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Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes' Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportuniti Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes' Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportunities. Corporations spend immense sums sponsoring heroes to undertake quests, betting they’ll reap the profits in plunder funds when the loot is divvied up. Questing was all business for famous Dwarven berserker Gorm Ingerson, until a botched expedition wiped out his party, disgraced his name, and reduced him to a thieving vagabond. Twenty years later, a chance encounter sees Gorm forcibly recruited by a priest of a mad goddess to undertake a quest that has a reputation for getting heroes killed. But there’s more to Gorm’s new job than an insane prophecy; powerful corporations and governments have shown an unusual interest in the job. Gorm might be able to turn a bad deal into a golden opportunity and win back the fame and fortune he lost so long ago. Promising fun, fantasy, and financial calamity, Orconomics: A Satire is the first book in The Dark Profit Saga, an economically epic trilogy.


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Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes' Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportuniti Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes' Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportunities. Corporations spend immense sums sponsoring heroes to undertake quests, betting they’ll reap the profits in plunder funds when the loot is divvied up. Questing was all business for famous Dwarven berserker Gorm Ingerson, until a botched expedition wiped out his party, disgraced his name, and reduced him to a thieving vagabond. Twenty years later, a chance encounter sees Gorm forcibly recruited by a priest of a mad goddess to undertake a quest that has a reputation for getting heroes killed. But there’s more to Gorm’s new job than an insane prophecy; powerful corporations and governments have shown an unusual interest in the job. Gorm might be able to turn a bad deal into a golden opportunity and win back the fame and fortune he lost so long ago. Promising fun, fantasy, and financial calamity, Orconomics: A Satire is the first book in The Dark Profit Saga, an economically epic trilogy.

30 review for Orconomics

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    Orconomics won the 4th Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off with the highest score of any of the 1,200 books entered over 4 years! So that's the strongest of recommendations from ten excellent blogs. Check out the top ten finalists: https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/... & now I've read it myself. I'm going to have to open with an admission: I am not a great fan of comedic fantasy. There, I've said it. My wife has 50 or so of the Disc World books, and even though I can see that Terry Pratchett was a gen Orconomics won the 4th Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off with the highest score of any of the 1,200 books entered over 4 years! So that's the strongest of recommendations from ten excellent blogs. Check out the top ten finalists: https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/... & now I've read it myself. I'm going to have to open with an admission: I am not a great fan of comedic fantasy. There, I've said it. My wife has 50 or so of the Disc World books, and even though I can see that Terry Pratchett was a genius, a top class wordsmith and a funny as fuck … I've still only read about ten of them, and whilst none of them was a chore to read … I also didn't ADORE them. So, clearly satire in fantasy has to be of the highest order to entertain me, and even world class efforts only reach the 4* mark. J. Zachary Pike is an excellent writer with some great turns of phrase and continually funny lines. I enjoyed Orconomics as much as I enjoyed Kings of the Wyld and The Color of Magic. Which is to say "a lot" but not quite as much as I love an excellent non-satire fantasy. The comedy, while I appreciate it, gets in the way of emotional attachment for me, and that's the problem. I read fantasy for the emotion of it. I want to hate the enemy, I want to be scared that the main characters will come to harm, I want to be on the edge of my seat, worried, triumphant, wholly invested. And satire, whilst clever and amusing, prevents me forging that bond. Orconomics has much in common with Kings of the Wyld - both are sharply written, imaginative, and witty. Both take a piece of real world mechanism and apply it to the business of parties of heroes slaughtering lots of monsters in a D&D style, where the D&D vibe sets the range of monsters and magic (both spells and magic items), and the character classes too. This one has heroes who take the role of thief, fighter, mage, paladin etc. In Kings of the Wyld the real world mechanism employed/parodied was rock bands and their agent, gigs etc. Here it's the financial world, with the business of adventuring being subject to the complex investment dynamics of the stock market, with shares, financial backers, insurance etc. Our main (almost only) point of view character is a 10th level dwarven berserker named Gorm, and we follow him and his hastily assembled party of heroes on a convoluted but highly enjoyable adventure. They start of at odds with each other and learn to work together as they go, adversaries become friends as they survive all manner of dangers together. The various races (orcs, elves, gnomes etc) stand in as rough parallels for social and racial strata in the real world and a simple (but good) message about not oppressing "others" is delivered. The tale twists and turns and gradually much of the complexity is resolved leaving new and grander villains to be taken down in book 2. The last section is really exciting and actually did start to engage me emotionally. I can see why the book is so well loved and did so well in the SPFBO contest. I enjoyed it a lot, and that is as a reader who admits to not getting on with comedy/satire in fantasy. So if I liked it that much then it's a safe bet that if you're partial to Terry Pratchett, Nicholas Eames and the like then you're going to LOVE it. The SPFBO contest exists to shine light on hidden gems in the Self Publishing sea (I kinda mixed my metaphors there) and this book with 2000+ ratings isn't exactly hidden, but it's certainly a gem. Go read it! Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes ..

