Review: The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French

27838712Guys… this book is fucking magic!

It’s definitely one of those books that I loved so much that I’m pretty sure that this review is going to be mostly incoherent, so forgive me if this gets a little off-topic. It’s also going to be really, really hard to keep this spoiler-free, but for you guys, I will endeavor!

Here’s the blurb (it sums it up way better than I am ever going to):

Such is the creed of the half-orcs dwelling in the Lot Lands. Sworn to hardened brotherhoods known as hoofs, these former slaves patrol their unforgiving country astride massive swine bred for war. They are all that stand between the decadent heart of noble Hispartha and marauding bands of full-blood orcs.

Jackal rides with the Grey Bastards, one of eight hoofs that have survived the harsh embrace of the Lots. Young, cunning and ambitious, he schemes to unseat the increasingly tyrannical founder of the Bastards, a plague-ridden warlord called the Claymaster. Supporting Jackal’s dangerous bid for leadership are Oats, a hulking mongrel with more orc than human blood, and Fetching, the only female rider in all the hoofs.

When the troubling appearance of a foreign sorcerer comes upon the heels of a faceless betrayal, Jackal’s plans are thrown into turmoil. He finds himself saddled with a captive elf girl whose very presence begins to unravel his alliances. With the anarchic blood rite of the Betrayer Moon close at hand, Jackal must decide where his loyalties truly lie, and carve out his place in a world that rewards only the vicious.

“You got a name?”

“Uhad Ul-badir Taruk Ultani,” the wizard said with a small dip of his chin.

Jackal blinked. “That name is a fucking nightmare. I’m going to call you Crafty.”

I love a book that is full of swearing and sex, well, this one starts out in a brothel. Fetch, Jack, and Oats are characters that I instantly rooted for. The plot is never plodding, there’s plenty of action, there’s all kinds of banter and the plot isn’t predictable. I got surprised. More than once! That’s always great.

I wasn’t expecting to get emotional at all in a book about half-orcs fucking and fighting their way through life in the badlands but shit happens in this book that made me everything from angry to sad to laughing my ass off. There are consequences to character’s decisions. I was rooting so hard for one of them that I didn’t even realize he fucked up until he had it explained to him.

The whole plot wraps up nicely. Things that happened begin to make more sense. All the threads come together to form an exciting climactic finish. Fantastic! It even leaves room for further exploration in the world if the author so chooses, without leaving anything from this novel wide open. Love it!

This book is a finalist in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and it absolutely deserves it. Let’s just say that I’m glad that I’m not a judge in this thing… because I wouldn’t be able to choose between any of them that I’ve read so far. This is also why nobody asks me to judge things. 😀

Also, and this is both on and off topic, if I ever own a pig for any reason, I am 100% positively naming it Ugfuck. It’s going to be a tiny, adorable potbelly pig. Ugfuck. It’ll have a little pink collar with a bow on it. Ugfuck. I’m taking it with me everywhere!

If you like a rollicking adventure with all kinds of swearing and fighting and dick jokes, do yourself a favor and read this book! 5/5 stars!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: