*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
The first book was about Jackal, the second was about Fetching, and this one was, last but not least, Oats’s story, and he was just as interesting. There was a lot going on with him, emotionally, that I never even realized. And as tough as he is, being not only one of the Bastards but also a thrice blood (the child of an orc and half-orc, rather than orc and human), he, in many ways, has a soft and caring heart. At least, for some of the people in his life.
But every character in this series felt so realistic and believable and complex and three-dimensional. This is one of those series in which it truly feels like these are real people (or half-orcs), and I would kind of forget that they were actually created in someone’s head.
Also, I never thought I’d care so much about a giant hog so ugly and smelly it is literally named Ugfuck.
I was a bit bummed that, after the first book, Jackal wasn’t really in the story anymore, and then, in this one, neither Jackal nor Fetching were really in the story. I loved these three, as a trio and individually, and they loved each other, and I just would’ve liked more time with all of them together. But I guess this was what was needed for Oat’s to have his own arc and realize some things about himself and make the hard decisions he had to make.
And it was just a great book! Intricate plotting. Intense action. Laughs and fun moments. Sadness and difficult moments. Gory, brutal fighting. Friendship. A hint of romance. Emotional struggle. And, of course, half-orcs on hogs!
I will once again warn, for anyone who hasn’t read the previous books, that many of the characters are vulgar and crude and say/think things that are sexist, homophobic, fatphobic, and otherwise offensive, so this may not be a series for everyone. Also trigger/content warning for *SPOILER* suicide. *END SPOILER*
Overall, this was a solid ending to the series. It was bittersweet, at times it was sad, but this book wrapped up everything nicely without overdoing it. The characters were superbly well-written, the world and plot were complex, and I’m glad I decided to give these half-orcs a chance!
Fans of Books 1 and 2 in Jonathan French's The Lot Lands series. Anyone who likes high fantasy, half-orcs, complex plotting and world-building, and badass, likeable, developed characters.