*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.
More Books in the Series:
Half orc. All badass. A female chieftain in a brutal wasteland society fights to take what is hers in an action-packed, foul-mouthed fantasy adventure from the author of The Grey Bastards (“Nonstop action, though not for faint hearts.”—The Wall Street Journal).
Fetching was once the only female rider in the Lot Lands. Now she is the proud leader of her own hoof, a band of loyal half-orcs sworn to her command.
But in the year since she became chief, the Lots have tested her strength to the breaking point. The Bastards are scattered, desperate, their ranks weakened by a mysterious famine, their fortress reduced to smoldering slag. And their troubles are only growing. A pack of ravening beasts circles their camp, while grasping human nobles hatch a plan that will shift the balance of power in the Lots.
Fetch and her comrades are still standing defiant—they’re Bastards, after all—but even the toughest half-orc can take only so much; and Fetch knows they’re on the verge of ruin.
As she strives to lead her hoof to safety and unravel the plots set against them, Fetching must journey through forbidden elven lands, overcome long-standing hatreds, battle a monstrous wizard of terrifying power—and, worst of all, delve into the dark truths of her own existence.
She’s no stranger to fighting the world, but on this journey, sharp steel and a strong hog won’t be enough. To survive these trials, she’ll have to defy not just her foes but the very nature of the Lots.
The True Bastards is the sweeping, ambitious second entry in the Lot Lands series, an irresistibly thrilling, gritty, foul-mouthed adventure that deepens, expands—and again upends—the Bastards’ unforgettable world.