Mini Review: Ravine of Blood and Shadow (Annals of the Nameless Dwarf #1) by Derek Prior

Rating: 7/10


A babe is born in the shadows of the ravine city, a child who will end the self-imposed exile of the dwarves and usher in a new age of glory.

Years later, Ravine Guard Carnac Thayn discovers a break-in at the Scriptorium. A dwarf has been murdered and a book stolen, but the ruling council do nothing.

Then, when Carn is called to investigate thuds and crashes from the mines, old horror rises from the deep, and the city is threatened with slaughter.

Rumors begin to circulate about a mythical axe said to be lost below the earth, an axe wielded by the dwarf lords of old that might just be the last hope of a race marked to die.

But deception is rife, and unseen forces manipulate all paths to the future.It is a pivotal moment for the dwarves, and Carn must make a choice that will either save or damn his people.

Blood will flow in rivers through the ravine.

Friends will become foes.

A name will be forgotten.

And a hero will rise.


I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review. You can actually get the first 6 books of this series in an omnibus audiobook for only 1 credit! Receiving this did not affect my review in any way.

Ravine of Blood and Shadow is a decently short book. At a little over 300 pages and with a pretty fast pace this was a story that was easy to speed through. Not only that, but Mike Carnes does a solid job of narrating that helped me to be more immersed in the world.

Our main protagonist is Carn and we follow him throughout the entirety of this story. Carn is a likable protagonist by himself, but I especially liked it when he was hanging out with his friends Thumel and Cordie (hopefully that’s how to spell their names). They have a chemistry and comraderie that I really enjoyed every time they were together. Overall I thought the characters were really well done, having their own unique personalities and compelling motivations.

The world is a pretty standard fantasy world so far in this first book. It has the Dark Lord figure, dwarves, a wise wizard figure, and magical gnome like creatures called Thanes. However, I enjoyed the little touches that Prior made in this world that made it his own. Without going into specifics, the dwarves were betrayed by one of their own long ago because of an outside force’s meddling and there are now very strict rules about never leaving the city in which the dwarves dwell. However, what actually happened back then and how the dwarves should proceed in the future is not agreed upon by everyone. It was interesting to bring together pieces of the puzzle as the story progressed. I also really enjoyed the way incompetent and fear driven leadership was used to affect the story in a significant way.

This story really snuck up on me. As the narrative went on I really found myself caring about these characters and what was going to happen to them. I am definitely going to continue this series to see what will happen!

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