Book Reivew: Orcs

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.

The lack of fantasy films

As a writer, obviously I’m a huge fan of books.  I love that books are able to flush out a plot and the characters better than most movies because they aren’t confined to a certain length.  In saying that, I argue that films are just as important as books to the genre, and frankly there is quite a shortage of quality fantasy movies.

The most recent fantasy films we got were The Hobbit Trilogy.  Many people are divided over this films.  Some complain about the deviations from the books, the 60 frames per second, supposed lack of character development, and the over usage of CGI.  I would argue that they are gleaming gems for the fantasy genre.  These films are far from perfect, but in the context that films should be judged separately from books they are some of the best fantasy films made recently.  No, I do not count the overabundance of Marvel movies, besides they are science fiction not fantasy.

Over all there has been a draught of well-made blockbuster fantasy films, which is rather disappointing.  Why is that I wonder?  It isn’t like the audience for fantasy movies is too small.  I would imagine filmmakers could tap into The Lord of the Rings fan base.  Over the last decade science fiction movies, particularly superhero moves, have seen a huge uptick in quantity.  Most fantasy films I have seen in recent years have been independent films, which is fine of course, but where are all the major films?  Someone might point to Warcraft, and that might be a valid point, but we all know that movies based on videogames are rarely tolerable let alone good.  Perhaps Warcraft will prove an exception to the rule, but that is still one move.  The fantasy movies that have been released within the last few years have generally been panned.  The Seventh Son, The Last Witch Hunter, all of them were pretty mediocre as far as reviewers were concerned.

What can us fantasy fans do about this?  Well, maybe not much but we can support the films that are being released and maybe give attention to indie films.  Typically, independent films have low budgets and subpar special effects, but I have found more than a few gems.  Hopefully since superhero movies have made such an impact on culture, fantasy will not be so over looked in the coming years.

Discover Goandria all over again!

I have relaunched Goandria: Visions of War.  The second edition had new chapters, greater characterization, and now includes Flight of the Wizard short story which used to be only in the paperback version.

It took two months to prepare this version and I feel it finally does the story justice. If you read fantasy and are looking for something new and different you can take a look yourself here.

As always I’m looking for reviews as well.  If this is something that interests you, and you want a free eBook copy let me know in the comments below.  You can also shoot me an email at goandria@outlook.com

Goandria: Visions of War is back!

The second edition of Goandria: Visions of War is now released!  It has all new chapters, greater characterization, and now the eBook includes the short story Flight of the Wizard, once exclusive to the paperback.

If you read fantasy, I am looking for reviewers.  My goal is to have three reviews on this book before Halloween.  If you are willing to read it and review it email me at goandria@outlook.com and I will send you a free review copy.

If you want more details on the book you can read the description on the amazon page here.

Benefits of Fiction

I have written before on fiction and why I write it.  You can read about my thoughts on why I write fantasy specifically here.   I also think it is important to note the benefits of fiction, especially speculative fiction.

Some may say that fairy-tales, fantasy, and other fiction is a waste of time.  These people assert that reading what is real is the only thing worth reading at all.  I disagree.  Fantasy explores difficult areas of life from the comfort of a fictional setting.  More importantly I feel that fantasy opens a door in the mind to realize there are things beyond our current understanding.

We only know so much about the world, and are only capable of studying it so far.  Science is a wonderful and useful method, but there are limits to the scientific method.  The beauty of fantasy is that it can fill in those areas with imagination and tell a deep and fulfilling tale.  Fantasy has the chance to delve into the areas we don’t understand and search metaphorically for questions such as what is the meaning of life, what is reality, and is there ever a time for war?

I feel that fantasy can be just as important and compelling as nonfiction.  I do not deny the importance of reality, but many times perception and worldview puts a spin on it.  So even if something is “nonfiction” it can still have untrue or warped information. Fiction isn’t true, it doesn’t even pretend to be true, and that is the beauty of it.  Fantasy delivers truth in the package of make-believe and doesn’t need to be bothered as much by worldview and tainted glasses.