The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish is the first in his Half-Orcs series. I’m no stranger to the author as I’ve read all three of his previous books in the Shadowdance trilogy. However, the author’s more popular work consists of this series and I saw very great potential in him. Therefore, I gave this book a try. Although I believe this is one of his earlier works, his writing style still shines through and the book was very enjoyable to read. Being at just about 228 pages, it was a very light engagement for me and required very little time to shred through this entire book. As a fantasy book lover, I’ve never really read a story much less a series where the main characters were of the orchish race. In fantasy land, you usually hear the most about elves, dwarves, gnomes and of the human race. If a story did introduce an orc or an ogre into the picture, they usually mean a fight is on hand for the main protagonists. Well, the Half-Orcs series aims to change all that, well at least for me anyways.
The Weight of Blood introduces us to the half orc brothers of Hurruq and Qurruh. One thing you might have noticed in other fantasy stories (or video games) is that orcs and ogres are usually not well liked by pretty much any race. This series continues with that trend. In stories and video games, different races have different abilities. Humans are usually the well rounded race, elves tend to excel in using bows and arrows, dwarves are good with battle axes and mechanical contraption while orcs and ogres are feared for their battle lust and insane physical prowess but are easily outsmarted. Therefore, I found it a bit weird that while Hurruq falls into that typical “orc battle warrior” category, his brother Qurruh aligns with the magical abilities of a battle mage. Many veteran fantasy readers will no doubt initially make the similar comparison of the two orc brothers to another two very famous fantasy characters in the Dragonlance world, Cameron and Raistlin. The biggest difference of course is that the latter are humans.
If you are planning on reading this book/series, please realize that this book falls into the dark fantasy genre. When I mean dark fantasy, I mean that there will be tons of bloodshed and innocent people dying in the most horrific ways possible. Yes, this book is gory. I am so glad that the author makes no apologies for it. Understand something here folks: if you can’t handle the heat, get out the kitchen. If you easily get offended at innocent children being butchered, please turn away now. I’m not pointing this out to either defend the author or poke fun at other readers who are disgusted with this book. A fantasy book of this genre to me is like a movie. I read it to get entertained, that is all.
The Weight of Blood serves as a fairly good introduction to the half-orc brothers. We get a good glimpse into the characters of Hurruq and Qurruh for the later books in the series. You see, being half-orc isn’t as easy as other races. For one, orcs are just blood thirsty in general. That’s natural. However, during other times, their other half takes over and they appear to have emotions and feelings just like a normal human being. Essentially, that’s what it boils down to with these two half-orcs. Not only do they have to battle other people but most troublesome of all is that the biggest battle they will face is finding their true identity. What I like about this series is that it really deviates from the norm. You’re not going to get a white knight in shining armor coming to a village’s rescue. Although many readers will be put off at what the half-orc brothers will do throughout the story, I had no problem seeing it for what it is and that is reality. It’s harsh at times and here, it’s downright brutal.
If prefer a lot of magic use in battle, I have a feeling this series will be right up your alley. One of the most disappointing issue I had with the Shadowdance trilogy is that the author not incorporating more magic into his world. All that has changed here. Folks, if you get excited about mages calling down lightning from the heavenly sky to huge fireball explosions, you are going to feel right at home here. While some might think of it as overly done, I think it adds an exciting element and dimension to battle scenes. Rather than just have sword fights after sword fights, adding magic into the picture makes things much more dynamic and unpredictable in a way. Whether or not this will continue in future books of the series I have no clue. Being how Qurruh is a mage, I’m guessing the author won’t deviate too much from that path.
Overall, I am quite satisfied with this introductory book to the Half-Orcs series. Technically, I can’t complain being that at the time of this review, the complete book is offered as a free Kindle download from Amazon. Also, the author makes it very enticing to continue with the series being how the Kindle version of the books are being offered at such low prices. If that isn’t enough, he also offers the first three books in this series for a low price of just $3.99. My personal reasons for liking this book and hopefully what will to come in future books is due to it being much more darker than what I usually read. Add the fact that magic plays such a big role is a huge plus as well. Battle scenes are done fairly well and easy to follow. While the story isn’t anything new or complicated, it should still manage to hold you through to the end. Well done David!