*I received an ecopy of this via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
This book was fantastic! I saw the title and the cover, and I was interested. I saw the genre was sci-fi/fantasy, and I was still interested. I started reading the blurb and saw the word ‘orc,’ and I was sold. I didn’t even finish reading the blurb before deciding I wanted this. And it did not disappoint.
The writing, the characters, the characters’ voices—that was what made it so amazing. Their voices were so strong, well-written, and different from what I normally find. Harder, raunchier, grittier. I want to say it’s exactly what you’d expect an orc to be like, but, to be honest, I don’t know anything about orcs. It was definitely not what you’d expect an elf to be like though, which only made it even more interesting.
Speaking of the creatures, as I mentioned, I didn’t actually know anything about orcs, but I love uncommon supernatural creatures, so I loved that the main character was one. The orcs were pretty cool, different from other creatures I’d read about. They even had tusks! Elves are markedly more common, but it was still cool seeing this author’s take on those too.
There wasn’t as much emotion as there normally is in the books I give 4.5 stars to, but there was enough. I felt for these characters, especially JT. They were hard and tough. They were thieves and hackers and adrenaline junkies and the type of people (or supernatural beings) who enjoyed getting each other off while driving at ungodly, one-wrong-move-and-you’re-dead speeds on the magway. They could be real jerks sometimes. But they still had real emotions. They still felt pain over past hurts. They still worried about others. They still wanted to be loved.
And the sex. There was quite a lot of it considering the length of the book, and it was not for those with delicate sensibilities. It was just as rough and hard and gritty as the rest of the book but still sexy as hell because you could tell how much the characters enjoyed it.
This book also had a really cool urban fantasy/futuristic cyberpunk mash-up. There were orcs and elves and wizards and mancers. But there were also advanced technologies, cars that drove themselves or that you drove with just your mind, virtual reality laid over the real city, technology that basically allowed telepathy (including the ability to simulate touch to another person). JT was even able to feel what the car felt, like the wind, once he connected to it.
The only negative thing I can say is that there probably could’ve been more to the plot since the book was short and the plot itself mostly just consisted of driving and fighting some baddies, plus a romance that wasn’t resolved yet. The book was more about getting to know the characters and the past relationship between JT and Austin. But this is going to be a trilogy, I believe, so maybe there’s a good reason for the plot in this one being what it was. And I was able to pretty much overlook this because of how much I liked the rest.
So overall, this book was gritty and sexually charged with unique character voices, the plot was action-packed, the orcs and elves were interesting, and the characters were all hard edges but still with enough emotion to make them seem real and to make me feel invested!
Anyone who likes M/M, cyberpunk/urban fantasy mash-ups, uncommon supernatural creatures, and gritty, raunchy, hard-edged characters.