Whoever knew a quest with orcs could be so much fun! Forget elves and dwarves, these oft-villainized mythical beings are armed and ready for action, no matter what is thrown at them. Written and illustrated by Christine Larsen, ORCS! will have young readers entertained with the protagonists’ laugh out loud antics and adventurous spirits, along with the many other weird creatures that exist in their world.
Bog and his team of loyal orcs are banished from their home after a prank with a few vicious squirrels gets out of hand. Luckily, he has a plan to get them all back home: a quest for fortune through the Eerieasallhel Forest. But it becomes easier said than done when the gang are kidnapped by trolls, nibbled by gnomes, and stalked by a group of wardens. Meanwhile, the local orc witch is busy at her craft and entertaining the youngsters with the tales of Drod One-Eye, legendary orc warrior known for her fierce fighting skills and travels.
Christine Larsen has given a fresh new take on the life of orcs. They are still a dangerous bunch prone to rude behavior and violence but, just like any other mythical creature, they have their own stories and traditions that they follow. The stories of Drod One-Eye are very similar to any heroic tale with magical fellowships and earth shattering battles. The community is made up of adults caring for the tribe’s young ones and crews that are made up of both male and female orcs. Larsen also includes some fantasy satire and humorous word play in her story (just say Eerieasallhel out loud slowly) along with her unique array of characters. The world she has created includes vast landscapes of deserts, forests, and mountain ranges, perfect for any fans of magical quests. Her orcs vary in size and color, along with personalities. Most of the story’s action scenes span two pages with panel after panel of fights and magical sequences.
For elementary and middle school readers who enjoy some humor with their fantasy adventure, Larsen’s ORCS! is a great choice. Public and school libraries should consider this title in their collections. Players of fantasy games such as World of Warcraft and Dungeon and Dragons will appreciate the small nods to the tropes of magical quests, along with the array of magical characters that populate the graphic novel’s world.
By Christine Larsen
BOOM! KaBOOM!, 2021
NFNT Age Recommendation: Middle Grade (7-11), Tween (10-13)