A Gathering of Dwarfs: Dead Dragons Gold...
In A Gathering of Dwarfs, Snow White's seven dwarves--having fulfilled their duty to keep her safe until she had awaken and cursed the Evil Queen to do no harm--disband to set off on their own adventures.
Meanwhile, Kane, a young man with a taste for adventure and an idea to make himself wildly rich, becomes entangled in the story as the dwarves are called to a meeting place, one by one. It's a tale of hijinx and adventure, where the characters are far from pure and wholesome and their motives are just as muddy.
There were a few things I enjoyed. I thought it was an interesting take on the tale, showing the dwarves and Crudith (the Evil Queen) after Snow White. We find each of the dwarves mid-adventure, taking on pygmies and demons and sorcerers. I liked how the stories of the dwarves were woven in with the story of Kane and his quest, and how that all tied together. And I also felt the world was well built and vivid, and the characters unique.
There were a few things that didn't work for me. Like the prologue, which details Snow White's rescue by Prince Charming. I love my fairy tales, but this was so irreverent to the original that I was borderline offended. Charming was crude and unappealing, the focus on the females in the scene were all about sex appeal, and apparently, Charming's awful behavior could be forgotten with a single kiss. And Snow White willingly pranced off with that
. Oh yeah, and it's implied that most of the dwarves had fondled Snow White at one point or another. Just ugh.
There were a few more typos and mistakes than I prefer to see - the one on the first page sets a sort of precedent for the entire novel ("Evident from the sword held ready to strike and the cautious manner in which the owner of the horse approaches the cottage, is he suspects danger may lie in wait for him.").
Those issues aside, we delve into the main plot, which is far more entertaining and far less offensive. Still, I had difficulty fully enjoying the story.
The humor is the crude kind (though not so much in language as in body humor and such), which always fails to amuse me.
The author tends to favor backing into sentences, as well as long and winding thoughts. A few more periods and a little more getting to the point would have greatly improved the experience.
(i.e. "Except for the barking of a small pack of dogs roaming the streets looking for scraps of food dropped or discarded by the stallholders from the market held in the town square earlier, I neither hear or glimpse any other sign of life. The dimness of the night and my dark grey clothing, chosen to blend in with the similar coloured stonework I climb, renders me almost invisible to anyone who might raise their eyes towards the tower.")
There was a minor inconsistency, in which Kane is promised a new face by a magic mirror, but never appears to have received it.
I think there are those who will enjoy this story, and it's well enough written, for the most part. Unfortunately, it wasn't a good fit for me. A shame, too, because the story held so many appealing elements.