*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This was a great follow-up to the first book, albeit one that was very different in tone. The first book was a lot of fun at times and got more heavy and serious as it went on, but this one was heavy and serious from the start. And every time you thought things couldn’t get any worse for these characters, it did. Then it got worse again. And again. There was a lot of hardship and a lot of death, but there were also occasionally moments of joy, and the scenes of high action and battle were gripping and intense.
I was disappointed at first about the POV change because I had really enjoyed Jackal’s POV and his character, but there’s no denying Fetch is a great character too, in completely different ways. She’s not what I would call a “fun” character, but that’s because she’s never had the chance to be. She’s spent her whole life in a man’s world, constantly having to prove herself, always being disrespected, learning how to blend in when necessary in order to get by but also how to stand up for herself. She’s badass and tough as nails but also compassionate. She’s smart and able to think on her feet, but also able to think ahead and make the tough decisions. She kept getting blamed for things even though she was doing a damn good job given the absolutely horrendous situations she had to deal with. She was very well-written and just a fantastic female character.
I have to admit I missed certain characters who weren’t around for part of this book, but we did get to know some other characters more this time. There were also some new characters. All of them were unique and well-written. I also loved seeing the loyalty among the hoof members. I cared about these characters and what happened to them. Even Polecat.
The plot and world-building were wonderfully done again too. This book had a lot of intricacies and secrets that really came together in the end and were quite surprising and interesting. I’m really glad each book so far has stuck to only one POV because not only does it let you get to know that character really well, it also keeps things from getting too confusing and keeps me feeling very connected to the story, which can be a problem for me sometimes in high/epic fantasy.
I will once again warn, for anyone who hasn’t read the first book, that many of the characters are vulgar, crude, lewd, sexist, etc., so this is not a series for anyone who is bothered by those sorts of things.
Anyway, there’s not much more I can say about this without spoiling anything for the series. This is a great high fantasy series about half-orcs riding giant hogs with lots of action and violence and intricate world building but also some great characters!
Fans of Book 1 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.