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The True Bastards is the outstanding sequel to French s fantasy explosion, The Grey Bastards It s a fantasy series filled with Orcs, elves, centaurs, magicians, and the like, but don t make the mistake of assuming this is a cutesy kids book It s not It s gritty, dark, nasty, violent, and profane It s a warlike fantasy series told about real warriors, wounded, cursing, rough, coarse, and thoroughly entertaining Conan and his fellow Cimmerians would be comfortable here.The world created here The True Bastards is the outstanding sequel to French s fantasy explosion, The Grey Bastards It s a fantasy series filled with Orcs, elves, centaurs, magicians, and the like, but don t make the mistake of assuming this is a cutesy kids book It s not It s gritty, dark, nasty, violent, and profane It s a warlike fantasy series told about real warriors, wounded, cursing, rough, coarse, and thoroughly entertaining Conan and his fellow Cimmerians would be comfortable here.The world created here is divided between Thicks who are monstrously powerful hard to kill orcs who are not only bestial but threaten to overrun everything In the other direction are the frails or humans who are in a feudal imperium Between these two worlds ride the outcast half breeds born of women raped by orcs who guard the frontier in hoofs wild clans of halfling warriors astride giant barbarian hogs, sort of like motorcycle gangs on their hogs , only these are faruntamed animals Live in the Saddle Die on the hog Each hoof has its own rules and these small bands often have other outcasts or villagers under their protection There are also nomads about who are outcast from the hoofs There are sorcerers and elves and centaurs, none exactly friendly This is Fetching s story, a half breed half orc and half elf, an unheard combination She is chief over a hoof that has fallen on hard times, near starvation and with only a handful of members And the going gets tougher from there with every hand set against them and betrayals and feared monsters at every turn She is also the only female chief and the only female rider ever And, she wants respect of the other hoofs.The story doesn t start with any introduction or recap of past events Either read the first book or follow along till it all makes sense The first twenty percent of the book sets the stage and then it explodes in nonstop action for the rest of the book No punches are pulled The fights are violent The risks are real The injured ones are many and the losses keep piling up Just an intense fantasy series and I can t wait till book three comes out.Many thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review Our favorite Bastards are back, now lead by Fetching, and are in a bad way With the Kiln gone, the True Bastards renamed from the Grey Bastards , fight starvation and terrifying threats, old and new How will they survive With grit and sheer determination, that s how I loved The Grey Bastards, and Jonathan French has done it again This is a stellar second novel, terrifically unique and exciting It moves at breakneck speed, with brutal action and epic battles The worldbuilding just keeps ge Our favorite Bastards are back, now lead by Fetching, and are in a bad way With the Kiln gone, the True Bastards renamed from the Grey Bastards , fight starvation and terrifying threats, old and new How will they survive With grit and sheer determination, that s how I loved The Grey Bastards, and Jonathan French has done it again This is a stellar second novel, terrifically unique and exciting It moves at breakneck speed, with brutal action and epic battles The worldbuilding just keeps getting richer, deeper, andunique in this series and you are in for some shocking, wonderful, and terrifying surprises.French has dug deep with this one, creating connections to events and characters from the first book that I never saw coming, some of which I wouldn t even have thought possible, but he makes them work in the most amazing ways.If you liked The Grey Bastards, you are going to lose your shit with this incredible follow up I sure did I just finished and YES What a journey this was through the Lot Lands Character driven and fueled with an engrossing plot, this novel was a meaty piece of Bastard pie Loved It.Review The True Bastards does not disappoint and delivers an equally foul mouthed, filthy plot in gritty prose filled with adventure and dare I say, surpasses even The Grey Bastards with its meaty, ambitious plot that renders addictively epic Fetch and her hoof find themselves left in the debris field and smolder o I just finished and YES What a journey this was through the Lot Lands Character driven and fueled with an engrossing plot, this novel was a meaty piece of Bastard pie Loved It.Review The True Bastards does not disappoint and delivers an equally foul mouthed, filthy plot in gritty prose filled with adventure and dare I say, surpasses even The Grey Bastards with its