Release date: June 30th, 2020
Young readers will laugh along as a group of modern-day kids unravel the mystery of why fairy tale characters have invaded their school days and taken over their seaside town.
First, Arty finds a sweaty, bearded ax-swinging warrior Dwarf scaring his dogs. Soon enough, his best-friends Emma, Cry, and other middle-school classmates also find fairy tale creatures—Elves, Spriggans, Pixies, and a hoped-for Dragon.
Fans of tabletop role-playing games will love getting lost in Emma and Arty’s adventure—guided by their love of maps, old books, and public libraries. As they learn more about the cause of all the fairy creature chaos, things turn dark and dangerous. They’ll need help from their friends and a few new allies to confront the Gwyllion, that legendary Old Woman of the Mountains, whose sinister plan turns the neighborhood into a fantasy battleground.
Dwarf Story is a fun, introductory, long (a little too much I think) novel to the fantasy/low fantasy genre. It was definitely a prime example of the journey being 90% of the story. The younger readers this book would appeal to might get bored with all of the fluff in this book and it makes the book rather long. I do think that the younger readers will enjoy reading about fairy tale creatures that they are familiar with already as well as learning about ones they may not have heard of. It started out pretty strong but it was getting increasingly easier to put the book down for the middle portion. Towards the end, the action picks back up again but it wasn’t enough to recover from the lull in my eyes.
The end chapters and final “battle” were so incredibly disappointing and anticlimactic to me after all of that story buildup. Most of the characters that you would think would have large roles to play had either no appearance whatsoever or just a little passage. I did like the unique formatting of the chapters – they are told in the first person but the characters are writing a book of their experiences. The chapters are also in varying lengths with only being a single sentence but it added another layer of fun.
Arty & Emma are all right as far as middle-grade characters go and I liked Emma far better than Arty. For being so young it’s a little odd reading about a character like Arty – scientific, fact, note, and organization driven. Emma is far easier to connect with as a character and is practically vibrant in contrast with Arty. The book does state that they complement each other well and I would have to agree there. I couldn’t stand Cry; his opinions on the fairies, that he kept coming up with ideas on how to “use” them like they’re objects or referring to them like characters of a video game? No, just… no. I would have liked more background on certain characters in the book mainly Mary, Ted (he could’ve been swapped for Cry), Gwyllion, and Mr. Alphabet.
I absolutely loved the unique box and items that came with my copy. Sadly one of our cats dealt a killing blow to the axe – inflatables don’t stand up well to murder mittens. I would like to thank Books Forward PR for the opportunity to read this entertaining but strange middle-grade fantasy – all opinions are my own. Even though I had issues with Dwarf Story I would still recommend this book to younger readers who enjoy books that feature fantasy, fairy creatures, legends, and puzzles.