Lord of the Clans

Lord of the Clans is a brisk moving story that’s easy to get into and fun to read. Unlike many fantasy novels and sword and sorcery tales, this one follows an orc. Thrall is a child raised as a slave and destined for something great. The journey to that greatness is handled deftly by Golden as she gives readers what they want even if it’s not exactly what they expected.

The basis of the story isn’t really new. At the heart of it is a slave story of freedom and the hero’s journey to magnificent, kind deeds. Like all good story tellers, Christie gives the classic tale her own flavor of distinctness. Where orcs have typically been the evil and sometimes mindless villains, she makes one of them a hero. Thrall has a sense of humanity that sets him apart from the orcs we’re used to seeing. Through his eyes we get to see suffering and joy. It easily sucks the reader into the character and forms bonds of sympathy and empathy. There’s a real since of compassion that is carefully formed.

For all light, there is always a shadow. The villain in this story is none other than Thrall’s human master, Blackmoore. At times he’s a mustache twirling caricature of a villain. At other times he shows emotions that hint at something almost likable. Overall he’s a well developed badguy that displays realistic emotions, desires, and flaws. While some people may be bad, it’s never without reason. Beneath the surface there has to be something more to them, and Christie manages to show some of Blackmoore’s inner feelings.

The final battle in the book…does not go as expected. Christie takes some entertaining, less traveled paths that add a lot to the story. And those touches can be seen throughout. I especially enjoyed the duality of Blackmoore’s character. He’s vile, he’s despicable, but he tries to be something more. He’s a creature fighting against his nature. That duality also shows up in the ways magic is approached in the book. The orcs embrace shamanism. Their view of magic is heavily based on nature and it ties in nicely with their warrior lifestyle. Yet the orcs are battling with the remnants of their previous ruler who shackled them to dark, unnatural powers and unhealthy bargains. Like Blackmoore’s struggle with his morality, the orcs struggle with what their true nature might be. Even Thrall battles with a duality between his desire for revenge and his lessons of mercy. His oricish side longs to throttle the life from the being who enslaved him, yet he wants to embrace the human side of him. These conflicts added a nice intellectual layer for both the characters and the plot.

If you enjoyed Christie Golden’s Star Wars novels like I did, Lord of the Clans is a great jumping off point into her other works. It’s a fun, enjoyable story that doesn’t get too dark but addresses mature topics. The characters are well rounded and there’s a great duality theme that runs throughout the story. I give Lord of the Clans a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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