Orcs: Forged for War

( 143 )

Overview

Orcs: Forged for War is the first graphic novel in Stan Nicholls’ beloved Orcs universe. The fantasy landscape in this world is brutal and unforgiving, and populated by a race of unlikely protagonists: the powerful and violent warriors, orcs.

Orcs: Forged for War is an original story—a new entry in this series, not an adaptation of old material. It follows a ruthless and deadly cohort of warrior orcs as they fight their way free of the dominion of an evil human enchantress. ...

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Orcs: Forged for War

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Overview

Orcs: Forged for War is the first graphic novel in Stan Nicholls’ beloved Orcs universe. The fantasy landscape in this world is brutal and unforgiving, and populated by a race of unlikely protagonists: the powerful and violent warriors, orcs.

Orcs: Forged for War is an original story—a new entry in this series, not an adaptation of old material. It follows a ruthless and deadly cohort of warrior orcs as they fight their way free of the dominion of an evil human enchantress. Sitting on an exhilarating peak with high fantasy on one side and the thrilling, gruesome battlefields of graphic novel classics like Frank Miller’s 300 on the other, Orcs presents the world of its ogre-like protagonists with technicolor violence and moments of unexpected sympathy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spawned from author Nicholls's series of novels featuring the titular creatures, this comes as a real surprise. Coupled with Flood's deceptively simple and clear visual storytelling, the story centers on a troop of Orcs bound in service—or, more accurately, slavery—to a vicious, magic-wielding queen and tasked with protecting a secret weapon under the control of a goblin sorcerer and his underlings. The Orc commander, Stryke, must lead his soldiers and maintain order in their occasionally fractious ranks while also putting up with abuse from both the queen and the goblins, whose race has long been bitter enemies with Stryke's people. Not to be confused with the variety made famous by Tolkien, the Orcs of this narrative are noble warriors from whose point of view the reader witnesses events and immediately comes to sympathize with their situation. A cracking good tale from start to finish, this is strongly recommended for those who seek a realistically violent and profane heroic fantasy. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
In this, the first graphic novel representation of Nicholl's Orc series, we are visually and quite graphically taken into the combative, blood-thirsty realm of fantasy creatures, all struggling to rule over others at whatever cost. The book begins with an historical overview of Orcs' origins as fantasy creatures and goes on to explain how they have been unfairly maligned. "What if," the author wondered, "they were savage warriors, but not really evil?" The introduction then includes a rundown on who is out to get whom and where tentative alliances lie in the land of Maris-Dantia. Even with the introduction, it's sometimes difficult to determine who is allied with whom, as the double-crossing runs rampant throughout the story and fantasy creatures pop up out of nowhere to do battle with the Orcs. Fantasy world graphic novels for mature readers are generally full of violence, nudity, and four-letter words. This title is no exception, but staunch fans of this format and genre will be drawn in. Especially interesting are the artist's sketches of the twenty-five-member team of Orcs called the Wolverines. Who knew these stony-faced, pointy-eared creatures could have such uniquely distinctive countenances? Reviewer: Maggie Chase
VOYA - Nicola McDonald
In a world where Orcs are the good guys, there is still much bloody action. With humans divided into two teams, the Orcs side with Jennesta, a true evil ruler who never misses a chance to show her vileness. Jennesta treats the Orcs worse than scum, yet they are enslaved by her wrath and dominant powers of witchcraft, and, being outnumbered by the Unis, the Orcs feel they have no choice but to fight at Jennesta's will. Still, when Jennesta teams the Orcs with some Goblins on a mission, it is more than they can take. Besides having to work with filthy Goblins, the Orcs are not too happy about what is expected of them. They will have to make decisions to save their own lives, and Jennesta soon finds out that there are still some people willing to defy her regardless of her evil ways. Keeping to the true nature of Orcs, the book displays bloody action in numerous battles, complemented with a straightforward story line. The illustrations are very graphic, and the language is foul. Each action is displayed with great emotion. Characters show visible differences among each other, which helps with identifying the main characters from the rest. Nicholls and Flood balance each other well in this graphic novel that is recommended for older teens. Reviewer: Nicola McDonald
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596434554
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 10/11/2011
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 455,207
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Stan Nicholls is a celebrated bookstore proprietor, journalist, and novelist best known for his fantasy-adventure series, Orcs. Orcs: Forged for War will be Nicholls’s first graphic novel, and the latest entry in this extended series. Nicholls lives in the West Midlands, UK.

