11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Promises much but just doesn't deliver,
This review is from: Orcs: Bodyguard of Lightning, Legion of Thunder, Warriors of the Tempest (Gollancz S.F.) (Paperback)
The concept of the book is wonderfully innovative - "want to know the truth about the orc? Then why not look at the world through their eyes and discover the honorable creature that lies beneath that monstrous exterior".
Well, that's the idea but unfortunately Stan Nicholls has made one terrible error - he's not writing about orcs. The creatures he writes about are intelligent, emotional, articulate, jovial, happy, fearful, desiring and so on. Point of fact is that these orcs are so un-orclike that they're indistinguishable from humans. There are hardly any physical references to the differences we would expect with orcs (what about their great strength, toughness, skin colour, etc?), there is no mention of any reasonable contrasts between the social structure enjoyed by orcs and humans (sure these orcs are warlike but they're far from WWWWWAAAAAAARRRRR-like), and as for any mental disparities separating human and orc, well good luck in finding any (any you do find will be tenuous at the very best).
Okay, Stan is obviously writing about a different kind of orc from the one I'm thinking about but hold on a second. My mental picture of orcs is created from books such as Lord of the Rings, computer games like Warcraft, board games like Warhammer and an entire shed load of RPG games. I can safely say that my understanding of orcs is pretty broad. Ultimately, the orcs that Stan writes about are so far removed from anything orc-like that it destroys the entire concept of the book, which is a terrible shame.
I could go on about the predictable plot, the growing sense of monotony one has with each new battle, the (oft times) truly awful dialogue and horribly contrived ending. But I won't.
All in all, the book shows great promise but just fails to deliver on almost every single level - you'd do a heck of a lot better reading one of the many orcish Warhammer novels that must be out there.
Avert your eyes my orcish brethren and move on swiftly - the true glory of the orcish hoard will not be found within these pages!