Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Difficulty with Dwarves by Craig Shaw Gardner

Before I begin this review, I must yet again drop another series/author, Wendy Roberts. What's sad is the author didn't break my pet peeves (one pet peeve - discussion further down), the writing wasn't too bad, the subject was one I was interested in, and the plot was OK. What made me drop this book was the main character. She grated on my nerves until I wanted to create her in flesh just so I could slap her. I read books to escape my boring life, not to be dragged into despair. The story takes place in Seattle, Washington, which my husband has informed me is one of the most depressing places to be because it rains all the time which means the body doesn't get the required sunlight, thus causing depression which in turn can bring on suicidal tendencies. OK, I'll buy Seattle has a high suicide rate, but I don't need to read all the gory details of each suicide or unattended death and the affects thereof. This does not a cozy make. The main character also claimed she got a thrill helping the spirits crossover and yet she was downright hostile to them, upset they were taking her valuable time. Another thing the author did do that I will not tolerate is she became inconsistent. At the beginning of a book, the main character is cleaning up a suicide's mess and the victim is there speaking with her. Later, the main character laments many, many times how she cannot communicate with suicide spirits at all, including her brother (who's death she still mourns years later). Huh? Uh, not OK. I should've taken the sign and just dropped the book there.

Now, the review.

The difficulty of this book is it's the first in the Wuntvor series, but the continuing saga in another set of tales of Ebenezum and Wuntvor. I didn't know this little fact before I started the book. As I was reading I kept feeling I was missing something. Further research revealed I was missing a lot of somethings, three books to be exact. I'm a little anal-retentive about reading a series in order so this threw me off and kind of annoyed me that I didn't know about the first three books. I wanted to like the story, it has a feel of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with excerpts from the writings of Ebenezum and Wuntvor preceding each chapter and Shrek in the fairy-tale-gone-wrong mode.

This story follows Wuntvor as he travels to the Eastern Kingdom to seek an aid to help his master end his sneezing fits anytime he gets close to magic. Very difficult to help when you're kingdom is constantly under attack by the demon council. To aid him on his quest are: Tap the Brownie who insists on telling everyone about Brownie Power; Snarks the truth-telling demon; Hendrek the warrior cursed to say "doom" and who's rented a weapon titled Headbasher; Alea a former girlfriend who's part of the Dragon and Damsel team; Hubert, said dragon of the Dragon and Damsel team; a lovesick unicorn after Wuntvor's lap; Guxx Unfufadoo a rhyming demon hell bent on recovering his throne; Brax, Guxx's loyal salesdemon servant; and Norei, Wuntvor's beloved with a jealous streak. Meanwhile, they officially meet the dwarves on page 144 of a 188-page book. I was a little disappointed because if they're going to have difficulties with the title of the book, I wondered if they should've meet them sooner? But I didn't write this story, just the review. Anyway, they all go looking for Mother Duck who might know the cure for the wizard's sneezings, but she might have other plans.

I might have also not been in the mood to read it. I might get the first three (or the first of the first) and see how it grabs me.


hamilcar barca said...

Here's hoping you decide to read (at least the first one of) the first three books in the series. Any book that brings to mind HHGTTG, piques my curiosity. But I'd rather wait until you see if such surreal zaniness was present before Book #4.

Christina said...

Yeah, I'm hoping if I read the first I'll get into the story. I felt like I was in the middle of a show in the middle of a series of a spin-off. I liked some of the characters, I just felt lost with the plot and the main character.

L said...

I read books for the same reason you do. I'd prefer to wait on being depressed until I read my own book of life. When I'm dead and won't care anyway.

Jocelyn said...

This is actually one of the series that I have read, and I've always enjoyed them. They're pretty light, you can move through them quickly, and they just amuse me so much.

I had actually re-read the first book about a month ago, but I haven't read the others yet b/c I've been skipping around from book to book. I hope that you give the Ebenezum series a try. Of course, if I liked they say there's no accounting for taste. :)

Christina said...

I really wanted to like the book (parts of it were cute/funny), but catching it in the middle of the series (even though it's this first of Wuntvor) I think threw me off.