Praise the Orc! is a masterful novel written by Lee Jungmin that is a refreshing change of pace in terms of narrative and perspective. It features a compact, completed story about heroism and standing against all odds for your convictions.
Our protagonist voluntarily chooses the most difficult and oppressed character race, the orcs. The perspectie shift brings a unique flavor to the novel genre based on Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online (VRMMO) games, and you are injected into a society where brotherhood, honor, and all the definition traits that you might associate with being a manly orc warrior come into play.
The protagonist, Jung Ian, is an ex-soldier who fits right in to this mold while raising his little sister and running a cafe. With a little suspension of belief, we can assume he is able to do both of these things while grinding his way into the top of the game world.
Along the way, he deals with persecution, fairness, and the concept of standing up for justice when no one else will. The characters that he runs into through this quest bring an uplifting atmosphere to world despite the hardships and the story progression is rather steady throughout.
There is no romance in this novel, and that's okay in the novel landscape littered with harems and unrealistic or exaggerated depictions of the grandeur of love. Because the focus is on the characters, the camaderie, and the protagonist, who is a shining beacon of what a role model should and could be in these troubled times.
I can wholeheartedly recommend reading this novel for its enjoyment factor and refreshing taste in a library full of transmigrators, harem worship cults, and unrealistic power leveling schemes.
Both Shen Tai and Jung Ian hold strong to their principles and embody heroic virtues. The author, Guy Gavriel Kay, writes beautiful prose that embodies the spirit of Ancient China as Shen Tai works to grasp victory with the odds stacked against him.
All caught up with the latest Xianxia/Wuxia? Try filling in the gaps with some of these English novels!
Ni Tian Xie Shen (Against the Gods) (CN)
Against the Gods is a tale of revenge with a heavy dose of power leveling and face slapping. Red Rising is that and more, as both main characters rise of from the very bottom echelons of humanity in their quest to reach the top.
Both feature protagonists who are not quite heroes. They are not the good guys but their stories are fascinating to follow. While Tenaka Khan is not a transmigrator like Ainz, his story is an evolution of his character as he ascends to rule.