The Death of Promises by David Dalglish is the third book in the Half-Orcs series. If you’ve been following the series since book one, then you should already be familiar with the author’s writing style and the general setting he’s created for this story. If you didn’t like his previous books, it’s perfectly okay. You can say his story lacks character growth or lacks in a story you can relate too or whatever. However one thing that you cannot say this series lacks in is action. Here in the third book, the author pounds you with wave after wave of pure sword and magic battle scenes. It gets a bit overwhelming to say the least. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book though. It’s just a bit too action oriented for my tastes. With the past two books, I felt that the author did a much better job at balancing things out. Here, he just went all out and in the end, it just leaves a reader breathless but not in a good way.
As far as characters go in the third book, things take a back seat. Characters such as Haern is pretty much non-existent until a fight scene comes along and he somehow always manages to catch a victim off guard so that he can conveniently slash at their throats. Tarlak and Aurelia again becomes only relevant during battle scenes. Hurruq does his job as the battle crazed fighter that he is. I did find some joy in reading about Lathaar and Jericho, especially the latter as he is a newly introduced character to the story. I loved his battle tactics and what he can do with his shield. With Mira, she’s just the good version of Tesanna. On the other side of camp, we still have the ever so evil Velixar, Qurrah and Tesanna. Sadly to say, there’s also not much going on here as well besides the fact that they are very good at what they do and that is raising the dead and casting a crazy amount of magic.
Story wise, it’s still all about the fighting! The bad guys have a plan to unleash hell on Dezrel and its up to the good guys to prevent that from happening. It pretty much sets the stage for the final confrontation in the final two books. As I said in the beginning, this book is all about action. So much action that you’ll get sick of it. I swear if I read about another thunderbolt or fireball blasting an enemy off the ground I will go crazy! The problem once again is the lack of balance but this time its with the characters. They are just too powerful! There is no doubt that the main characters will struggle during fights but at one point or another, you’ll just get the hint that no matter what happens, they will always come through because of their combined might. There is so much fighting going on that the author hardly have room for character growth or development. With book two, The Cost of Betrayal, the author struck a perfect balance and I still believe its the best book in the series so far.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that in the end, The Death of Promises is a pretty forgettable book in the series for me. In a way, it seems like a filler. I’m sure someone could sum up the entire book in a few sentences and a reader will still be able to pick up the next book without skipping a beat. I don’t want the author to change his writing style. I just want the author to do what he does so well in the past and that is sriking a balance between all elements of what a good story should have. While reading the Shadowdance Trilogy, I wrote in my reviews that I wished the author would incorporate some type of magic into his fight scenes. I got that wish with the Half-Orcs series. Here in the third book though, it was just way too much. I hope everything will be right again in book four!