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dyrk Ashton

    My second SPFBO review! As a guest judge this year, and one of six, my task is to read and review five of Booknest's batch of thirty books (no ratings), and forward my pick of the lot as a semifinalist. This week I've read and am reviewing J. Zachary Pike's Orconomics: A Satire. I'm just going to come out and say it, without reservation, shame, or regret - I loved this book. Orconomics is, for me, one of those rare reads that doesn't come along very often. Genuine, consistent, extremely well writ My second SPFBO review! As a guest judge this year, and one of six, my task is to read and review five of Booknest's batch of thirty books (no ratings), and forward my pick of the lot as a semifinalist. This week I've read and am reviewing J. Zachary Pike's Orconomics: A Satire. I'm just going to come out and say it, without reservation, shame, or regret - I loved this book. Orconomics is, for me, one of those rare reads that doesn't come along very often. Genuine, consistent, extremely well written, as well as fun and funny as hell. I loved this book as much as I did Nicholas Eames Kings of the Wyld, one of my very favorites of the last five years. It's every bit as well written and briskly paced, heartfelt, humorous, and authentic, and just as satisfying. I also bring up Kings because that book popped into my head a number of times while reading Orconomics. What Eames did with bands in Kings, and with much the same tone, Pike does for the economic machinations behind the hero's journey. Don't get me wrong, this is no Kings rip-off and is a very different book, but I'm pretty sure if you love one, you'll love the other. Don't let your lingering fear from those micro and macro-economics courses in school turn you away, either. This is not an economics text. Think more along the lines of the mysterious "Bank" that lurks beneath the surface of Joe Abercrombie's The First Law series - only more overtly involved, with guilds and political shenanigans to boot - as a comedy. There's more than comedy and economics here, though. Much more. Orconomics has all the action, adventure, danger-fraught journeys and harrowing battles the best epic fantasy has to offer as well. I couldn't help but think while reading, this book answers the question, "What might Middle-earth be like a few decades after the good guys won?" The gleeful nod to The Lord of the Rings is apparent throughout, as is the wink and nod to all things RPG. Other works that came to my mind were William Goldman's The Princess Bride and the Discworld novels of Terry Pratchett. Pike scribes with an assured and steady hand. He knows exactly what he wants to do with this story, where it's going to go, how it's going to get there, and he does it. I haven't looked up how many books Pike has written, but to my eyes this is the work of a seasoned, professional author with a great sense for characterization, plot and timing, and the wherewithal with prose to make them work. Pike has created a skillful mix of epic fantasy and modern language with a narrative that flows clear and strong, all through the fluid third person omniscient point of view of several characters, the thoughts and journey of Gorm the Dwarf (and Berserker) being the central focus. I only have so much time to read in the evenings, but Orconomics kept me up well past my bedtime on more than a few occasions. It takes a lot to do that to me - like edge-of-your-seat as well as laugh-out-loud moments galore. And Orconomics has them. The next book in the saga, Son of a Liche, is out now, and is already near the top of my TBR. This is an exceptional work, and if you haven't read it yet, well, then, read it now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    Some reviewers compare Orconomics to Pratchett novels. A bold statement if you ask me. As a fan of satires, I needed to experience and verify it myself. And I liked it.  It’s funny and uplifting but also serious and sad in some places, as every good satire should be. On the world of Arth, adventuring is the industry that drives the economy. Groups of battle-hardened warriors hunt and kill Monsters and Shadowkin (Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds) and claim their hoards. These loots are bought and sold by cor Some reviewers compare Orconomics to Pratchett novels. A bold statement if you ask me. As a fan of satires, I needed to experience and verify it myself. And I liked it.  It’s funny and uplifting but also serious and sad in some places, as every good satire should be. On the world of Arth, adventuring is the industry that drives the economy. Groups of battle-hardened warriors hunt and kill Monsters and Shadowkin (Orcs, Goblins, Kobolds) and claim their hoards. These loots are bought and sold by corporate interests to plunder funds long before the hero’s guild attacks. You’ll easily see similarities to Goldman Sachs in Goldson Baggs operations. The story follows Gorm Ingerson - a fallen dwarven hero whose hero’s license has been revoked. His clan disowned him, and he lives as a rogue. One of funds forcibly recruits Gorm to undertake an impossible quest with a team of similar fallen heroes. If he succeeds, he may win back the fame and fortune he lost so long ago.  His new team includes colourful and fun cast of characters – a goblin squire (who brings a lot of comic relief), clumsy and naïve prophet of a mad goddess, an elf warrior addicted to alcohol and drugs (healing potions in the book), two mages who are at each other's throats, a thief who claims to be a bard (even though he can’t really sing) and a warrior seeking his own death. They start the quest to find Elven Marbles. As we follow the story, the plot gets a little more complicated and nuanced.  I always appreciate a well-plotted and solid high fantasy tale with humour woven into the plot and the world. The world building mixed seamlessly into the story impressed me. The characterisation doesn’t disappoint - even characters that seem very archetypical get significant development by the book’s end. The pacing is just right. It speeds up and slows down in all the right places.  The humour made me laugh. Obviously, no author should be compared to Sir Terry Pratchett - simply because no one stands a chance. In no way is this book on par with Pratchett’s novels. It is, though, a superb fantasy satire.  Thanks to mostly uplifting tone, Orconomics works as a well-deserved rest from dark books in which characters you love die, become evil or destroyed. On the other hand, it’s not all sunshine and roses. After finishing the book I’m impressed by Pike’s skilful blend of humour and tragedy. I mourn one of characters. Every good satire needs to contain a level of tragedy and Orconomics delivers both. The ending of the book set ups for the sequel I will definitely read once I sort out my reading schedule. Disclaimer : I'm one Fantasy Book Critic SPFBO judges, but this review doesn't reflect our collective rating or opinion. It's just my opinion.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    On the surface, Zachary Pike’s Orconomics follows a group of unlikely heroes, pulled together by a questionable prophet, to fulfill some such destiny to eventually save the land. Sound familiar? Well, it’s not that important, because this is not an on-the-surface book. It is a scathing satire that attacks the tenets of capitalism and a profit-based society at large, as seen through the lens of a classic fantasy story. It is self-aware, tongue-in-cheek, hilarious, and poignant. It is also depress On the surface, Zachary Pike’s Orconomics follows a group of unlikely heroes, pulled together by a questionable prophet, to fulfill some such destiny to eventually save the land. Sound familiar? Well, it’s not that important, because this is not an on-the-surface book. It is a scathing satire that attacks the tenets of capitalism and a profit-based society at large, as seen through the lens of a classic fantasy story. It is self-aware, tongue-in-cheek, hilarious, and poignant. It is also depressing due to its unfortunate similarities with our current financial and political climates. In short, Pike has crafted a refreshingly original novel that has a lot to say, and does a damn fine job doing it. In this story, the word “hero” goes no further than your job description. Professional heroics is a finance-driven business, and not a romantic morality play on ‘doing the right thing.’ In this world, everyone wants a piece of the pie: shares of loot are sold to investors in advance, agents and guilds vie to increase their cuts, and adventurers are treated as commodities. Some people, such as the Shadowkin -- classic fantasy monsters like dragons, goblins, and orcs – are targeted simply because they’re seen as pests, or keepers of a valuable treasure. Yet many of the Shadowkin are harmless, and just want a chance to survive on the fringes of civil society. But why should we pay any mind to the plight of these lower-class citizens if they are swept aside in the name of profit? Won’t the investment firm executives utilize their unregulated power to continue to influence the market to their liking? Is this all starting to sound a bit familiar? “Is there a good way to be bankrupt?” said Jynn. “Morally,” suggested Heraldin. This is book sets its sights on a multitude of targets. It is full of incisive dialogue that mocks pop-culture monologues. It takes on sweatshops, the “magic” of marketing (“an illusion that men pay to be fooled by,”) and a literal Wall street. There’s a smart yet sadly topical bit about healing potion addiction that serves as stand-in for the opioid crisis. A tongue-in-cheek scene at an enchanted weapons store serves as a clever allegory on the lax laws of gun ownership. Even religion isn’t safe from being scrutinized through the lens of capitalism. Countless nuggets of economic wisdom are sprinkled throughout the book, but it never feels like they’re being shoehorned in. Rather, these insights call attention towards the theme of the decline of capitalism, presenting evidence of how money is more important than people’s lives or well-being. So many of society’s problems can be traced back to greed and consumerism, and not even a land of dwarves and necromancers are safe. Good thing this book is more than funny enough to counterbalance the bleakness of its message. There are stones from the Sons of Ogh Magerd (ohmygerd!) and even a nod to a long-running Arrested Development gag involving a green-skinned version of “Annyong.” Pike weaves between puns and poignancy so much ease that it’s hard to believe this is the work of a debut author. It has a comforting prose and characters full of personality. Perhaps we could have spent a bit more time getting to know some of the cast a bit better, but it appears that the sequel will address those concerns. By all accounts, Orconomics is a resounding success, and one of the most interesting and original takes on fantasy I've encountered. I look forward to seeing what else this author has in store in the books ahead. 9.2 / 10

