This is one of those books that kept me interested while at the same time I wondered why I kept reading it. The titular orcs are a war band, that are virtually indistinguishable from humans, who travel across their world in search of powerful relics they wish to keep out of the evil orc queen’s hands.
If you envisioned a story written from the perspective of Tolkien-type orcs, then you will be gravely disappointed. The orcs act no different than humans. Perhaps the intent was to give their race depth, but the author falls flat at doing that too because all the characters are flat and never grow beyond caricatures and stereotypes. Orcs are fundamentally tribal polytheistic humans who are fighting against their crazy queen and a bunch of Christians. Sure, they aren’t called Christians, but the Uni’s in the story adhere to basic Christian theology and even call upon the Holy Spirit. It is a thinly veiled jab at Christianity that utilizes every stereotype about the faith.
I mentioned already the orcs are caricatures, but frankly that is an observation I had across the board with both the protagonists and antagonists. It was as if the author didn’t spend more than five minutes on Google researching Christian and polytheistic beliefs before forming a clear opinion about them and placing 1.5 dimensional orcs in the middle of it.
I will say that despite my disappointment, the plot was interesting enough to keep me hoping things would get better. I may not have cared about the characters, but I wanted to which meant the book had potential, or so I thought until the anticlimactic ending. That isn’t to mention the awkward and abrupt graphic rape/sacrificial magic scenes thrown in there without warning. They were so explicit and jarring the sex scenes felt like they were ripped out of an erotica novel and pasted into this one just to put off the reader. Nothing was implied or shown, everything was told in all its gory details.
If you enjoy gritty fantasy I would say this might be for you except for the shallow characters, both on the protagonist and antagonist ends of the spectrum. Other than a moderately decent story, this book is unpolished and fails to offer anything new or exciting to the Fantasy genre. It especially fails to do the lore of Orcs any justice. Overall, I would give this book a 1.5/5 and would not recommend it.