Brad's Reviews > Grunts

Grunts by Mary Gentle
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Dec 26, 12

bookshelves: forty-for-2012-personal-challenge, paused, annoying, fantasy, ugh, unfinished
Recommended for: a masochist
Read from October 26 to December 26, 2012, read count: 0.25

I give up. I can't go on. I couldn't even make it to page one hundred. I slogged through the first 85 pages, which should have been a stand-alone novella (had it been a novella, it would have been a vast improvement, and I may have sped through it had I not been daunted and confused by the presence of the 300+ pages that were still to come). For years I've been longing for a book from the Orc perspective. I wanted a story that actually gave us a hint of Orc culture, Orc life, maybe a story about a humble Orc farmer, just trying to make it while providing grain for the Orc army and living in fear of the nasty humans encroaching on his land. Or perhaps the tale of an Orc warrior, living in squalor and fear because he's part of an underfunded army, and a culture that prizes death over anything else. Or the story of an Orc actor, part of a travelling show, moving through the armies of the Orcs, trying to boost morale. Anything original that told us who Orcs are, even if it wasn't my idea of what Orcs can be, would have been appreciated. Thus I went into Grunts with an open mind, ready to love it (bolstered by the fact that I really enjoyed Mary Gentle's Rats and Gargoyles). But there was no hint of that book I'd been hoping for. Instead, it was just a bunch of idiotic, cannibalistic, hyper-violent degenerates. Just more of Orcs being unrepentantly evil and nasty. But wait, Grunts did provide us with a pair of seriously pyschopathic Halflings, a pair of serial killers if truth be told, and that made me excited for a while, but just when that thread would get interesting, the Halflings would disappear. Which reminds me, the pacing in this book was awful, all over the place, I'd get interested, then she'd move onto something else and drain me of interest. But then Grunts had something else I could get behind: (view spoiler) And then I was just pissed off again, and wishing this book was over. So I put the book down, and I tried to muster the interest to come back, but I've given up on that idea. I can see no reason for the book to continue, I can see no reason for me to read on, so I have stopped and given Gentle two stars. The book is okay at best. I hate it because it didn't live up to its amazing potential, but I will say it's okay because I can't comment on the finished product. I'll say it's okay despite my hate. (you're feeling how disjointed and strange this review is, aren't you? how disruptive the pacing? that's what Gentle did in her book. Seriously). Yep, I hate this book. But maybe you won't, though you probably will.
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Reading Progress

10/26/2012 page 22
4.0% "I'm already disappointed. I was hoping to see a different sort of Orc, but nothing doing. At least there is a pair of murderous Halflings running around. I'll jeep going, for now."
12/11/2012 page 72
15.0% "I'm thinking this was a novella that got out of control." 2 comments
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Richard (new)

Richard Isn't this supposed to be LOTR retold from the point of view of the orcs? The idea is intriguing maybe, but I dunno... It doesn't look as if you're having a good time with it.


Brad I would have loved this if it was LOTR from the orcs perspective, but not so, unfortunately.


message 3: by Terence (new)

Terence So...we still await the definitive revisionist LotR (e.g., The Last Ringbearer) :-(

On the other hand, we still have this :-)


Brad I was thinking of Where There's a Whip There's Way when we were watching Return of the King the other day. I never thought to go on youtube. I'll have to show my kids.


message 5: by kvon (new)

kvon I read this some years ago, and like most Gentle books I was glad I read it and would not read it again.

Have you read Goblin Quest by Jim Hines? Although the POV goblin is a bit atypical for his kind. Much cuter than Grunts.


Brad I've never even heard of Goblin Quest, kvon. Thanks for the tip. I'm going to go read about it now.


Korbl Klimecki You *have* to press on. The first 100 pages are admittedly slow, but it picks up and gets much more interesting.


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