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Orcs: Forged for War Paperback – October 11, 2011
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About the Author
Stan Nicholls is a celebrated bookstore proprietor, journalist, and novelist best known for his fantasy-adventure series, Orcs. Orcs: Forged for War will be Nicholls's first graphic novel, and the latest entry in this extended series. Nicholls lives in the West Midlands, UK.
Joe Flood is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a graduate of the prestigious cartooning program at the School for Visual Arts in New York City. Orcs: Forged for War is his first graphic novel.
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Stan Nicholls has written two trilogies set in the Orcs universe and this is the first graphic novel addition to this universe. It is not an adaptation of previous material, but a new story which is set before the "First Blood" trilogy making it a prequel of sorts. I have not read any of the other books in this series and it is not necessary. The author has written a six page introduction which, although he says you need not know any background information, he has taken the effort to place the story within context of his Orcs universe for the uninitiated. I read the Intro and thoroughly enjoyed the graphic novel without having even heard of these books before, though I would be interested in them, if I ever get my obsession for high fantasy back.
The story takes the point of view of the Orcs. Orcs are always the bad guys in fantasy stories and here we have them being the good guys, well, at least not as bad as the others involved. We are shown another side of Orcs. They have feelings, camaraderie, customs and traditions. The story involves a mission a group of warriors are sent on by the cruel Queen who rules their side of a larger war. This is just one battle within that war.
The story is typical high fantasy with lots of different creatures: elves, goblins, ogres, etc. but with the orcs as the good guys. I really enjoyed the story and read it in one sitting. The book is not for the weak of heart though. It is incredibly violent, heads seem to fly on every other page, blood oozes and squirts through each battle scene, limbs are severed and swords cut heads in half. The language is rated "R" and female top-half nudity is occasionally shown. Not a book for little ones or those sensitive to these types of things. I'm usually not partial to swearing but in the context here it would only be natural for these brutal, violent creature to speak thus. A good story from a unique angle.
The story itself is set in a land called Maras-Dantia that is inhabited by a variety of creatures known as the Elder Races. They had all learned to coexist until a new race, the Humans, emerge and threaten to take control of their lands. The story is a bit contrived in this aspect, like other stories before it such as Avatar, humans come along and destroy the homeland of various creatures and the creatures have to defend themselves. However, the human race is also divided among itself between those who are tolerant of other races and those who only want a pure race worshiping one true God. Cliché I know, but in Orcs: Forged for War it works.
Full review can be found on my blog MotherGamerWriter, ARC was provided by NetGalley.