Lately, fantasy stories showcase dragons as wise beings befriending a human or as the mounts for dragonriders. The various races would all travel and greet one another in a matrimony of happiness and invariably, the dwarf in each tale would take up his role as the protagonist’s loyal sidekick and comedy shtick.
That is not the case in Dennis L. McKiernan’s Dragondoom.
Dragondoom takes us back to the times when dragons were greedy, vindictive, and all-around badasses. A time where the humans and the dwarves were not on friendly terms but rather at each others’ throats at a moments notice. And, of course, there is always the obligatory love thread between the two races which ties the story together.
A human prince, kills a cold-drake in a cunning trap and takes the vast hoard for himself. The dwarves come to claim the hoard as it came from their ancestral home. Angered, the prince travels to the dwarves new home and taunts the leader. A fight ensues. Both die. Dwarves call for vengeance. Humans rally around their fallen prince. War breaks out.
All the while, a human princess and a dwarven prince stumble upon one another and search for the elusive dragon-slaying hammer to slay the new dragon threat and tip the balance in the war.
Dragondoom was an average book for me. The plot was predictable with no twists or turns and I could do without the constant flashbacks. A more linear read would have made it less confusing. However, McKiernan did a good job of making each character unique in their personalities and flawed in their judgement. And the descriptions in each scene brought it to life.
The book is not profound enough to start a new trend in fantasy novels but is a great look back on how the genre first began.