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Book Review: The Free Bastards

Table of Contents

The long-awaited war has come in the conclusion to the Lot Lands trilogy.
War has come to the Lot Lands—and Oats stands upon the frontline.

The Hisparthan armies on the horizon are mighty, bolstered by divine champions, dread sorcerers, and gunpowder. It’s almost more than the half-orc rebellion can hope to repel.

But Oats has won impossible fights before. He’s a thriceblood, after all, more orc than man. And he hasn’t forgotten how to kill. He’ll stack the bodies high for his chief and his brethren, if that’s the price of freeing the Lots from human tyranny.

Besides, the invading forces are getting a damned sight more than they bargained for. They’re not facing a handful of half-orc hoofs, but a true army—one forged from all the peoples of the Lots. At its head are Fetching, in full command of the ruinous power that runs through her veins, and Jackal, armed with the blessings of a dead god.

Yet Oats can’t help but find his faith wavering. Once the strongest Bastard, he soon realizes that in this battle, even the strength of a thriceblood is easily conquered. And after a grievous loss strikes, he begins to fear that this war will lead the Lots not to freedom but to ruin.

So when another path to peace beckons, he has no choice but to walk it. Even if it means betting the Lots’ fate, and his own, on the promises of the Bastards’ wiliest adversary—and making a perilous journey into the heart of Hispartha itself.

Brimming with all the epic battles, surprising sorcery, and fiendish twists a Bastards fan could wish for, alongside unforgettable moments for characters old and new, The Free Bastards builds a new future for the Lots—even as it gives our beloved trio of Jackal, Fetching, and Oats the rousing, blood-soaked sendoff they deserve.”

Title: The Free Bastards

Series: The Lot Lands #3

Author: Jonathan French

Page Count: 560

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5.0

Date Read: January 21st, 2024

The Free Bastards by Jonathan French is the third and what I assume final installment from the Lot Lands series. This series initially hit my radar as I found books one and two cheap and picked up physical copies for my home library. Granted it took me almost two years before I finally got around to reading them but it’s be a gritty and exciting adventure from beginning to end.
 
I know this isn’t going to be a popular opinion and by no means am I calling this a one to one match. However, I can’t help but think if someone took Lord of the Rings but told it from the perspective of Orcs and Half-orc, this is something it would look like. This is much darker, gritty and often times vulgar, but it actually worked for me.
 
Even though I owned physical copies of the first two books I did choose to listen to the audiobook versions for this entire series. The Free Bastards returned to Will Damron who also narrated book one. Book two was the only one that had Lisa Flanagan narrate from Fetching’s perspective. Book three is told from Oats’ point of view and I have to admit by the end of this one, he became my favorite character.
 
The pacing worked really well for me. The pacing of the story is really good as well as the narration by Will Damron. Book three seemed very balanced to me with plenty of build up and plenty of action to get the blood pumping!
 
Worldbuilding is wrapped up nicely in The Free Bastards. We mostly know the setting of this world at this point but we experience this time around is bringing several parts of the story and world full circle with a nice conclusion.
 
Finally the character development brings another layer of nice conclusions with The Free Bastards. We do go a bit more in depth with a few newer characters not previously given that time. On the flip side we see some of our familiar characters really come to a nice conclusion too. I mentioned previously that even though Oats was a solid character throughout the series, his story arc truly shines in this one. He is such an interesting character! He came to remind me of a similar character of Opie from Sons of Anarchy. The big strong guy that struggles plenty internally but nobody can question his need to protect those he loves.
 
This series started a bit rough for me just with the vulgarity of dialog but that did seem to level off a bit in the first book and though it was always present here and there it didn’t distract from the story being told. This was definitely a darker theme with gritty characters, plenty of political intrigue and a good mix sprinkle of different sorts of magic to finish things off.

World Building 4.5/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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