Blood Oath – An Orc Love Story is a fantasy novelette by Sarah E. Seeley. It reminds me somewhat of a story set in the Warcraft games, where it follows two orcs who want all the fighting to simply end. Ripliancum finds a near-fatally wounded Zehra on the battelfield. He has to take her to an enclave of sages to be healed, but he is running out of time.
The story shares the internal journey of Ripliancum as he begins an impossible quest and has to confront some horrible and unexpected realities. How he works through them is the most interesting part, and the author does an excellent job helping the reader understand the process. What we have in the end is a beautiful narrative which explores thoughts and choices not unlike those everyone has to make at certain points in life.
Seeley does a wonderful job describing the world and making it feel real. In just a few pages, she makes the world of Blood Oath – An Orc Love Story come alive, exploring the beauty of the orcs’ world and juxtaposing it with the horrors of war. Devastation is everywhere, and Seeley spares nothing in showing just how much this war has affected everyone there, from children to women to men.
The ending is wonderful. Ripliancum has to make hard choices, and how he makes them has a lasting effect on everyone. Too many authors create heroic characters without giving them hard decisions to make and then making sure they don’t do the right thing. Seeley did not do this, and that made this story one of the strongest I have read in a while. Blood Oath – An Orc Love Story is a book everyone should get. If you like gritty war stories that do not shy away from the hard questions, this is an excellent choice.
Release Date: April 3, 2014 (USA)
ISBNs: 1495993930 (9781495993930)
Language: 1 (very brief and minor)
Violence: 2 (brief mention of rape, some brutal violence, some blood, death)