meaty, ambitious plot that renders addictively epic Fetch and her hoof find themselves left in the debris field and smolder of their former fortress now the ruins of the Kiln With the hogs hauling stones to Winsome among the coals, the rebuild of their fortress is slow going and dangerous Their fortification will need all the resources available to keep them safe With most of the skilled tradesman gone after the fall of the Claymaster, wood has become one of the most precious commodities that Fetch luckily secured a lot of as the new Chief But safety and provisions aren t the only things she has to worry about for her hoof Her health is declining in a sudden and rapid, deadly way Keeping her illness a secret, Fetch embarks on a journey to seek a cure What begins as a stroll through Un wundulas, turns out to begin a sequence of events that will test Fetch s abilities and judgments as chief, discover truths about herself and her brothers and will challenge her rank With a semi peaceful intro into the novel, it really starts to pick up once Jackal and Oats play their part and it turns into a goring thrill adventure Uncovering a backhanded scheme to kill off all the half orcs by frails, Fetch must try to unite the mongrel factions and outwit a masterminded plan that tests the loyalties of her brothers In her struggles, Fetch must sort out the truths of friends and foes With elemental forces taking everything from the hoof, she is coerced to put not only herself but the entirety of the hoof in danger of existence Facts about her ancestry will be the shocking ingredient as to why she has become the most important prong played that will trap her either in a losing or winning position if she can figure out how to use her knowledge wisely.The creatures imagined and intrigue plotted in this novel have created hair singing and heart racing moments edging the abyss like toiling taunts with the devil in an unputdownable, throat constricting fashion Never striving of the path and true to French s filthy lingo used in The Grey Bastards, the entirety of the novel reads strongly gritty and is interspersed with clever, funny one liners I lovedI am Fetching, leader of the half orc hoof known as the True Bastards I need to know who you cocksuckers are and what you are doing in the fucking lots A perfect balance to all the action of the plot has been given to detailingcharacter development and background history origination of places that lend an understanding to the deeper expansion of the heritage explored that will undoubtedly be important and the essential set up to the next novel in the sequence Among the characters we already know from the first installment, this novel introduces a whole cast of new ones that radiate new colors into the mesh of the story, definitely interestingly imagined and a venue for new directions to explore The hogs are still awesome and continue to play an important role here The motto LIVE IN THE SADDLE DIE ON THE HOG receives further meaning when the brothers come together and honor one of their own A very touching moment among some others that allowed reverence here It made the comradery merge palpable to the reader diluting the lines of pages in a book read with being lost immersively in the story among comrades Overall the story flowed really well and is loaded with adventure after adventure The characters are affordedhumanity through flaws and doubts while the plot continues mesmerizingly mysterious Packed with intrigue, twists, turns, imaginative creatures, menacing mayhem, and squalid filth, it s the perfect grungy fantasy with an added bonus of a strong female protagonist you don t want to mess with This was one of my most anticipated novels of the year When I read The Grey Bastards novel last year, it had absolutely taken me by surprise It was my first novel to read of the kind, so foulmouthed, kinky, brutal and fantastic I was hooked and simply smitten It took entirely too long of a wait to read The True Bastards this year I read enjoy and review different genres on my blog which did not garner me exclusive access to an ARC of this highly anticipated novel automatically Therefore, I am very grateful to have received one after all, THANK YOU Because THIS NOVEL IS ABSOLUTELY RAD I rate novels individually and love different books for different reasons If I was smitten with The Grey Bastards last year, I am now fully fletched invested and convinced of French s ability to create a thoroughly immersive, epic fantasy with substance The True Bastards is packed with so many turns of events and details developed, it garner s a reread and I am already eager to do so The Lot Lands 1 and 2 hold their own due to the uniquely daring gritty voice and style that unapologetically do not let up This, in turn, makes them compellingly addictive I d highly recommend this meaty Bastard pie of a delightful, squalid fantasy Enjoy I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review Thank you kindly I also want to thank the