It’s sad when books like Orcs seem to get hyped on their covers, when the actual writing is so sub-standard. I got taken into reading the first of these books and was soooo disappointed. It shows what power publishers can have if they get the marketing right I suppose. Seemed to work as well with James Barclay – the covers look great, but the content is pretty dull fantasy formula – again similar gritty fighting stuff like Nicholls, but not very well written and boring to read plot wise – just very hackneyed. I think these writers are trying to be like the master of this sort of epic fantasy, but failing.
One guy I have just started reading, Joe Abercrombie, succeeds very well. Its not because the themes and plot are particularly dazzling though, its the immediacy of the description that really makes the characters and the atmosphere come alive. You can feel the mud seeping into your boots!