This was a Tiktok made me do it purchase. I bought a signed copy of K.L. Wyatt‘s Stolen By the Orc Commander.
A human girl set on revenge…
Orcs and humans have been at war with each other for as long as Snow can remember. Orphaned as a child, she has spent her years as a tracker, known only as the ‘Hooded Bandit’ by the king’s men. Stealing anything she can in order to survive the harsh human lands of Everdean. The only thing keeping her going is the determination to make those responsible for her family’s death suffer.
When a routine carriage robbery goes south, Snow finds herself face to face with the notorious orc commander himself. Taken as his captive and returned to Orc Mountain, Snow has a new goal: escape from the mountain no matter the cost.
An orc commander determined to end the war…
Azogg the Destroyer is a skilled fighter. As leader of the orc army, he despises humans more than most. The war has destroyed their homelands, leaving them all to suffer in the mountains. As commander, he knows that he must find a way to end this conflict once and for all.
With no other choice, Azogg finds himself tracking a royal advisor…only to have his plans upended by a sickly human female. One he quickly discovers is not what she seems. Azogg is resistant to trusting a human, but her extensive knowledge of the royal trade routes makes her the ultimate find.
Could this human be the key to ending the war?
Tempers and passion flare as both Snow and Azogg realize the only way forward is for them to work together. Will this unlikely pair be able to put aside decades of hate and distrust? Or will factors beyond their control drive them apart before they get the chance?
Welcome to Orc Mountain.
Note: Spoilery rant incoming.
I wanted so badly to love this. The cover is awesome. I’m all about the orc romances, any monsters, really. I had high hopes. But I hated this. The editing is a hit or miss and the plotting leaves a lot to be desired, but the mechanical writing is perfectly readable. I just hated the story.
I spent too much time like, What? Just because we see his internal monologue and that he’s torn up about things (that’s sarcasm because we actually see very little of it), I’m supposed to miss the fact that he treats her like complete shit in every single interaction? There is absolutely nothing for a reader to connect with in this romance. Not even sex, because we don’t get a sex scene until around page 130 (in a 178-page book). So, it doesn’t even have being porn-with-plot as an excuse for its lack of anything to connect to.
There is just a male who avoids the woman we are supposed to believe he falls in love with, then shows up to treat her like garbage, and then avoids her some more before showing up to mistreat her again, over and over and over again. And a female main character who suddenly loses her heart literally like a day into the whole ordeal (not counting the unconscious one). Again, I was just like, What? Why? WTF?
It was so bad that by the time we finally did get the sex scenes, I was just pissed off that she accepted him. I was flat-out mad. The breaking point for me was when he crushed her by cruelly telling her she was worthless and should leave, and she was still there when he got back. Fair enough, you need a few days to get supplies and make preparations. But that wasn’t it. She chose to stay for him. At that moment, I was done. I finished the book just to finish it.
But, Nah, there was nothing for me here. I was flat-out pissed off for her. Fuck that guy, and not in a good way. And fuck her for being willing to let that man consistently treat her like he did and mysteriously fall in love with him. There was no romance in this romance. And, for the record, it’s not dark romance. I can’t even console myself that the darkness is the point. It’s not. It’s trying to be a romance and just completely failing.
I see what the author was going for, but it apparently takes a defter hand than she has. What she was going for requires push and pull, and there is no pull here. So, the relationship progression made no sense in context. Not even the fated mate aspect could rescue it for me.
The dude basically abandoned her in Orc Mountain, and she makes a whole life for herself—friends, accomplishments, she even gets a god damned pet—and he isn’t part of any of it. He’s nowhere to be found. Well, he pops up to be a dick every now and again. What am I, as a reader, supposed to find appealing in that? There are no scenes that make you go “aww,” no hot sex scenes to divert your attention, no challenge overcome together, no deep conversations (hardly any conversations at all), there is nothing prior to the sudden and unexplainable love that explains it or engages the reader.
Sure, he groveled a bit. But it was far too little, far too late. By that point, the fact that she was there to hear him out at all, let alone willing to hear him out, made no sense to me and pissed me off.
The ending was also just ridiculously predictable but somehow unnecessary. She had to sneak in somewhere through a convenient secret tunnel (because, of course, she did), and then he was immediately sent in after her. So, why did she specifically need to sneak in in the first place? Obviously, so that the plot could contort so he can save her. But I’d have rathered she be the hero if I had to sit through such predictability. The book felt about a million pages long.
I appreciated the full-figured heroine and the LGBTQ rep. But I just didn’t enjoy the characters at all, and that meant I couldn’t enjoy the story. This was a big ol’ flop for me, and it was 100% because of choices the author made in plotting.