publisher Crown Publishing for sending me the book More of my reviews here You name us mongrels You name us soot skins You name us ash coloreds You name us in hatred What will you name us, when you learn to fear us Here we go I ve been looking forward to the next installment in this gritty, violent, bloodthirsty, foul mouthed, barbaric, Mad Max on hogs, chaotic world since I turned the last page of the first book Did Jonathan French deliver Indeed he did Let me give you just a bit of background to catch you up.The Frails, otherwise known as humans, have relie You name us mongrels You name us soot skins You name us ash coloreds You name us in hatred What will you name us, when you learn to fear us Here we go I ve been looking forward to the next installment in this gritty, violent, bloodthirsty, foul mouthed, barbaric, Mad Max on hogs, chaotic world since I turned the last page of the first book Did Jonathan French deliver Indeed he did Let me give you just a bit of background to catch you up.The Frails, otherwise known as humans, have relied on The Hoof bands of castoff half orcs to serve as a barrier in The Lots between them and the rampaging Orcs, Centaurs, and numerous other creatures who routinely, during a Berserker moon, try to destroy everything in their path The Half orcs are the progeny of Orcs raping frails or, in the case of our heroine Fetching, elves They are toothy, brawny, ugly, babies that even make their mothers shiver in disgust They might be mugly, but they grow up to be fierce fighters, not as strong as Orcs but infinitely smarter To protect their stronghold, Hispartha, the frails create a land for these repugnant half breeds to serve as a buffer between them and those monstrous creatures who desire their destruction.In the last season I m using a TV term because I feel that some bright executive in TV land should be cueing this up for Netflix or HBO , Jackal was the focal character, but now that he is off on some crusade to eviscerate an odious magician, that leaves Fetching in charge of their Hoof clan, the Bastards Fetching is the only female hog rider, but now she breaks another glass ceiling by becoming the one and only Chief Quim the term frequently used to describe her by rival Hoof bands Yeah, it s not fucking easy being a woman in chargeNever taken orders from no woman before Sure you have, Fetch said, giving her saddle s girth strap one final, sharp tug Had to be at least one that told you to go faster Okay, yeah, I nearly geysered the mouthful of Earl Grey tea I happened to have just sipped before reading that line There will be numerous lines sprinkled throughout the text that will inspire a chortle, a snortle, or quite possibly a full on, knee slapping, belly laugh Needless to say any snide remark that any male of the species, any species, can conjure, Fetch will have a barbed reply waiting in her quiver of snarky word shafts It doesn t help that Fetch is a half orc wet dream, with her lush curves and pleasing features thanks to her elfin mother , and seems to be putting out a fog of pheromones that turns every male into a grunting, moronic asshole She may not look like a badass, but once they feel the sting of her blade tickling their tenders, they have to reevaluate her abilities Fetch is exceptional, something that women all over have discovered they have to be to even be considered for any sort of advancement It is never enough to be equally as good How many women wish they could grab a man by his scrotum with their gloved hands and tell him to shut the fuck up and sit down before his manhood becomes an ugly, but small, objet d art on her mantlepiece For her own safety, Fetch has to bristle with menacing violence So, naturally, things have turned to steaming shit The Lots are a wide swath of Thunderdome Things are so bad that Conan might pack up his swords and scuttle off to a safer geography Drought has brought famine, the Hoof numbers are at an all time low, some magical wolves are trying to kill Fetch, another Hoof Chief is plotting her demise how dare she think a female can run a Hoof Band , some really fucked up super Orc is trying to turn her into splatter, the frails have brought cannon to their stronghold in The Lots, fucking Jackel won t return from his fucking quest to help, and the elves are not turning out to be the allies she hoped they would be Oh, and she is about to discover the truth of her origin story Yep, like something right out of the super hero comic books Despite all these distractions, Fetching is coming to some controversial conclusions about the future of the Half orcs and their overlord masters, the Frails Why serve when one can rule thyself Again, as I turn the last page of this second season see what I m doing there again , I m already wondering when I will have the pleasure of meeting back up with my smelly, ill tempered Hoof band Who doesn t want to hang out with Mead, Dumb Door, Shed Snake, Culprit, Polecat, Oats, and Hoodwink I ve already yelled out in