  5. 5 out of 5

    Esme

    A very brief/rough review that I'll flesh out later since this is a finalist in SPFBO. The spellings for these names could be very wrong since I audiobooked this. I really liked this book, and I also enjoyed the narration of this a lot - the narrator has a very good comedic tone and I think he made me love the goblin more so than if I had just read the book. At first, I wasn't all that attached to the characters, but as the book went on they started to get more depth to them, especially the elf A very brief/rough review that I'll flesh out later since this is a finalist in SPFBO. The spellings for these names could be very wrong since I audiobooked this. I really liked this book, and I also enjoyed the narration of this a lot - the narrator has a very good comedic tone and I think he made me love the goblin more so than if I had just read the book. At first, I wasn't all that attached to the characters, but as the book went on they started to get more depth to them, especially the elf Kaitha (sp?) as we got to know her and her struggles with addiction. What's important for me in satire/comic fantasy is an underlying heart or depth to it. If the characters feel too much like walking punchlines without substance it can be funny but also forgettable. I think what made this work for me so well is that it did have a depth to it even if it took a little while to get there, it was satisfying to watch it unfold. I liked Gorm from the start, as a fan of underdogs and those that show kindness to those "below" them I immediately took to him and his goblin squire. As I said, I'll write a proper review when we get to the finals stage for spfbo. The rating that follows is only 1/4 ratings that will determine Weatherwaxreport's final score. Superstardrifter, Bookwol, and Coffee will also be reading and reviewing this leaving their own scores. The "final" score we will submit for this book will be an average of our 4 scores. Ratings: * Plot: 12/15 * Characters: 12.5/15 * World Building: 13/15 * Writing: 12/15 * Pacing: 11/15 * Originality: 13/15 * Personal Enjoyment: 8/10 Final Score: 81.5/100 or an 8/10 for SPFBO.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    * This is a finalist for the 2018 #SPFBO so I read it as a judge of the competition * This story is definitely a bit of a shocker for me as it got a perfect score from the blog who submitted it to be a finalist. That means I had high expectations going into this one, and I don't think I was disappointed. It's not my usual cup of tea as it's fantasy satire/comedy all in one. It plays a lot with fantasy motifs and pokes fun at traditional fantasy stories. There's a lot to enjoy in this read and I d * This is a finalist for the 2018 #SPFBO so I read it as a judge of the competition * This story is definitely a bit of a shocker for me as it got a perfect score from the blog who submitted it to be a finalist. That means I had high expectations going into this one, and I don't think I was disappointed. It's not my usual cup of tea as it's fantasy satire/comedy all in one. It plays a lot with fantasy motifs and pokes fun at traditional fantasy stories. There's a lot to enjoy in this read and I definitely had fun with it, but I also think that comedy is super hard to get spot on, and this was a very good attempt. This story follows an ex-hero called Gorm who is disgraced and no longer allowed to be part of the Hero Guild after he ran from a quest. He's a kindly character who, although disgraced, has a good heart and he appears in the story when he frees a Goblin from a Hero who is pursuing him. He has a lot of regrets about being a Hero, and how things ended, and he thinks that just trudging through life is the way to go. Tib'rin is the aforementioned saved Goblin who is spared by Gorm. He is a right little character with a whole lot of spark and he follows Gorm until Gorm has no choice at all but to take him under his wing as a Squire. Kaitha is an elf who gets recruited into the band of Heroes which Gorm is forced to join. She is an ex-Elven Princess and she has a secret addiction to healing potions which she is constantly trying to overcome. She's a character who I think grew throughout the story, and I think we get to know here better than some of the others. Niln is a High Scribe for the Al'Matra (the highest Elven god also known as All Mother) and he believes he is the prophesied Seventh Hero. Along with a group of followers he aims to fulfil his quest and follow the All Mother's instructions as he perceives them...unfortunately he's not really a hero yet! Later on we meet a couple of other characters who become major parts of the Hero band. We have Jynn, a Councillor of the Noctomancer order of mages who is constantly bickering with the Apprentice of the Solamancer mages also on the team, Laruna. They are quite a pair with some nasty history and having them together is bound to cause problems. What I found interesting about this book is that it really deals in real-life ideas like economy, business, guilds, stocks and more. We see some characters who are the "big bosses" of a large company and they have an ongoing plan to keep their pockets overflowing. They are money-oriented, and they know how to control the big business of Heroes. We also have NPCs in the world, non-playable-characters. This is a play on most video games and it's a fun quirk that I think was used very well in the story. Although we have the big adventure quest on the go, we also have a lot of added elements that make the story fleshed out and fun and the NPCs who are retired "foes" who can no longer be killed in the name of quests and who have papers to prove their status were a cool part of this. Overall, I think my only quibble is the fact that this is not the kind of story that makes it easy to get to know that characters. Because of the humour throughout we have a lighter connection with the characters and it's harder to really "get to know" them. Personally I like to get more of a connection than I did from this, but other than that I think it was so much fun and very unique. 4*s from me which is a solid 8/10 for #SPFBO.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anton

    Absolutely loved it!! Took me completely by surprise! Highest recommendation. RTC as soon as I have a free minute

  8. 4 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ORCONOMICS is a story about how horrifying your typical Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft economy would look like if it was taken at face value. Basically, the idea that there's an entire class of people who exist for the purpose of exterminating numerous other classes of people in order to take their stuff. This is the central build-up of the story that you're supposed to miss what this sounds like until the final moment of the story when, oh no, this is actually like all the other horr ORCONOMICS is a story about how horrifying your typical Dungeons and Dragons or World of Warcraft economy would look like if it was taken at face value. Basically, the idea that there's an entire class of people who exist for the purpose of exterminating numerous other classes of people in order to take their stuff. This is the central build-up of the story that you're supposed to miss what this sounds like until the final moment of the story when, oh no, this is actually like all the other horrific purges of ethnic minorities which have occurred across history. As someone who has seen the subject tackled before by Terry Pratchett, Andrjez Sapkowski, and debated the question over whether adventurers breaking into the homes of monsters to loot their stuff is ethnic cleansing--the twist of Orconomics isn't actually all that twisty. The question of "are orcs people too?" is one that has been brought up at many tables across the decades. Really, in 1E Dungeons and Dragons, the fact half-orcs were player characters made you ask the question whether you were expected to murder your fathers and whether we were to determine if "all" of them were the products of hate crimes. This seems like a rather big subject to tackle for something with a 19th century looking orc on the front of a dollar bill but the subtext is something that builds throughout the story. I'm kind of disappointed the story is told through the lens of a dwarven warrior named Gorm versus an orc themselves. Then again, that would probably spoil the point of the story too much, which is that you really shouldn't break into dungeons in order to slaughter everyone and take their stuff on the basis of them being greenskins. In this case, the story is about disgraced dwarvish berserker Gorm Ingerson. Gorm is not in a good place at the beginning of the story when he rescues a goblin, quite by accident, from being massacred for experience points. In this universe, the adventurers guilds tracks how much you murder and for what in order to determine what your level as a warrior is. There's also a joke about NPCS standing for something like, "Non Problematic Creatures" or something similar and they're basically the humanoids who have decided not to be monsters in hopes of assimilating. The fact this causes problems for those who live off murdering them for loot is always in the background. In a very real way, the main plot doesn't matter for ninety percent of the book. Gorm gets recruited by the adventurers guilds and some other interested buyers in order to begin an epic quest for a holy order that turns not to be so epic. The ragtag band of misfits learn about one another, bond, and gradually toughen up to complete their story. It's stuff we've seen many times before but it's only by going through the motions of that subject do we get a look behind the nastiness of the world they live in. Gorm THINKS he aware of the way of things but he's wrong and it's interesting to see how a thoroughly cynical character can underestimate just how depraved killing for gold can get. The regular cast of characters aren't all that interesting even if they are perfectly servicible. They're just a regular group of adventurers who are hoping to kill some monsters, get some money, and settle their debt with the adventurers' guilds. The fact they aren't aware of just how deep they're into something awful is part of the story. Also, the fact they warm to the NPCs around them marks them as profoundly ignorant but possessed of views that will soon be viewed as dangerous. This may sound like weighty reading for a book that's primarily humor but I actually think the subject is more interesting because of it. Do I recommend this book? Yes. I do think it would have been better to give a better conclusion, though. The book doesn't so much end as sort of stop and I think giving some sort of closure to readers at the end would have made it stronger. As such, I had to deduct a couple of points. I also think some of the training montage in the middle dragged and the ending should have been at their group's vow. Just saying. 8/10

