REVIEW: The Orc Wife by SJ Sanders

Sammi is having the worst weekend. When what was supposed to be a secluded romantic get away turns into a near death experience when she is stranded alone in the mountains during a snow storm by her two-timing boyfriend, Sammi faces a desperate situation. With no cell-service, dwindling food supplies, and a power outage, she doesn’t think it could get worse until an accident leaves her unconscious and vulnerable. When she comes to, she awakens to find herself in a warm cabin, and her rescuer a creature of fantasy–an orc. And he thinks that she will be a perfectly obedient pet. Ha! He wishes.

Orgath is an exile, the son of a vanquished chieftain of his clan. His days and nights are spent alone more often than not. When he finds a tiny human while hunting in the human world his compassion moves him to rescue the little thing and bring her home as a companion. He quickly finds out that there is a lot more to humans than orc-kind has believed. When things starting heating up and passion ignites between them, they discover the potential for a lot more in their relationship than either could have imagined.

Warnings: Cheating, Depictions of fantasy racism

The Orc Wife is the first book in a series of monster romance novels. It is fluffy, sweet, and exactly what is on the tin, so if monsters or orcs are your craving, it is sure to scratch the itch.

WRITING
The writing can be a little silly and over the top melodramatic at times, and if you’ve read many of these kinds of romance novels before you can likely predict exactly the beats its going to be hitting as it uses a lot of familiar tropes. But its a lot of fun, especially if these are tropes that you enjoy. The story follows Sammi as she is taken in by the Orc prince Orgath who is running from responsibility until he realizes that if he’s going to start a family he’ll have to finally step up and defeat his foes in order to protect his new human wife. It’s a story that moves quickly through its plot, doesn’t really keep you guessing where its going, and will be sure to engage if you’re looking for some light fun reading. Lots of culture shock and human/monster relations as well as miscommunication and romantic shenanigans. Ending felt a little rushed but it was fairly solid.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
As the story follows pretty formulaic character tropes and archetypes, I did find that the leads were a little difficult to be terribly emotionally invested in, Sammi in particular. She has a bit of an annoying Feisty Woman thing going on which can be irritating; I’m obviously all for women having attitude and being strong and empowered, but sometimes some of her complaints really made me roll my eyes. Orgath is also pretty well just a Big Burly Man’s Man archetype and the gender dynamics were a bit much. That said I did very much enjoy how the author developed their relationship gradually, and it was easy to fall in love with them falling in love with each other. There was actually quite a bit less resistance to the idea from either of them than I expected, and I liked their interactions together playing off each other.

WORLDBUILDING
The world seems to be a fairly typical high fantasy realm except for the fact that it seems that there are places where portals open up, through which people from the fantasy land can travel to our world and back and vise versa. This is the crux around which the politics revolve, as the control of these portals is what all the fantasy races are most after, though why exactly is a little under explored. I liked the portrayal of elves as stuffy and uptight authoritarians, and the other fantasy races and magic like the unicorns made for a very fun time. Aside from this, as is often the case the orcs do seem to be pretty Indigenous coded, and Orgath an example of the ‘Noble Savage’ trope, unfortunately.

STEAMINESS
The author writes sex quite well, and if you enjoy reading very emotionally and experientially driven smut, this should fit the bill. It’s a bit on the fluffy side for me’ despite our leads playing with some consensual kink and bondage games, it still feels rather vanilla all around, but if you’re here for giant orc dick this has got you covered. He’s big, he’s possessive, he’s rough, and he’s a sweetheart, and all of this comes through in the smut passages. I didn’t really connect well with their mutual attraction, as both of them seem to be instantaneously incredibly visually attracted to one another rather than situationally which is my own preference. However if you’re in the market for some really enthusiastic sexy times this is the book for you.

All in all I found this book to be an enjoyable few days of reading. It’s formulaic enough that it will be fairly breezy reading and a lot of fun if these tropes are your jam.

Have you read The Orc Wife? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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