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Monday, March 29, 2010

Royal Destiny: Queen of the Orcs, book III, by Morgan Howell.

My most recent post on this series is here. The first one is here.

In this, the conclusion of the trilogy, Dar, who began as a slave to a terrible human king, comes into her own as queen of the orcs. (Howell's orcs are quite different than Tolkien's. They are a matriarchal society, and, with rare exceptions, incapable of dishonesty or deception. They are loyal and brave.)

Sure enough, this is sword and sorcery fantasy. There are swords, daggers, bows and arrows. There is also a wicked sorcerer, and there are spirits, and reincarnation, and habitation of living, intelligent beings by spirits. One of the spirits appears to be a devilish god, but is not well described.

Nonetheless, there are some surprises in this book, especially the ending, which is ambiguous enough that I'm not completely sure what was going on.

There's not much else I can say, without giving away large sections of the plot, which I'm not going to do. I would classify this trilogy as somewhat above hack work, but somewhat below the quality of ideas of Tolkien, Elizabeth Moon, Patricia McKillip, Lois McMaster Bujold, or Ursula K. LeGuin. For example, Howell uses muth as the orkish root word for mother. (There's an orkish glossary in the back, and enough orkish in the book to have made it useful.) Tolkien would have invented a word much different than the English word.

I'm not sorry that I read these books, but would give them a luke-warm recommendation to others.

Thanks for reading.

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