  9. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Book Review

    Link to the author interview The Nerd Book Review Alright this one was a 4* book for me for about 85% of the book. It was entertaining as hell and funny as any satire should be but that last 15% was what took it to a 5* for me. The earnestness and heart that the book showed at the end really made this book stand out from a typical satire. I will write a much more thorough review tomorrow once I’ve had some more time to think about it but I can see why this book has had so much success already for Link to the author interview The Nerd Book Review Alright this one was a 4* book for me for about 85% of the book. It was entertaining as hell and funny as any satire should be but that last 15% was what took it to a 5* for me. The earnestness and heart that the book showed at the end really made this book stand out from a typical satire. I will write a much more thorough review tomorrow once I’ve had some more time to think about it but I can see why this book has had so much success already for a self published novel and while I haven’t read the rest of the books in its group I’d be shocked if this wasn’t a semifinalist at least in SPFBO.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alec Hutson

    This is a terrific book, an indie gem. I found myself thinking of Kings of the Wyld as I read Orconomics , and after finishing I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, which is extremely high praise as Kings was one of my favorite reads of recent years. I immediately bought the next book, and I suspect that Mr. Pike is going to become one of my new favorite authors. Seriously, if you liked Kings of the Wyld you should really read this book. This is a terrific book, an indie gem. I found myself thinking of Kings of the Wyld as I read Orconomics , and after finishing I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, which is extremely high praise as Kings was one of my favorite reads of recent years. I immediately bought the next book, and I suspect that Mr. Pike is going to become one of my new favorite authors. Seriously, if you liked Kings of the Wyld you should really read this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Zampa

    [EDIT: Winner of the SPFBO4!] I enjoyed the heck out of this book. It checks all the boxes for a good satire, in that it maintains its smart comedy throughout the book, yet does eventually manage to dig a little deeper and be meaningful beyond its numerous double entendres. It particularly shines with its characters. I fell in love the the MC, Gorm Ingerson, immediately. He's the perfect level of gruff, pragmatic dwarf with a heart of gold. The rest of the party are each varying degrees of lovabl [EDIT: Winner of the SPFBO4!] I enjoyed the heck out of this book. It checks all the boxes for a good satire, in that it maintains its smart comedy throughout the book, yet does eventually manage to dig a little deeper and be meaningful beyond its numerous double entendres. It particularly shines with its characters. I fell in love the the MC, Gorm Ingerson, immediately. He's the perfect level of gruff, pragmatic dwarf with a heart of gold. The rest of the party are each varying degrees of lovable to an extent that I can't wait to spend more time with them. It's worth noting that this book is professionally polished, perfectly paced, and beautifully plotted throughout, despite one or two forgivable predictable moments. It deserves a publishing deal and mass distribution. It may not be for everyone, but that's mostly because of what it is, not how it's written. It's satire through and through, and the thing about straight comedy that's always the rub is whether it can develop heart enough to deepen the story, yet also maintain its humor throughout to the end. On this metric, Orconomics gets a 10 for characters, a 10 for plot, but the only thing that keeps it from being perfect is that the world remains strictly a joke to the end. The spells and cities and social structures never stop breaking the fourth wall in that they never become more than a mixed spoof between a RPG videogame and a satirical parody of current events. This isn't bad for what it is, it's FUNNY, and I still loved it, but it's the one area where the book still has room to grow to make something excellent into something truly extraordinary. This, I think, is particularly difficult for a satirical fantasy, because unlike a satire in another genre/category, fantasy fans typically have many life experiences of the tropes and common elements of their beloved genre being freely, hurtfully mocked. This book never does so hurtfully, but the tongue-in-cheek mockery of many tropes can be a bit distracting to fantasy fans for this reason if the story never takes those world elements and deepens them to a level that they become real to the reader. Another minor gripe I had was that none of the antagonists were really resolved. Of all the numerous villains, they never actually kill any of them, even the minor baddies--they all end up alive and thriving. I do expect that to resolve in the next book, though. These things to me were simply the sliver at the edge of perfect, the 5% remainder of a 95% approval.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samir

    In the year that has brought many miseries, this absolute gem has brought me many smiles and made the world more bearable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Really enjoyed this one, good interesting characters, nicely written humour with a fantastic storyline and great plot line which adds another version of the classic RPGs quests and the jokes which happen when in a session of a RPG. Great fun to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    Humorous, emotional, and action-packed. I immediately bought the next book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Benedict Patrick

    Yeah... That was bloody brilliant.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rusty

    Orconomics is the first book I have read by J. Zachary Pike, and it has been highly anticipated since I got a copy in August. Then, once it was elevated to a finalist in this year’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) contest, I decided it was time to read it. Other than comments from other readers about how good this book is (only the second perfect 10 in the four years of the SPFBO contest), I knew it was a fantasy satire. Some of my more enjoyable reads of this year have been in the broad Orconomics is the first book I have read by J. Zachary Pike, and it has been highly anticipated since I got a copy in August. Then, once it was elevated to a finalist in this year’s SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off) contest, I decided it was time to read it. Other than comments from other readers about how good this book is (only the second perfect 10 in the four years of the SPFBO contest), I knew it was a fantasy satire. Some of my more enjoyable reads of this year have been in the broader category of humor fantasy (Here Be Dragons/Macpherson, Sir Thomas the Hesitant/Perrin, Reaper Man/Pratchett, and Klondaeg the Monster Hunter/Thomas), and I had a hunch that this would be right up my alley. I was not disappointed. This book is pitched as: “Brimming with swords, sorcery, and wit, Orconomics: A Satire introduces Arth, a world much like our own but with more magic and fewer vowels. For the licensed wizards and warriors of Arth, slaying and looting the forces of evil is just a job. The Heroes' Guild has turned adventuring into a career, selling the rights to monsters’ hoards of treasure as investment opportunities. Corporations spend immense sums sponsoring heroes to undertake quests, betting they’ll reap the profits in plunder funds when the loot is divvied up. Questing was all business for famous Dwarven berserker Gorm Ingerson, until a botched expedition wiped out his party, disgraced his name, and reduced him to a thieving vagabond. Twenty years later, a chance encounter sees Gorm forcibly recruited by a priest of a mad goddess to undertake a quest that has a reputation for getting heroes killed. But there’s more to Gorm’s new job than an insane prophecy; powerful corporations and governments have shown an unusual interest in the job. Gorm might be able to turn a bad deal into a golden opportunity and win back the fame and fortune he lost so long ago. Promising fun, fantasy, and financial calamity, Orconomics: A Satire is the first book in The Dark Profit Saga, an economically epic trilogy." It is very clear that the book is meant as a satire, and it has all the trappings that are common in that style. There are places where jokes seem a little forced, or there is too much explanation (often to prove how ridiculous something is), but these are easily forgiven since they are handled so well, often causing me to stop and consider the deeper implications. The over-the-top aspects of the satire are permissible because it isn’t ALL that the book has going for it. As I quickly discovered, this book also hits one of my other favorite tropes: unlikely heroes/misfits. I love stories of the little guy being the hero (Frodo), the down-and-out pulling their life back together (Inigo Montoya), and stories that display redemption where someone is restored to their former state. This book is chock-full of misfits and outcasts, each likeable in their own way. Each of the characters grows and matures as the book progresses (another thing I love to see in books). As someone who values quality character development, this book shines. Each member of their company is distinct and has their own voice. They display strengths and weaknesses, and have much to overcome. There is connection between each of them, and between them and the reader. There is genuine grief over the more tragic bits, and a sense of pride when they are successful. Above all that, I love how they all look to Gorm as the leader, not just because he has the most experience, but because he is the one who most consistently walks the moral high ground. He nearly single-handedly puts an end to a years-long conflict between the upper and lower classes because of his fair treatment of all. And then, with a major reveal near the end, there is a sense that it doesn’t just occur in a vacuum, but it has a major impact on everyone. As the first book of a series, I am very eager to continue on and see where it goes from here. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who like “smart” fantasy, especially satire. But don’t be fooled, this book has heart and will be impossible to forget. 4.55 / 5 stars. Well done Zack, and thanks for sending a copy to me.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Merrill Chapman