Joe Flood is a Brooklyn-based cartoonist and a graduate of the prestigious cartooning program at the School for Visual Arts in New York City. This is his first graphic novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 143 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(57)

4 Star

(38)

3 Star

(29)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 143 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Predictable, Not a New Concept

    Despite all the critical praise that's adorned the cover (inside and out) of the book, this concept of portraying orcs in a more understandable and amenable light is nothing new if you're an avid reader of fantasy novels, such as Grunts by Mary Gentle (albeit a humorous and anachronistic take). The language is quite basic and unsophisticated, and the plot is predictable and cliched. There's nothing wrong with being able to see how the plot will turn miles off, after all what fantasy story can truly claim its entirely original. The greatest failing of this book, however, has to do with the very element its using to claim to fame, in other words the portrayal of the Orcs. In an attempt to make the Orcs more understandable, and trying to connect to the readers, the author ended up portraying them as basically humans with the weird names and 'ugly' faces. In fact if the word orc was replaced with man, the reader would be none the wiser as to whether the book is talking about a group of brutal orcs or a band of human soldiers. I understand that the author was trying to paint them in a bit more sympathetic light than the usual oft maligned battle fodder in fantasy settings, but in the attempt, there's almost no characteristic left to distinguish these orc characters to be orcs. I hardly think portraying orcs as just brutish looking humans do them justice, nor are any of the critical praises this book received deserved.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    50-Page Review*: Orcs

    *50 pages is usually as long as it takes me to determine if I've made a mistake or not.

    I saw the title on the bookshelf and was immediately enthralled. I was drawn to the notion of a story from the viewpoint of a traditional and notorious antagonist; like the fantasy version of "Interview with a Vampire". I envisioned a story of a lone orc separated from his warband after the destruction of Mordor, or maybe a coming-of-age drama about a young orc that is raised by humans (ala "A Light in the Forest").

    What is apparent in the first 50 pages is that I was sorely mistaken. Stan Nicholl's orcs are not the slavering simple-minded grunts of Tolkien or the mercurial, functionally crude, and vaguely Scottish Warhammer green-skins. These orcs are organized, motivated, articulate, and literate. They are "orcs" in name only, and that is something of a cheat. They are indentured warrior serfs that existentially contemplate their oppression between trite clashes with other fantasy races.

    Nicholls' prose are simple and formulaic with frequent single-sentence impact paragraphs. You know the kind I mean. The ones with an incredibly morbid metaphor interjected every few pages to let you know just how dark and macabre the story is.

    Speaking of metaphors, the author often compares things to fictional things. Telling me that someone grinned with the warmth of a tralfamadorian spider has no impact if I don't know what a tralfamadorian spider is. Since the creatures are never discussed in the book outside of this metaphor the comparison has no point of reference. For all I know tralfamadorian spiders are quite congenial. Hence the reader is left alienated and somewhat confused.

    Aside from the disappointment of the story's protagonist and juvenile writing style, the antagonist is even worse. A two-dimensional amalgamation of every evil witch you've ever heard of, her entire time in the book is either spent A) killing/torturing someone or B) casting Harry Potter-ish magical spells. Often dispatching her victims during the course of a sex/rape act, Nicholl's reveals his own fear of carnality (sex equals death). Seriously, this guy was obviously rejected by a cheerleader at some point and now I have to read his cathartic fantasy epic where he vents his sexual frustrations. Google his image some time. I'm probably not wrong.

    Tad Williams is wrong. Pass on this book now or beg for a refund later.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2009

    Careful with the ebook; seems to be incomplete

    I am currently reading the print version and enjoying it very much. Since I am traveling soon and need to optimize space, I bought the ebook in addition. When trying to continue where I left off, I realized that the text I had just been reading in the paper version (last paragraph of "Legion of Thunder") was missing. It might not be obvious when you only read the ebook, but imho, this omission totally changes the relationship between Stryke and Serapheim. What else is left out? Was the omission accidental or by design? Either way, stay away from the electronic version and stick to paper for this one.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2009

    Unconventional Tale of Orcs....

    The marketing of this book is amazing, the first pages are filled with kudos from various authors. I immediatly wanted to read this book after picking it up off the shelf at B&N. The bad news is that this story is fairly predictable, chapter after chapter. This book is a compilation of 3 books, with the first book really grabbing your attention. The 2 subsequent books become more difficult to get through and tend to drag on. The good news about this book is the unconventional persona of the orc. The author really went to great lengths to create a completly different view of what us "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" guru's think of an Orc. To that the author gets an A+.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Orcs

    I bought this book because I thought the storyline was a great idea and something new. I expected a certain amount of violence and bloodshed considering the nature of the beast. However, I admit I was not prepared for how gruesome, bloody and gory this book is. The characters were very real and interesting and I was really into the story and plot...but...I just could not get past the gore and gruesomeness...it was truly icky. I may try to go back to this book in the future and see if I can finish reading it by skipping over the awful parts...or not. Very disappointing.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Tolkien eat your heart out

    This book is a different kind of fantasy. No prissy unicorns no cowardly midgets. No wussy elves. No whiny pathetic half human creatures. Orcs is a funny exciting read from start to finish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2011

    Very good!

