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Honor Among Orcs

by Amalia Dillin  
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Series: Orc Saga, Book One
Genre: New Adult Fantasy/ Romantic Fantasy 

After nearly a decade as the king’s whipping-girl, Princess Arianna has no intention of going quietly into marriage to some treasonous noble, or serving obediently as the king’s spy until her death is more convenient. When she discovers a handsome orc, chained and trapped inside a magic mirror, Arianna cannot help but see a lasting freedom from her father’s abuse.

Left to rot inside a mirror by the king, Bolthorn never imagined his prayers would be answered by a princess. Nor did he ever expect to meet so worthy a woman after knowing her father’s cruelty. He needs her help to escape the mirror before the king marches against the orcs, but all he can offer Arianna is ice and darkness in exchange for her aid. 

If Arianna can free the monster behind the glass, perhaps she might free herself, as well. But once they cross the mountain, there will be no return, and the deadly winter is the least of what threatens them on the other side. Romance blossoms in this gripping fantasy adventure.

Available on
Amazon  |   B&N  |  Goodreads

About the Author

Amalia Dillin began as a Biology major before taking Latin and falling in love with old heroes and older gods. After that, she couldn’t stop writing about them, with the occasional break for more contemporary subjects. She lives in upstate New York with her husband, and dreams of the day when she will own goats–to pull her chariot through the sky, of course. 

Amalia is the author of the Fate of the Gods trilogy from World Weaver Press, and the soon to be released Orc Saga, coming April 1, 2014. You can learn more about her work at

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My Thoughts on Honor of the Orcs

Things have been quiet around my blog of late (though certainly not quiet outside of it which I’ll talk about later), but today I am pretty excited to be participating in the Book Blast for Amalia Dillin’s newest book, Honor Among Orcs. (Though after a couple of hours of fighting with coding between the book blast codes and wordpress being a pain, I’m questioning my sanity. :P) I have read books in Amalia’s Fate of the Gods series that begins with Forged By Fate that I absolutely adored, so I was pretty excited to hear about the new series. Being able to be a part of the book blast is something new for me, but I’m super happy to help Amalia out because she is an all around awesome person and a kick ass writer.

As much as I enjoyed Forged By Fate, I honestly did not know what to expect with Honor Among Orcs and I am occasionally trepidatious about new worlds (because sometimes I am a dork). It was an entirely different setting with an intriguing concept, so I was certainly game to go exploring. As I eagerly began those first pages, curious to see what wizardy Amalia had worked this time, I had no clue that I would be diving headfirst into a tale that begins with a rush and leaves you wondering just where the next turn of the bend will take you. One of the things I love about Amalia’s writing is her ability to make characters that are incredibly real. As you get the first glimpse of Arianna, you can almost feel the sprightly youth who is stuck trying to conform to her tyrannical father. The first glimpses of King Gunnar, Arianna’s father, almost left me cringing because I felt I could hear the smarmy smugness beneath the clear cruelty he exhibited. Descriptions of Lord Alviss and his actions left my skin crawling more than once, and I held certain rather strong feelings about what I would like to see happen to him. Perhaps most poignant of all was the introduction to Bolthorn, who even in wretched captivity managed to evade strength and safety behind his wary exterior. It was not difficult to get behind Arianna and Bolthorn early in the book and I found them both to be worthy leads to the story. Each had flaws and strengths that played to the other’s in such a way that it wove a clever story without seeming trite and boring.

