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Orcs, by Stan Nicholls

May 19, 2009

orcsOrcs is a fantasy about a war band of creatures who are originally the creation of J.R.R. Tolkien. This band is called the Wolverines.  A sorceress who is looking for an ancient relic hires them, and the Wolverines embark on a mission to find it. But as they learn more about the power of this relic, which they call a “star,” they start to doubt whether their employer should possess it.

I would recommend Orcs to anyone looking for an action–packed adventure, along with some gory battles.  The fight scenes are very detailed.  Nicholls describes specific fight styles and how an opponent reacts to each. The orcs seem pretty heartless at battle, but when there is time to think, Stark, the main character, reveals more and more about the orc race and why everyone thinks they are just mindless killing machines. The novel is also a great new perspective on Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in which the orcs are the main force of evil.  Here they are portrayed as the saviors of their own middle earth.

Although Orcs is a total page turner, it took me a while to read.  It is actually three books in one:  Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, and Warriors of Tempest.  So I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who can’t stay committed to a long book. If you can read something like Harry Potter, you’ll be fine.

I also like how there is a little tension within the war band. There is one orc who always fights with their dwarf companion and often challenges Stark’s decisions. This bit of tension between warriors makes the book all the more dramatic, when every choice matters and the Wolverines find themselves in some very tight spots.

To sum up, I would say Orcs is one of the best books I have ever read. I rate it a 10 of 10.  By the way, if you enjoy Stan Nicholls, some of his other titles include Strange Invaders, Fade to Black, The Nightshade Chronicles trilogy, and Wordsmiths of Wonder: Fifty Interviews with Writers of the Fantastic.


Publisher:  Orbit,  730 pages

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