my sleep,We live in the saddle We die on the hogNot an easy explanation to present to a befuddled wife, woken from deep slumber Strap on your tulwar, sling your crossbow across your back, and get ready to ride your hog into battle with Fetch She needs all the help she can get, even from Frails like you and I If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at and an Instagram account Ok this was surprisingly different, a whole new direction Review to come. Happy Book day to SPFBO winner, Jonathan French.This is the sequel to The Gray Bastards.We ve had well over a thousand self published fantasy books through the SPFBO gates and no book has ever scored higher than The Grey Bastards Happy Book day to SPFBO winner, Jonathan French.This is the sequel to The Gray Bastards.We ve had well over a thousand self published fantasy books through the SPFBO gates and no book has ever scored higher than The Grey Bastards There are many ways to die, but only one way to survive just keep going Is starvation decimating your ranks, with food a constant scarcity Just keep going Is there a new, ancient threat that leads a terrifying race of creatures to hunt in ways never seen before Just keep going Has your lover and protector deserted your clan, have you sent your best warrior far away, and is a sickness corrupting you from the inside out Just keep going and don t stop until there s nothing, and no one, left There are many ways to die, but only one way to survive just keep going Is starvation decimating your ranks, with food a constant scarcity Just keep going Is there a new, ancient threat that leads a terrifying race of creatures to hunt in ways never seen before Just keep going Has your lover and protector deserted your clan, have you sent your best warrior far away, and is a sickness corrupting you from the inside out Just keep going and don t stop until there s nothing, and no one, left Such is the plight of hoof leader Fetching as we rejoin her in the Lot Lands nearly two years after the events of The Grey Bastards in Jonathan French s intense and massively entertaining sequel, The True Bastards.When we last visited the Lot Lands, the Orc Incursion has thrown the surviving half orcs into chaos The Bastards home was decimated, and Jackal has left to hunt down the wizard who is behind the plague and incursions The battle with the centaurs under the Betrayer moon combined with the encroaching full blood thicks from the south has sown chaos among the ranks of the surviving hoofs Fetch has become the de facto leader of a new hoof, the True Bastards, and takes in new hopefuls and free riders and anyone else who fought bravely against their enemies and could help fill out the ranks But a female leader of a hoof does not sit well with others The humans are starting to muster their strength to the north, new visitors appear in the south, and enemies are hunting down the Bastards in all directions Fetch s duties would be difficult enough if she didn t have to deal with the day to day challenges of feeding the orphans, guarding their walls, hunting, mining, and training their meager forces Hundreds of half orcs and humans depend on her decisions for survival, and now forces both ancient and familiar are revealing secrets that could cause Fetching to lose everyone and everything she s fighting for.Fetching was my most beloved character in The Grey Bastards, so I was excited to learn that she was the primary POV in The True Bastards She is a natural leader, but constantly questions her place in a male centric society She s a warrior but uses her wit before her blade whenever possible She s still dealing with the after effects of her battle with the Sludge Man and her weaknesses may threaten her ability to lead Above all, she s willing to make unprecedented life or death decisions to keep her hoof and followers alive These decisions bring her followers into uncharted and dangerous territories that were fantastic to discover Although Fetch is the primary focus of the narrative, the story just as much about surviving the surrounding Lot Lands as it is about the Bastards journey through them.While the foul language and obscenities are still prevalent in the sequel, it seems like they re usedsparingly and have greater bite when deployed Once again, French captures the graphic nature of gang camaraderie with a heavy dose of humor and heart The tone and sense of harrowing dread stays consistent throughout the story, and it makes for an excellent, page turning read There are quite a few surprises in store that caught me off guard, and I m looking forward to discussing them when this hits the shelves.The True Bastards is an immersive and gripping tale of survival and sacrifice, and does an exceptional job further developing The Lot Lands in surprising and interesting ways If you have an interest in reading a series based on non human protagonists as they battle and claw their way through an unforgiving environment while forging bonds of brotherhood, this series checks all of those boxes, and so muchHighly recommended ARC via Edelweiss This book will be released on October 8, 2019. 