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Reviews of 'The Siege of Mt. Nevermind'

The Siege of Mt. Nevermind

by Fergus Ryan
Chaos War, Volume 5

Reviews of 'The Siege of Mt. Nevermind'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of The Siege of Mt. Nevermind. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.

Reviewer: Morten Brattbakk

Rating: Stars

Originally posted on the Dragonlance-L mailing list.

I must admit that I have never been a very big fan of the gnomes. Sure, they can be amusing, but they are and will be the one of Ansalon's "funny races" (kender, gully dwarves and gnomes) that have entertained me the least. I don't dislike them, though, I just don't like them as much as I do kender and gully dwarves.

So, I guess you can understand then that this is a book I haven't drooled after. I simply sat down and read it and saw how it would be. Writing a book about any of Krynn's "funny races" can be hazardous, since falling into the trap of stereotyping is very easy. And if you don't fall into that trap, it is easy to fall into the trap of creating characters that don't seem to be part of that race at all. (An entire book centered on one of the funny races, especially gully dwarves and gnomes, can be a bit too much, too.) Dan Parkinson did a good job at that with "The Gully Dwarves", with the characters being 100% gully dwarves and 100% individuals. Chris Pierson almost pulled it off in Spirit of the Wind, with the kender being 100% individuals and about 90% kender.

So, how about the gnomes in The Siege of Mt. Nevermind? They are, I'm sorry to say, 100% individuals and 10% gnomes. Obviously, the gnomes' speed at talking, knack for talking at the same time, saying everything in one sentence and calling each other with names that take half a minute to pronounce are traits that are impossible to convey properly in a book where gnomes interact a lot with each other. Still, the author should have managed to capture the essence of gnomes more than he did. There are only brief references to their long names, way of talking (if at all), constant tinkering and their infamous inefficiency. Instead, they are nothing but miniature humans, each with one exaggerated, ungnomish trait like greed, corruption, a fancy for drink etc. Even in slight details, like at what point in his life a gnome gets his Life Quest, the author misses. Anybody about to write a novel about gnomes should be given Leaves and read the gnomes essay there, (source books like Dragonlance Adventures and Tales of the Lance might also do.), and one should expect him or her to abide it.

I didn't find the story very engaging either. Some Knights of Takhisis plan on attacking Mt. Nevermind, as a gnome named Innova (a Babylon 5 fan, I just couldn't help myself not picturing Ivanova :) manages to invent the Paradise Machine, a machine that makes every machine in Mt. Nevermind work. The mountain runs like clockwork after the Knights of Takhisis have occupied the mountain. I must say I found that very unbelievable, and very ungnomish (I know the point was that it was ungnomish, but it still was unbelievable). I never found the story exciting, and I sometimes thought it was hard to follow what was going on. Maybe my English isn't good enough, but I sometimes had to really concentrate to determine what was going on, much like I had to do when I read the Pirvan books. I rarely have to do this when reading Dragonlance, I have done it only with the authors Michael Williams, Roland Green and Fergus Ryan, from what I can recall.

The book also tries to be funny, more often than not succeeding. However, it does have some very funny one-liners, and I occasionally laughed out loud. The most funny part in the entire book was when the gnomish judge mooned a Knight of Takhisis. The description of his ass made me fall off my chair. I won't spoil it by quoting it here. :)

So, the writing and the story wasn't very engaging, and in addition the plot wasn't even close to the events at Mt. Nevermind during the Chaos War as described in Dragons of Summer Flame and the 5th Age box. With the Chaos creatures (the miragos) in this book not really being convincing as Chaos creatures, and the gnomes not at all acting like gnomes, I feel that this book was chock full of inconsistencies, to the point of the whole book itself being one big inconsistency.

So while there is some excitement, and quite a few (but not enough) funny and quotable one-liners, I don't think I would recommend this book. Or maybe I would, if only for the description of that judge's ass. :)

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