Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Bookshop Paperback 421 Orbit Books Fantasy June 21st, 2018

A most anticipated fantasy title, featuring a rather dapper-looking half-orc on the cover. There was no way I was not going to read it. And, interestingly, my experience with the book was unexpected. I even read some reviews on Goodreads and found that what most readers took issue with, I loved; what they thought was the strength of the book, I thought it to be secondary. For example, some thought the dialogue was too ‘male’ revolving around fight and pussy. Aye, it was not at all delivered fit for the Snooty Pillow Club. And I have no shame admitting that I like quick, witty banter even if it doesn’t fit the feminist code.

As for the story, this book has one of the best blurbs: half-orc wants to overthrow half-orc; external threat and the presence of a female who has more balls than some of those horny males. Truly, great fun.

Did I like this book? Kind of. Yeah, I did. I think French is really great at dialogue- it was one of those aspects I really enjoyed about this story and looked forward to the most. The banter, the crudeness, the filth and… Boisterous orcs- fantastic stuff!

The Grey Bastards has a solid plot with a whole lot of story for your buck. No, not only horny orc looking for willing bedwarmer. There is the intrigue of new a young male wishing to overthrow the clan’s chief; there is a magician and a Sludge Man who lives in the swamp and does horrid things; there is the elven folk and a bit of political intrigue… and a good bit of interesting backstory about half-orcs! How they came to live in The Lots, how they are raised. The story in entirety follows a logical and fulfilling sequence of events with good pace and plenty to keep the reader gripped. And yet, I will have to admit that more than anything in this book, I enjoyed the dialogue. I was impatient to get through all the backstory and history just to get more banter πŸ™‚ Ha, how shallow do I sound right now? πŸ˜€

As far as fantasy goes, it’s one not to miss. Definitely, most definitely get this book if gritty stories are your thing. Read it.

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