4.5 STARSLive in the saddleDie on the hogAaaahhhh It was SO GOOD to be back with the hoof again Admittedly, it took me until about 20% before I fully had a grasp on what all had happened in book 1 If ever a sequel needed as synopsis at the beginning, it s this one since my brain is such a sieve But even without a handle on where my favorite characters had gotten to and why, I was still left with Jonathan French s wonderfully clever prose and his wonderfully clever h 4.5 STARSLive in the saddleDie on the hogAaaahhhh It was SO GOOD to be back with the hoof again Admittedly, it took me until about 20% before I fully had a grasp on what all had happened in book 1 If ever a sequel needed as synopsis at the beginning, it s this one since my brain is such a sieve But even without a handle on where my favorite characters had gotten to and why, I was still left with Jonathan French s wonderfully clever prose and his wonderfully clever heroine, Fetching, who now had the lead Sidenote I m pretty sure Jonathan French has my undying devotionnot only for going with a heroine as the lead character, but for pulling it off Anyway.Despite the hardships they ve endured, the Bastards are as irreverent and politically incorrect as everFetching made a point of never naming her mounts, but the Bastards had taken to calling this one Womb Broom The only thing keeping the chief s quim free of dustI loved the devotion and loyalty they showed their new chief and the respect they had for her decisions even if Fetching was working on a brutal learning curveHard as living in the badlands could be, it was nothing compared to living it in the hoofmaster s chairAnd their lives only got harder and harder as foes, new and old, came after them full tiltSurvival was instinct It was akin to hunger or breathingThere were some incredible moments as the story unfolded, especially as beloved characters reappeared She could only watch And place her faith in the most brazen mongrel ever to ride the Lots which rounded out all the action and adventure nicely.I strongly recommend if fantasy is your jam Such good stuff The True Bastards by Jonathan French is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary Last year I read The Grey Bastards and of the 800 books I read, this book stood out as my favorite So when I saw this second book I really hoped they would let me read it The last book was centered around the half orcs group, they call a hoof, and this good calls themselves The Grey Bastards.This group has some of the same people but they have the first woman half orc chief The hoof lives in The True Bastards by Jonathan French is a book I requested from NetGalley and the review is voluntary Last year I read The Grey Bastards and of the 800 books I read, this book stood out as my favorite So when I saw this second book I really hoped they would let me read it The last book was centered around the half orcs group, they call a hoof, and this good calls themselves The Grey Bastards.This group has some of the same people but they have the first woman half orc chief The hoof lives in the same Lot as before but they call themselves The True Bastards This job is not easy for a male to be riding a giant mean tusked hog A hog big enough to carry a half orc long distances The female chief has to ride, fight, pull and shoot a bow, knife fight, and be totally fearless to live in a hoof butso to be the chief The Lots is a hard life The food is scarce, lots of enemies, the land barren All the good depends if the chief s decisions.This is a very, action filled book that holds nothing back If you are offended by swear words, even implied ones, this is not for you This is what it would really be like ifThat s why I like it French make this world and characters so real I think my favorite character is Polecat, he is paler than the other half orcs and very quiet on his feet, and a good sniper Bad guys are dead and they don t know it yet This is non stop action, page turner from the beginning My emotions were everywhere There are lots of great creatures in here too Elves, trolls, orcs, snake like creatures, sorcerers, and centaurs The worst are humans There is so much that goes on in here It is a must read Truly another winning book Love the cover ^Free Book ⇷ The True Bastards ☊ Fetching was once the only female rider in the Lot Lands Now she is the leader of her own hoof, a band of loyal half orcs sworn to her command But in the year since she took power, the True Bastards have struggled to survive Tested to the breaking point by the burdens of leadership, Fetching battles desperately to stave off famine, desertion, and the scorn of the other half orc chieftains, even as orcs and humans alike threaten the Lots very existence Then an old enemy finds a way to strike at her from beyond the grave and suddenly only one, faint hope for salvation remains