enjoyable rainy day’s read.