Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: The Beasts of Valhalla

An enjoyable novel that goes from murder mystery to James Bond film. The lead character is interesting, an ex-circus dwarf turned criminologist, karate expert, and private investigator. He has little trouble with anything a dwarf deals with on a daily basis. I can suspend my disbelief for mad scientist shenanigans, but can a dwarf drive an unmodified car? Petty, I know, but this is the main character we're talking about. I forgot he was a dwarf, and it felt like the author did, too. It's a good rollicking story, but left me feeling rushed and like much had been forgotten. The first act is excellent, but once the huge conspiracy unfolds, it becomes a very different story, more plot driven than character driven, and while we meet some very interesting characters, they are mere kindling for to keep the steam boiler running. One major helper simply disappears.

I'll admit, I read this as I am tying my own novel together and digging out problems at the root, so I was quite critical with this one. For a quick fun read, it works. I was expecting a lot more, and left disappointed. I am told this book was a turning point for the series, and I will go back to see if it had a more emotional foundation in the earlier books.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
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Chad Eagleton said...

I remember liking them a lot back in the day. Especially the first three, with An Affair of Sorcerers being a particular standout for me.

I have a number of them on my shelf and have often considered going back to re-read them, but, honestly, I'm a little nervous that I'd dislike them now.

Thomas Pluck said...

I think a lot has changed in the detective story in the last twenty five or so years. But it was still a fun read.

Josh Stallings said...

It is wonderful to read an actual critique, not a rehash of the story, a, ass smooch or a hatchet job., a true critical appraise. Well done sir. And book with an ex-circus dwarf and mad scientist shenanigans, I'm in like Flint.

Thomas Pluck said...

Thanks, Josh. I know, as a writer, we want everything we do to get "5 stars AWESOME BEST BOOK since blah blah blah" but when everything is great... we're bullshitting ourselves. 3 means "good." 4 means "damn good." and 5 means "unforgettable."

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