    Economics typically gets short shrift in Sci-Fi and fantasy. It doesn't really matter the genre. The fact is that when spaceships go out a' faring, or knights out a' questing, no one ever brings anyone with a degree in accounting to keep track of expenditures. The exceptions are few and far between (to enjoy one of the best in manga, I recommend Spice and Wolf). I first wrote about the problem years ago in In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters: ...as Captain Kirk, Economics typically gets short shrift in Sci-Fi and fantasy. It doesn't really matter the genre. The fact is that when spaceships go out a' faring, or knights out a' questing, no one ever brings anyone with a degree in accounting to keep track of expenditures. The exceptions are few and far between (to enjoy one of the best in manga, I recommend Spice and Wolf). I first wrote about the problem years ago in In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters: ...as Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, Scottie, and their innumerable successors went gallivanting through the galaxy, they seemed to have no visible means of financial support. No one in the Star Trek universe wearing green eye shades ever appeared to worry about the propensity of the various casts to blow up what you’d think were undoubtedly very expensive spaceships, given their capabilities of violating the laws of physics, transporting the crew to numerous planets inhabited by women who spent most of their time wearing lingerie, and dodging ray-gun fire from angry races of aliens who kept screaming “kaplok!” (and who also seemed to have no monetary worries). The problem looms just as large in fantasy. Take, for instance the Lord of the Rings. Now, I know you've probably read the official version of what took place in Middle Earth at the end of the Third Age, but I have recently, at great effort and peril on my part, obtained a partial copy of The Silmarillon: The Rejected Chapters. It's only a partial manuscript, and the relevant sections are written in the dread tongue of Mordor. Translating it has been a bear what with all the declensions and the fact that these people just had no concept of the apostrophe, but I have done my best. The narrative below describes a key meeting between Sauron and an individual who served as Mordor's primary bean counter. Roughly translated, his court title is CME or Chief Mithril Extractor. I believe the text below provides crucial insights into the real story behind TLOR and the fall of Sauron. CME: Oh Cataclysmic Cat's Eye of Catastrophe, Dread Lord Sauron, I come to you with doom-laden news! Sauron: What is it? Has Golem stuffed up his toilet again? CME: No, Dread Lord Sauron, Oh Perilous Practitioner of Pissant Pestilence. Though that last episode was truly horrendous. The plumbing Orcs sent to rectify the situation have not yet recovered. No, Oh Master of Massive Mayhem, the tidings are far more fell. The invasion of Gondor must be postponed! Sauron: Postponed? Don't be ridiculous. I've been planning this invasion for years. The Orcs are armed and thirsting to plunder and kill any elf they can catch. The Ringwraiths are writhing in anticipation of drinking Gondorean blood. The Balrogs are bored from too much sitting around and are starting to whip each other. It's getting kinky in their section of the Dark Tower. They need to deploy right now and work the ya yas out. We march tonight! CME: Alas Lord Sauron, Oh Sublime Sultan of Supreme Sadism, we cannot. Sauron: Why not? And this had better be good. CME: Because Oh Grime Gargoyle of Gruesomeness, I have just come from an inspection of thy Dread Armies and have uncovered great woes. The Orc's armor is fourth rate and our production of MEMREs (I have translated this as "Middle Earth Meals Ready to Eat." Ed. note.) lags greatly behind quota. In their current shape, I rank the fighting prowess of the Uruk Hai just below that of Disney fairies. The entire horde couldn't stand up to a squadron of Hobbits armed with butter knives. But this is just the start of the grim news. The Black Steeds of the Ringwraiths have disappeared and our chief cavalry arm is crippled. While no one has confessed, a domestic Orc emptying a chamber pot reported hearing strange whinnying sounds coming from the Balrog quarters the other night. I myself heard the Witch King threaten to "Uv thangor shakburz nash burzum" (I have translated this as "unload a can of whup ass." Ed. note.) unless those ponies are returned immediately. Despair and disorder fill the ranks, Oh Enduring Emblem of Eternal Evil. Sauron: Egv gor fukardum upzorum!? (I have translated this as "What is the cause of this SNAFU?" Ed. note.) CME: Lord Sauron, Oh Tremendous Thane of Truly Titanic Terror, we have suffered a supply chain breakdown. Sauron: Huh? CME: A supply chain breakdown. You see, the peasants plant and harvest the food, which they in turn provide to the Orcs, who in turn do most of the mining and weapons production around here. If not enough food is produced, the Orcs' manufacturing production drops off and quality goes to hell, so to speak. Also, remember that an army marches on its stomach. The peasants are also responsible for providing fresh meat to the Balrogs, who aren't big on veggies. Oh, and the peasants also provide the hay that the Ringwraiths' horses eat, thought that doesn't seem to be a problem at the exact moment. Sauron: This issue is easily solved. Torture the peasants to produce more food! CME: Ummmm, well, you see Oh Demonic Deity of Destruction, we can't do that. We have no more peasants. Sauron: What happened to the peasants? CME: The Orcs at them. Sauron: Nagth lat ronk shitztorum!" (I have translated this as "Uh oh." Ed. note.) At this point, the writing on manuscript becomes disordered and the readability of the parchment drops because of a series of blotches that have a suspicious resemblance to blood stains. But, not to worry. Into this gaping literary void fearlessly tramps Orconomics, Part I of the Dark Profit Series by J. Zachary Pike. Rest of post up at: http://www.rule-set.com/ricks-blog/me...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nicole (TheBookWormDrinketh)

