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The Dungeoneers Paperback – July 23, 2015
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About the Author
Jeffery Russell is a Pacific Northwest author who lives with three dogs and an occasional chihuahua. He spends more time thinking about dwarves than most people would find necessary.
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I discovered this author in a critique group. From the moment I read his introduction, I knew this guy had a story worth following.
Durham, a city guard with low aspirations, has little to show for his life. He sees a golden opportunity when the king’s messengers asks him to escort the Dwarven Dungeoneers on an expedition. As they get to know each other, the superstitious dwarves come to view him as a bad luck charm, the opposite of a chosen one—but Durham still entertains delusions of being the hero.
The prose is written in that effortless style that makes fantasy such a joy to read. Even though this is a comedy, it also comes with a fresh dose of unique lore that I assume is a Jeffery Russell original.
It doesn’t skimp on fantasy elements, either. Jeffery builds and deconstructs skeletal monstrosities like a child with a bottomless bin of Legos. The tension around the climax absorbed me to the point where I forgot I was reading a comedy.
Anyone familiar with the fantasy genre should give The Dungeoneers a read.
This review is also posted to my blog: http://bitlather.com/blog/article/51/review-of-dungeoneers-by-jeffery-russell
I enjoy plots where the characters don't make things harder on themselves by doing dumb things, and this book really delivered on that. The dwarves are PROFESSIONALS, thankyewverymuch, and go about their business smartly and efficiently. Even when they hit the "not a routine job" point of the story, multiple characters through their own expertise and analysis figure out what's going on and manage to bring together their knowledge to figure out a plan. The plot is obviously poking fun at the usual dungeoncrawling plot of the average D&D campaign and there's some genre- and gaming-related self-referential humor sprinkled throughout, but it never really devolves into PARODY. There's a real sense that the author both loves those sorts of stories and also loves poking fun at them, while still working within the rules of the genre.
Best thing I've read in a while. Can't wait for the next book with these characters, honestly.
I read this in just about one sitting because the action rolls along. The characters are interesting and likeable, the jokes well-timed and the adventure exciting and trepidous. I never had a bored moment, and read every word.
I loved the dwarven characters. They leapt off the page, were compelling and funny. But once the adventure and danger began they were all business. I also loved that the author has worked hard to create a fully realised world that holds together and captures your interest. It is original and compelling fantasy writing.
I can't wait for the next book, either with these same characters, or set somwhere else entirely. Jeffery Russell is a fantasy author to watch and I'll be watching for sure!
I liked the "villain" but found the "hero" somewhat lost among the ensemble cast at times more an observer and afterthought.
A warning however the bar is set rather high, take your time and produce a worthy follow up.