Wow, what a great fantasy story from a very different perspective than one I was expecting. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fantasy or even wants a primer on orc culture and social interaction. I feel I have been given an education in a culture that has never been shown to me until now. I will never watch “The Lord of the Rings” series the same way after reading this story. I never liked orcs in previous fantasy stories I read as they were always brainless and cruel, however the author may change your mind about these creatures after hearing his tale.
Sean-Michael Argo writes a high-fantasy story covering more than a century of time. This world has the standard fantasy tropes one would expect in a fantasy story like humans, dwarves, elves, goblins, trolls, and of course orcs. What makes this story unique is that it is written from the point of view of a marauding orc tribe as the hoard battles across the territory in search of a specific goal; it’s a surprise so go and read the book. The book also contains some magic, wizards, however it is mostly focused on the brutality of the hoarding mentality of orcs. I also liked how the author gave these often perceived vicious creatures’ emotions and feelings. We see that these creatures even have long-term goals and aspirations. As I said earlier, I will never look at an orc the same way after reading this story.
The author does a good job of pacing the story and the action by including some past cut scenes or backstory to help relieve the tension experienced during the journey. The story takes about 225 pages to tell, however when you are done it feels like a journey of over 1000 pages. The story is very concise with little fluff, which in many ways this is difficult to accomplish. Did I want more? Yes. Did I feel the author short changed me to get me to buy another book? Not at all. I was well satisfied with what I read in this book.
Although the book does contain some graphic violence, like that of other well-known fantasy stories, it is not over the top or highly descriptive. I also want to commend the author for writing a story that does not contain any vulgar language. It seems like it is more difficult to find books and authors capable to telling a story without resorting to foul language. Because of these two points, I would say that the book is rather safe for a teenager to consume and enjoy, and yet the story is rich and deep enough for adults. It is not written as a YA book; however, it could be used as one.
With regard to the book’s narration based on the audiobook version, let me first say that I was unsure if I was going to enjoy the book when I first started it. If you have the same feeling when you start the book, I beg you to continue until the end. I often find myself listening to books at 1.25x their original speed. When I started to listen to the book at is original pace (1x), I found that I could better enjoy the story and was not rushed to get through it. Mr. Mather’s voice is deep, rich, and after completing this book I would not want my orcs to sound any different. I have a feeling that every story containing orcs that I see or read will have Mr. Mather’s voice attached to it from here on out. He currently has over 104 titles narrated on Audible, and I would believe they are all as well narrated as this one.
Great job both of you for taking me on a journey full of adventure, magic, and mayhem.
This book was provided to the reviewer by the author, narrator, or publisher in exchange for a non-bias review.