    A story of the Economics of Heroes. A Fantastical take on Modern Society showing a side of Fantasy that you probably haven’t thought of! Sure, those of us who have played D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) know that we adventure to acquire loot to sell and buy better gear, etc… But, how many people really have their hands in that pie?? What take of that loot is actually ours to spend? In a Fantasy World where Heroes are sponsored by Corporations, and the Heroes Guild has made being a Hero into a career, t A story of the Economics of Heroes. A Fantastical take on Modern Society showing a side of Fantasy that you probably haven’t thought of! Sure, those of us who have played D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) know that we adventure to acquire loot to sell and buy better gear, etc… But, how many people really have their hands in that pie?? What take of that loot is actually ours to spend? In a Fantasy World where Heroes are sponsored by Corporations, and the Heroes Guild has made being a Hero into a career, there don’t seem to be any real heroes left.. just a bottom line. But, what if that’s not all there is to it? What if there could be real heroes still out there? This book was so unexpected! When I saw Satire, I feel that I was expecting more of a spoof. It’s definitely a subtle commentary on modern society and the things we, as geeks, don’t think about the workings of in all of these magical lands that we read about. I loved the stark reality of it spelled out for us! This book was amusing at times with veiled (or not so veiled) references, can you figure this one out?? “Gorm looked up at a tiny winged figure glowing with such intense blue light that it seemed to be standing in a sphere. “Blood and ashes,” he swore. “A search sprite” “All they are is a bit of knowledge with a mouth,” Gorm told Gleebek as they walked. “They only exist to tell ye obvious things, so they don’t shut up till they wear off. Could be days.” “Hey! Listen!” shrieked the sprite. Anyone who played a certain beloved adventure game should recognize it!! Lol! I loved all of the references to the typical Fantasy tropes! “”No, no,” said Gorm. “I ain’t splitting the party. She’s making a joke, lad” “So splitting the party is bad, then?” said Niln. “You never split the party,” said Laruna. “It’s right in the Heroes’ Guild Handbook,” said Jynn. “Someone always wanders off to grab something shiny or test a lever or something, and the next thing you know they’re coming back with some horrible monster following them,” said Kaitha. “Usually when you’re in the middle of a massive fight with something else,” said Gorm. “If they come back at all,” said Heraldin.” But, it was serious as well. The characters were all very well written and relatable… weird thing to say about Fantasy characters. But, they were quite the down to earth misfit group of Fantasy characters, so everyone will definitely understand the feelings and growth within the motley band! Gleebek, the friendly Goblin/Squire Heraldin, the would-be womanizing Bard/”acquisition specialist” Jynn and Laruna the opposing Noctomancer and Solamancer Kaitha, the Elixir addicted Ranger who used to be something Gaist, mysteriously never speaks and was the first volunteer for the Quest And Niln, the “Seventh Hero” who recruits them all “I’d say you have a destiny, and choices are the steps you take to reach it.” Gorm was the best character! I believe he was described best by party, Kaitha, “Beneath his curmudgeonly facade was, well, yes, a genuine curmudgeon who clearly cared for her.” He can be abrasive, uncaring, and rude… but he’s the Mother Hen you never knew you always wanted! He’s a Dwarf with a big heart and someone you want fighting on your side. This book really gets you thinking about the World beyond the Fantasy. It brings it to a real place and has you questioning what makes someone a “Hero”. I can’t wait to continue my journey with the party. If you want to learn about Dwarven Reproduction, God’s Middle Management, and Elixir Addiction (who doesn’t?!) I really recommend this book!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dixie Conley

    I thought I'd like this book when I saw the cover and read the title. Now that I've read it, I know I was wrong -- I LOVE this book. This is a saga about professional heroing. That's right. The hero business has gone pro. You can even buy and sell hoard futures -- the chance that a given hoard will produce great loot. There's heroing contracts. And guilds. And accountants. And so many other fun little details. But the most important of those are the NPCs -- the former enemies of light who have go I thought I'd like this book when I saw the cover and read the title. Now that I've read it, I know I was wrong -- I LOVE this book. This is a saga about professional heroing. That's right. The hero business has gone pro. You can even buy and sell hoard futures -- the chance that a given hoard will produce great loot. There's heroing contracts. And guilds. And accountants. And so many other fun little details. But the most important of those are the NPCs -- the former enemies of light who have gotten themselves papers and are now employed by the light and no longer attackable. It calls into question just what is a villain and what is a hero. The story centers around a group of unwilling adventures variously "convinced", by blackmail, bribery or any other means necessary to take a quest for an unlucky goddess. They're a motley bunch -- the experienced members are drunks and cowards and the inexperienced members are just as likely to get them all killed as to get themselves killed. Somehow they blunder their way to success, only to discover that this is only the beginning of the true heroing. A marvelous adventure and fun besides.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Tabler

    J. Zachary Pikes Orconomics on the surface, looks like your typical fantasy story. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. The thing is five pages into the book; you know that you are entirely wrong. There is nothing standard about this exciting, hilarious story told from the multiple points of view of the "heroes." But at its heart, Orconomics is a scathing and effective satire. It is capitalism and the dangers of, set in a magical world. I did not see that coming. The Plot The plot of the sto J. Zachary Pikes Orconomics on the surface, looks like your typical fantasy story. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. The thing is five pages into the book; you know that you are entirely wrong. There is nothing standard about this exciting, hilarious story told from the multiple points of view of the "heroes." But at its heart, Orconomics is a scathing and effective satire. It is capitalism and the dangers of, set in a magical world. I did not see that coming. The Plot The plot of the story, as mentioned before, is about a group of reluctant heroes. They are gathered together to go on a quest looking for treasure and finding lost relics. There are quite a few different political and economic plays by various groups around this quest. Things are not what they seem. At times the plot was a bit hard to follow, but as the story reaches its conclusions, everything becomes clear. The Satire The questing party, professional heroes down on their luck, are being supported by a local religious community and a cadre of investors who invest in quests in exchange for a portion of the loot. This usually comes from non papered characters or shadowkin that are seen as fodder and regularly killed and hunted to increase hero rankings. Their only mistake is that they are a nuisance to humans and possibly have pillagable loot. The higher ranking the hero is, the better the quests. It sounds like a very familiar scenario, that of Hollywood movies. Movies get made with a well-known actor; interested parties then fund the film in exchange for a portion of the generated revenue. The actor and their following is a commoditized asset that rises and falls based on the actor's successes and failures. Orconomics is more cutthroat in the successes and failures, literally, but the economic system is the same. This book's satire takes on some pretty hard-hitting ideas. Firstly, we have the whole questing system. It treats the heroes as commodities bought and sold, as I said earlier—a very Hollywood idea. Orconomics also touches on the toll of drug addiction, specifically opioid or pain killer addiction, which is rampant in cities across the world. One of the main characters, who once was a huge and well-known adventurer, had too many injuries requiring healing potions. Eventually, the healing potions become what she lived for, and addiction occurred. She then became a shell of her former self, always looking for a reason to get high. The author addresses this in a scene talking about people out on the street, cutting themselves so that they need to use a healing potion. Pike also touches on class system dynamics; market commoditized objects such as magic swords, religious zealotry, and the business of making money from it, and lax laws for weapon ownership. A stand-in for lax laws around gun ownership. You will read this thinking that Pike is brilliant as hell, and be a little sad that our world is so near in line with the one in Orconomics. Characters Firstly, the main character is a dwarf named Gorm Ingerson. Much of the story is told from his perspective. He is a tenth level hero, who, twenty years ago, "supposedly" made the mistake of running to save himself when most of his party perished. He was left shammed while another party member who stayed to fight became one of the land's best-known heroes. The rest of the hero party is full of misfits. They all have a reason to be there and are hoping for another shot. This leads to a sense of urgency in the questing; they all need to succeed in this quest. Because each party member has a distinct voice written well by Pike, the dynamics of interpersonal relationships between the questers and character development truly come through. We are told very early what each of the characters are facing and working with. One is a drug addict who is addicted to healing potions and alcohol. Gorm, as I mentioned earlier, is fighting his past. Another is a very skilled mage that is not useful in a fight. At the same time, the other mage is an excellent brawler but has no finely honed skills. Another is a shadowkin just trying to survive. The shadowkin's, a goblin, and his relationship with Gorm are the book's best parts. Best and certainly funniest. I laughed for a good two minutes after reading how Gorm found out how to say the goblin's name. Finally, we have one who rarely speaks, and another running from a mobster—all work to play off each other and develop as characters. The Conclusion Man, this is a great book. And, five minutes into reading it, I understood all the love for it. It was the SPFBO4 winner, and now I can see why. The relationships, the story, and the allegory to everyday economics are so cleverly done that they might go under people's radar. I didn't figure out half of them until I sat down to write this review. It all started to come together, and I realized how creative Pike is. The book was funny, and heartfelt which, in the face of some pretty hard plot ideas, is important and kept the tone light. Had he not done that, this book might be too depressing to read. But, as it stands, it is a perfect balance. I am a fan of this book, obviously, and will be jumping into the next book, Son of a Liche, as soon as possible. It is a worth it read, so check it out.

