In a sealed cave at the heart of a forgotten mountain, a blind seer sat in the dark between two mirrors that were reflecting the silvery tendrils of times to come.
‘Find the Gate Guardian who calls himself Ike,’ said the watcher who wasn’t there. ‘I see him, my queen,’ said the seer. ‘He’s drawing with the magical pen.’
The watcher rubbed a patch of tarnish on her silvery arm. ‘This pen bothers me. Tell me about it.’
‘Alas, my mirrors can’t see into it,’ replied the seer.
‘Then make his drawing go wrong!’ cried the watcher, vexed.
Taking hold of the time tendrils, the seer wove a new future. ‘It is done.’
Ike and Mellie are trying so hard to do the right thing, but it’s hard to know which ‘right thing’ to do first. Pook says they should rescue the children. Mellie wants to make sure her family are okay. But if they don’t find and retrieve the Book of Grimmery and soon, it might be too late for anything else. The search for the book takes the intrepid pair up mountains, down deeper than they’ve ever been and at every step they are booby-trapped, tricked, deceived and more. And sometimes it seems that they will never find their way. Ike is forever getting things wrong and incurring the wrath of trainee thief, Mellie. Then they meet the Desperate Dwarf. And his name is Con Glomryt.
Desperate Dwarf is the third of four books of the ‘Grim and Grimmer’ saga. Ike is a tortured hero, never sure that he’s making the right decisions. But in true hero style, he keeps going, even when what he’d really like to do is just go home. If he had a home to go to. Mellie is cantankerous and sharp-tongued but does occasionally remember to thank Ike when things do go right. And she’s inventive and has some skill as a thief, even if she doesn’t always think through her actions. This is high-camp fantasy set in a world full of nose-haired dwarfs, evil pink ladies, and some horrid Night Gaunts all with wonderfully inventive names. This series is a delightfully grungy introduction for young readers to the world of fantasy. Recommended for mid- to upper-primary readers, particularly those not ready to leave the bottom jokes behind.
Desperate Dwarf , Ian Irvine
Omnibus Books 2011
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.