    I thought this book would be something of a copy to The Lord of the Rings. And... well, I wasn't completely wrong. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it's not a copy as much as it is an influence, per say. The orcs are the heroes, oddly enough,though this book didn't change my perspective on orcs like I thought it would. Maybe it's because Maras Dantia and Middle Earth are two different worlds. The concept isn't new, but in this book's defense, it is pretty hard to find original ideas after tons of things have already been thought of. After reading some of the other reviews on here, I am a bit disheartened that so many people didn't like it. But I tend to see the positive side of things, not the negatives like so many others.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    For the fantasy fan: the villains, reversed.

    In a deceptively simplistic writing style, Stan Nicholls brings us a viewpoint from what we'd expect to be the villain.

    Don't let the way I worded his writing style fool you. The way he presents the story, plot and characters? Is a perfect fit. Blunt, harsh and unforgiving can be just a few words that describe the world Stan has placed his Orcs in. And yet there is a magnificent wealth of humor, wisdom, honor and cunning not often seen with the typical "baddie" race in usual fantasy.

    I started the book a touch doubtful--but the longer I read the better it became. I definitely recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 29, 2009

    You'll never see Orcs in the same light again!

    It's a truism that "winners write history", so if you enjoyed Tolkien's Ring Trilogy and thought Orcs would be a continuation, forget it! Orcs takes its cues from David Drake with vivid battle descriptions and military dialogue. Imagine Halo's Chief as an Orc -- intelligent, humane, noble, but above all a professional soldier -- and you've summed up the main character, Stryke. Sword and sorcery spice the storyline, too. Overall, a book that will grab your attention, shake your assumptions, and drag your imagination into new directions.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2009

    Pretty Bad

    Marginally good writing but really quite indicative of the problem with the whole genre right now. Derivative (by design, I suppose), predicatable, etc. Some good points: use of mind altering recreational drugs by the good guys, fast paced, some good character development. Worth a read if you are an uber-LOTR geek.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    If its the lord of the rings orcs then count me in!

    If its the kind of orcs in fairy tales and knights..... then what were they thinking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Beautiful!

    Being a World of Warcraft addict, I started reading this book with several preconceived notice and discovered that, although the orcs in this work share certain similarities with those of WoW they are unique. This truly is a beautiful book and I believe even fellow WoW players of my enemies', the Alliance's, faction will enjoy. I'd recommend it to anyone and can't wait to read the sequels!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2013

    Worth reading

    The consept is great and the story is intriging but the plot from one chapter the next or struggles all mirror eachother and the book gets repeditive. All together it was still a good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Fantastic.

    Probably the "realest" fantasy book I've ever read. Memorable characters in a very unique setting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    Awful!

    I can't believe I paid for this book! It is awful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    RAWRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!

    Mie naims junia. Im anne aurk. Ie dougnt lyk et.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2012

    READ

    YAVES RULES!!!! BEST CHRISTIAN RAPPER EVER!!! HOT GASOLINE!!!! PUNCHLINE!!!!! LET IT FUEL YA!!!! I LOVE U YAVES!!!!!!! UR MY FAV RAPPER!!!!!

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2012

    Good bathroom read

    When I first got this book I was over seas and need something to fill my down time. A friend saw that I picked it up a few times at b&n and he sent it to me. I read a few chapters but i just could not get into it. I did not pick it back up until i was back in the states. I had nothing to read and it was just sitting there. I only read whenever i was in the bathroom. The plot takes to much time to develop. It never really goes into the back story of why the"stars" where made or who really made them. As for the ocrs, they just stumble onto them and were like, hay lets go find them. Oh yeah and their leader just so happens to knowhow to use them. So over all the orcs are to humanistic, the villinous is moot and the quest line is lacking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2012

    The orcs

    Weird

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  • Posted June 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Not too bad of an ending for the second trilogy.

    Orcs Inferno( third book in the second trilogy) not too bad of an ending for the second trilogy considering all the world hopping the war band did . This trilogy did however lose some of the wander that made the first trilogy so great, but all in all a good ride from start to finish and a must read if you loved the first trilogy. I will definitely read the third trilogy (if there is one) considering how the second one ended.

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