  21. 4 out of 5

    John

    I think that one of the most rewarding parts of sifting through self published books is that despite the number of wretched books, and the even greater number of simply mediocre books, you'll occasionally find a gem sparkling through. It's for these moments that I write this blog. These are the books that need someone to stand up and shout, nay demand, they receive wider attention. I only wonder how many more books there are out there that I'm missing. If only there was more time to read. Then I think that one of the most rewarding parts of sifting through self published books is that despite the number of wretched books, and the even greater number of simply mediocre books, you'll occasionally find a gem sparkling through. It's for these moments that I write this blog. These are the books that need someone to stand up and shout, nay demand, they receive wider attention. I only wonder how many more books there are out there that I'm missing. If only there was more time to read. Then again, I don't think there could ever be enough. Enough with the opining, let's get on to the review; it is what you came here for is it not? Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike is the gem I was referring to in my preamble. Like most of my recent reviews I was contacted by Pike to review Orconomics, though I received no compensation and it has no affect on my review. I get daily, and sometimes more frequent, requests for reviews, so I have to narrow down the books somehow. Orconomics instantly grabbed with it's amazing cover and, of course, the name. I'm currently working my way through Capitol in the Twenty-first Century so any sort of lighter treatment of the subject snatched at my attention. The saying goes don't judge a book by its cover; but it can tell you a lot about the amount of effort the author put into the publication. With this strong of a cover, and a catchy title to boot, I had no choice but to read Orconomics. The book starts off in the middle of your standard World of Warcraft quest, an unnamed warrior has cleared out a band of goblins from a barn and now proceeds to the farmer in order to claim his reward. Setting the tone for the book, the farmer starts to haggle with the warrior over the cost of deed, and if it was indeed completed. As if to emphasize his point, one last goblin suddenly breaks cover and runs off to find cover. After a minute of debate to determine if merely driving off the goblins counts as defeating them (turns out it does not) the warrior gives chase. Luckily for the goblin the chase ends with him waking up a rather hungover and irritated dwarf, named Gorm. While not really taking pity on the goblin, Gorm is irritated by the warrior, makes some snide remarks, and before you know it a fight has broken out and ended. The warrior ends up on the ground. After looting the warrior, as is only proper, Gorm starts out on his way, only now shadowed by the goblin. From here the adventure really starts and the fun begins. Don't let the opening chapter fool you though; there's more to Orconomics than simple hack and slash. I'm not going to go into the details, I'll leave you to find those out for yourself, but in Orconomics Pike examines several interesting ramifications of the adventuring world. There were many times that I laughed out loud while reading it, and more than one moment that made me really sit and think. The cast of characters that Pike assembles is fantastic, from a halfing portfolio manager (securitization of potential returns on quest loot is the new big thing) to a famous elvan ranger who's addicted to health potions. The plot is also well done, with enough twists and turns to keep everyone satisfied, but not so complex that it detracts from the lighthearted feel of the book. Anyone who enjoys fantasy, MMOs or role playing should carve out the time to read Orconomics; it's well worth the effort. You can get Orconomics here .

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle F

    “ 'I prefer to quit when I'm ahead,' Heraldin explained. 'You've a funny definition of ahead,' said Gorm. 'I prefer to define words in ways that suit me,' said Heraldin.” Having recently run (for the first time) a short-lived campaign for curious friends who had never played a table-top RPG before, I spent a lot of time thinking about crafting a world and an adventure from scratch, though I ultimately opted for Starter Kit. At some point in my imaginings, though, my mind turned to thoughts of “ 'I prefer to quit when I'm ahead,' Heraldin explained. 'You've a funny definition of ahead,' said Gorm. 'I prefer to define words in ways that suit me,' said Heraldin.” Having recently run (for the first time) a short-lived campaign for curious friends who had never played a table-top RPG before, I spent a lot of time thinking about crafting a world and an adventure from scratch, though I ultimately opted for Starter Kit. At some point in my imaginings, though, my mind turned to thoughts of the genre-standard Heroes Guild. I mean, it's a great starting point for all sorts of shenanigans, and it handily makes plausible any number of characters banding together for a common goal. Skilled adventurers for hire: What kind of world makes that sort of thing commonplace? What might that look like in a real-world setting, or with real-world ideologies running the show? Orconomics tackles exactly these questions, and so much more! Nonstop wit and commentary balance masterfully with an adventurous quest through a magical land. This was so much fun to experience. The book unfolds, on its topmost layer, like a fairly standard RPG might – if the players all had great comic appreciation and are okay with irreverence. There are eight (8!) main characters, each of a standard archetype: the stout battle-hardened, gold loving dwarf; the ageless nimble Elvin Ranger who forgets she has some medical skills; the Casanova bard with a shady background etc etc, and they evolve as most questing player-generated characters do – stubbornly holding onto their 'isms' while being shaped by their interactions and growing with every random encounter. I fell in love with most of them. And there are layers... This is a quest story most certainly, and also a mocking but loving homage to the tropes of Quest Fantasy. Beyond the spoofery lies blatant satire, with a quieter underlying commentary on 'good' and 'right.' Beyond the challenges of the quest itself, greed, Corporation and subjugation emerge as the world's biggest foes. The intellectual obstacles run deeper than they appear: “ 'People always say that we must stand up for what is right' 'They're not talking to you!' barked Gorm. 'They're talking to people who don't believe in stupid things!'” It's all uproarious and deftly done. The first in what looks to be a trilogy, there is some wrap-up in this first volume, but readers will most certainly want to continue straight on to the second installment. [for my own self: hunt down a physical copy of this. The audio is really well done, but you've got a head like a ping-pong ball, and distractions kept you from appreciating this as much as you could have.]

