The premise is Jack Bloodfist is a half-orc/half-goblin living in Summervale, Virginia and has the job of serving as a go-betweener for his people living there. Orcs and goblins came to this world a couple of decades ago before setting up a community with the local supernaturals. Then one day, after a misguided ritual, the otherworldly paladins hunting them find the orcs before beginning an attempted genocide.
Jack is a great character and fits nicely into the noir protagonist outsider archetype that works for so many urban fantasy novels. Like Harry Dresden, he's a supporter of the Establishment but barely tolerated even as he's also a guy who works for the Little Guy yet doesn't fall into their trap of railing against the System. Jack is a fun contrast as while he's a tough angry-looking orc, he's also a bit of a nerd who paints Warhammer-esque miniatures in his spare time.
The situation for the orcs and goblins is also, sadly, a topical one as they're refugees from a genocide that are not particularly welcomed by the locals. They're all stuffed into a small part of a Virginia town and it's implied are not people who have much luck getting out. The fact the genocide eventually follows them is a story which I found to be quite intriguing as well as horrifying.
One thing I covered in my review of ORCONOMICS by J. Zachary Pike is the fact orcs were created as walking targets for our heroes to slay without mercy has made them unintentionally sympathetic. In this book, the paladin Arthur Shield fully intends to exterminate them for no other crime than being orcs and he has the full support of his god in doing so. It makes Arthur a very effective villain and one I wanted to see destroyed.
So why not a higher score? Well, the short version is I never quite got a handle on the world-building. Orcs and goblins coming to Earth from a fantasy world was interesting but I was confused at why there were drow, elves, and dwarves on Earth then. I wanted to know how humans reacted to the arrival of orcs as well as what their general opinion of them was. There were times I didn't know if regular humans were aware of orcs.
I was also curious what happened to the orcs left behind on the planet they fled as well as details there. The character of Jackson's power level also confused me as well as left me curious why we needed Jack at all. I think a mystery where Jack tries to find out who is killing orcs before discovering Arthur Shield would have been more interesting versus the super high stakes the book eventually becomes.In conclusion, the story is an entertaining one and has a strong premise.
Jack Bloodfist is a great character and if they make a sequel, I'll probably pick it up. It has its flaws but none of them are deal-breakers. A lot of groundwork is laid out for future books and I appreciate when authors do that.