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.


A creature advances towards his prey, his sharp, black claws dripping with poison. The man and woman stare up, wide-eyed, as it advances upon them, knowing there is no way out. Their fate is sealed.

Such a scene invokes the imagination, and the human imagination is where fantasy thrives. One of the greatest things about fantasy is that literally anything is possible within the established parameters of the world presented. Most often, fantasy has beings such as elves, dwarves, and dragons, and there can be a plethora of varieties within each race. Even with things that do exist, fantasy has a way of changing and stretching them to fit into any world. Sometimes, the wide variety of peoples, races, and creatures that can be explored is overwhelming. How does a writer incorporate something as common as werewolves, ghosts, or vampires in a unique way? Do they even need to be unique to be effective? Sometimes good, old-fashioned, classical creatures are what a story needs. In Goandria, I try to be as unique as possible, but at the same time I like familiarity.

For example, in the upcoming novel series, the main foot soldiers are a dirty and ugly people, but I have grown weary of orcs being the staple for servants of a dark lord. The soldiers I refer to from Goandria are called thworfs, and they were originally inspired by orcs and other similar creatures, but as time went by, I tried to make them their own race. Orcs in fantasy are typically featured as belligerent and ugly, only capable of getting along on the battlefield. The thworfs may be unattractive by human standards, but other than that, I tried to abandon other similarities. I wanted to explore a race that was coerced but that was also not entirely what they seem to be.

On the other hand, I choose not to tamper too much with dragons. Dragons are perhaps the staple of fantasy. Nearly every form of the genre has its own take on the famous lizard breed. Personally, I like the animalistic dragons that are all about power and terror. There are just some elements of fantasy that do not need a whole lot of tinkering to be effective. Ultimately, uniqueness is difficult to find, and I believe presenting creatures that are believable within the framework of the world is most important. There are occasions in which a typical werewolf is what a story needs. The challenge for the writer is to find what that need is. More often than not, uniqueness is good, and that is generally my goal with Goandria.

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