Book Review: The Orc King by R.A. Salvatore

Title: The Orc King

Author: R.A. Salvatore

Series: Transitions #1

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The OverviewAn uneasy peace between the dwarves of Mithral Hall and the orcs of the newly established Kingdom of Many-Arrows can’t last long. The orc tribes united under Obould begin to fight each other, and Bruenor is determined to finish the war that nearly killed him and almost destroyed everything he’s worked to build. But it will take more than swords and axes to bring a lasting peace to the Spine of the World. Powerful individuals on both sides may have to change the way they see each other. They may have to start to talk. But it won’t be easy.

The Review:

As the first book in the Transitions trilogy, “The Orc King” is actually around book #20 for the series as a whole. Because I’ve already highlighted the overall qualities of the series in a post for book #1, “Homeland,” I wont go into too many details here.

Having so many books under his belt, it always amazes me when Salvatore continues to produce quality, page-turning novels. This was no exception, containing a great story, strong characters, and an awesome plot advance that boded for more great novels in the future. My favorite element to this book is its examination of motives within a inherently “evil” race. It highlighted that mortal enemies just might have more in common than they first thought. Salvatore did such a good job expanding on the orcs that at times they almost felt… human.

I once watched an interview with the author, in which he made the claim that everything book within a series he tries to write well enough to become a stand-alone. While he definitely succeeds as far as plot structure and overall craft, I don’t think this would be NEAR as enjoyable without the significant back-history behind it. In fact, I’m not even sure it would make sense. There were a lot of events that eluded to prior events, and the whole series summarized in a few pages sounds convoluted and confusing. If he truly wanted a stand-alone book, his books would be twice as thick filled with all the extensive back-history.

Recommendations: If this is your first introduction to Salvatore’s Drizzt books, I highly recommend you start with “The Dark Elf” trilogy.

by Niki Hawkes

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