Arianna and Bolthorn find themselves frequently struggling between worlds, whether it is human and orc, orc and elf, or somewhere in between. There are forces at play that neither of them had ever imagined, and at times, all that keeps them afloat is the assurance that somehow, somewhere, the other is there. I found myself frequently wondering just what could possibly happen next and there were several points and twists I certainly did not see coming which is a credit to the care and detail that Amalia writes with. The world she has begun to build with this book is certainly captivating and there is clearly room for a lot of storytelling within the landscape, and I found myself wanting to know more about so many things and so many places. Sometimes, a lot of room for more stories can make the story you’re reading confusing and in some cases, irritating. In the case of Honor Among Orcs, while I found I had questions and curiosities about other areas, I never felt it was distracting me from the story being told. Instead, it felt like I was catching glimpses of potential in the wilderness that could be seen but not yet touched, promises of a future both for Arianna and Bolthorn as well as members of their worlds past, present, and future.

Despite multiple characters being introduced, the story is easy to follow. At its start, it is a tale of a heroine trying to save a hero and herself, which is compelling enough on its own given how often the reverse is true, but at its heart, Honor is about finding strength in love, finding faith and trust in the most trying of moments, and of finding one’s place in the world. You cannot have the story of Arianna and Bolthorn without also learning of politics amongst orcs and elves and you cannot learn about orcs and elves without realizing that there are other lessons to find in the text. Themes such as questioning beauty (and not taking it at face value) as well as pride in oneself and one’s kith and kin recur within the story and find varying resolutions. The adventure of the story alone makes it a fantastic read, but the depths that Amalia explores inter-race politics, gender roles & expectations, and family dynamics make it something more than a simple adventure-love story.

As much as I love the story, there were a few spots I found it lagging. Some of the miscommunications between Arianna and Bolthorn in the early parts of the book before they reach the mountain pass grew tedious at times. I would have liked to have seen some of that resolved a bit sooner than it was. In my opinion, there were plenty of potential points of tension between them so a bit of the “she couldn’t possibly love me/he couldn’t possibly want me” grated on my nerves and I was definitely glad when that piece was resolved. In fact, this is perhaps the biggest point I had trouble with and had to keep making myself come back to the story without being distracted by other things. I wanted that resolution to happen, I felt that the resolution was going to happen, and for me, it just needed to happen a little sooner. To be clear, I’m not saying I think they should have fallen immediately head over heels for each other, because that is also annoying. I just wish that given the connection that had been forming between them they had managed to get their heads out of their bums and talk to each other just a few pages sooner than they did. Once that resolution happened, I stopped wondering when the story would pick up again and was swept straight back into the tale.

The other point that I wish had been a little more clear were who each of the Vala in the story were and their relationships to other parts of the story. I can’t spell this one out quite as clearly as I’d like without coming close to spoiler territory and I don’t want to do that. I suspect that part of it was I started to confuse some of the “V” names in the explanation part and a more careful reading might have helped me avoid that; however, it is a point that I found slightly frustrating, so I encourage you to read those parts carefully and catch a grasp of who each person is. (There is also a helpful Dramatis Personae at the end of the e-book that I found after the fact, so if you do become confused, I highly recommend jumping to that part and then returning to reading.)

Given that those two points are pretty minor in the grand scheme of book reading and are largely more personal things as opposed to actual writing flaws, I happily give the story five stars. I encourage you to read it and fall in love with the characters and become wrapped up in Amalia’s new world. While I still think I love Forged by Fate better, I’ll be quite eager to read more in Honor’s world as well. I know that Arianna and Bolthorn’s story is far from done and I cannot wait to see what happens next. (Also, I vote for Fossegrim to be a huge part in any other books written in this world because he was, by far, my favorite character. He is clearly a man with stories to tell and he exudes mischief and whimsy even when he is being serious. I loved him pretty much from the second sentence about him and my opinion of him only grew as the story went on. Let me just mention again how much I love Amalia’s ability to write characters and make them real.)

Now, what are you waiting for?! Enter the giveaway and speed off to buy the book! You won’t regret it!


As a disclaimer, I received my copy of Honor Among Orcs in exchange for giving honest reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. While I certainly love free books, my opinions are based on the work itself and are not biased by the e-arc. I just also pride myself on honesty in reviews and thus felt the note was in order. Free books do not buy good reviews in my world. 🙂