  23. 5 out of 5

    Travis Riddle

    An entertaining story that was not at all what I expected. Being billed as a satire/comedy (plus with its punny title), I was expecting the book to be a lot more goofy and joke-y than it actually was--which was a positive for me. I found the book to be more "clever" than "humorous," if that distinction makes any sense. I enjoyed the gaming references throughout, like Shadowkin either being referred to as FOEs or NPCs, but with reasonable in-world justifications for why that is. The explanations An entertaining story that was not at all what I expected. Being billed as a satire/comedy (plus with its punny title), I was expecting the book to be a lot more goofy and joke-y than it actually was--which was a positive for me. I found the book to be more "clever" than "humorous," if that distinction makes any sense. I enjoyed the gaming references throughout, like Shadowkin either being referred to as FOEs or NPCs, but with reasonable in-world justifications for why that is. The explanations for heroes questing and looting and everything was also very well thought-out, creating a believable world despite being somewhat based in game mechanics and tropes. The storyline and the lore of the world were quite developed and interesting, easily getting me invested in the proceedings. I enjoyed how comparatively low stakes the quest was compared to other fantasy novels, being a simple "fetch quest" for the majority of the book. It gave us time to slow down and take in the character dynamics and different aspects of Arth, which is always my favorite part of books. Where I thought the book struggled was with its later pacing and some character relationships. In the latter half of the book, I appreciated the direction the story took, but I couldn't help but feel like we'd already passed the climax of the story and I found myself waiting for the book to end. I'm not sure how else to articulate it, but something about the pacing was just slightly off for me, after clipping along at such a nice rate through the rest of the story. The characters were all well developed and enjoyable to read about--my favorites being Gorm, Tib'rin, and especially Thane--but there were a few character relationships (which I won't detail here for fear of spoilers) that I felt were not totally earned due to the book only spending a small amount of time developing the changing dynamic between those characters. On the other hand, there were several relationships that I thought developed very naturally, leading to some great moments near the end of the book. Despite a few stumbles, Orconomics is a pretty great read, and I do think what transpires sets up some really interesting conflicts for both the characters and the world at large in the rest of the series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Vamshi aruru

    4.5/5 This book should be way more popular. It is, super hilarious, is very very well written, has a set of characters with amazing chemistry between them, has a whole lot of heart to it, and a suprisingly good plot. It also has a very serious message despite being hilarious and I loved it all the more for the same reason. It is kings of the wyld like world building ( D&D style) with Pratchett like writing (especially the Citywatch arc books). Highly recommend it to anyone who wants a fun read~

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I was lucky enough to win a copy of Orconomics through a Goodreads giveaway. If you look at my book shelves, you'll see that I don't give out 5 star reviews very frequently. A work of fiction needs to have the combination of excellent writing, three dimensional characters, and a plot that is both well-crafted and interesting. Orconomics has all of these qualities in spades. In a work of fantasy, it can be difficult to introduce a new world with magic and monsters while not losing the reader in too I was lucky enough to win a copy of Orconomics through a Goodreads giveaway. If you look at my book shelves, you'll see that I don't give out 5 star reviews very frequently. A work of fiction needs to have the combination of excellent writing, three dimensional characters, and a plot that is both well-crafted and interesting. Orconomics has all of these qualities in spades. In a work of fantasy, it can be difficult to introduce a new world with magic and monsters while not losing the reader in too many details that are irrelevant to the story. Pike provides enough background information to understand the fantastical elements without losing the reader in a laundry list of mythology. Though it is a work of satire, poking fun at both the fantasy genre and popular games such as World of Warcraft, the characters are excellent. They're stereotypical fantasy characters, but with a twist. The main character, Gorm Ingerson, is a dwarven berserker who ran from a battle and is now disgraced. He has a goblin squire who turns out to be quite heroic. He joins forces with an elven ranger who is addicted to healing potions, a reformed thief who has an aversion to picking locks, a warrior who appears to be suffering from post traumatic stress, and a pair of wizards, one of whom is extremely powerful but can't control her talent and the other who is a master of control but suffers stage fright during battles. The leader of the group is a priest who doesn't seem to have any skills save for writing prophecies. The most clever aspect of the story is the plot. This ragtag group of heroes finds itself on a quest that affects the entire economy of Pike's world. A stock market has formed around the looting of treasure, with companies buying shares of monster hoards. However, the market seems to be crashing. Without giving away too much, the fate of the quest drastically changes the way that the economy functions, unbeknownst to the heroes. I heartily recommend Orconomics to any fantasy buff. It has the perfect combination of entertainment, characters, and plot and I'm looking forward to the rest of series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    I picked up Orconomics due to the rarest of reasons - its cover and its name. Plus, the fact that it is a SPFBO finalist. Now that I have read it, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is somewhat similar to an early Terry Pratchett with enduring characters, good story-line and an underlying message. One the other hand, it is not as funny or as satirical. I mean, it is almost there but because of the small gap, it feels a bit of a let down (sort of like the uncanny valley as far styles are I picked up Orconomics due to the rarest of reasons - its cover and its name. Plus, the fact that it is a SPFBO finalist. Now that I have read it, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is somewhat similar to an early Terry Pratchett with enduring characters, good story-line and an underlying message. One the other hand, it is not as funny or as satirical. I mean, it is almost there but because of the small gap, it feels a bit of a let down (sort of like the uncanny valley as far styles are concerned). My initial impressions of the book were not that great since the author seemed to be relying on bad puns and not so clever wordplay. But once the story actually started and I got comfortable with the characters, I actually started getting into the book. And by the middle, I was hooked on to it. The orconomics portion of the book really started somewhere towards the late middle of the book. The biggest gripe I have about the book are its abrupt changes in tone. Most of the book seemed lighthearted, and suddenly, it turns dark. And it made me go WTF! I feel that this change should have been more gradual. But, overall I liked the book. And I went and immediately read its sequel :-D

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Reviewed as part of SPFBO #4, originally posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink: Get ready and buckle in, fam. It’s time to review the second SPFBO Finalist I’ve read, Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike, and I got some notes I need to try to form coherently into a review, so let’s see how well I can manage it. Orconomics is a beyond clever story that romps on the classic fantasy tropes and thrives with humor and is influenced by DnD heavily (in my opinion; obviously, I can’t speak for the author or his in Reviewed as part of SPFBO #4, originally posted at Thoughts Stained With Ink: Get ready and buckle in, fam. It’s time to review the second SPFBO Finalist I’ve read, Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike, and I got some notes I need to try to form coherently into a review, so let’s see how well I can manage it. Orconomics is a beyond clever story that romps on the classic fantasy tropes and thrives with humor and is influenced by DnD heavily (in my opinion; obviously, I can’t speak for the author or his intentions, but I feel pretty confident in this claim). I think this story is perfect for fans of Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne (seriously, if you enjoyed one, you have to read the other). And I can totally see why this is a finalist in this contest. It’s well written, there were plenty of moments that made me laugh and the characters surprised me in how attached I actually got to them. You see, like Kill the Farm Boy, this book relies–and in ways, thrives–on a certain type of humor that is always going to be hit or miss for readers. For me, and throughout most of this book, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t fall in love with it, and it leaned more towards the “miss” area. It’s simply not my kind of humor and I had a feeling that might be the case, going in. In the first half of the book, especially, I felt the pacing was a bit off in that I just wanted to get to the meat and heart of the story, yet it felt it took a little bit to get there. And while there were funny moments, awesome twists of phrases and some really awesome takes on old lore that I really enjoyed, I was thinking about this review and my score, and it was a general feeling of, “This is pretty good, but I don’t think I’m the right audience for this one.” I was leaning towards a 7/10. But then I hit the last hundred pages and my tune changed. "Gorm made his decision. History pivoted on it." Perhaps it’s because the book got a tad bit more serious. Perhaps it’s because the momentum we’d been slowly building up to in the previous 600 pages was finally coming to a head. Perhaps it was because I finally learned the truth of what I couldn’t figure out and everything clicked and made sense, followed by a sense of dread as I realized what was going to result of that revelation. Prolly a combo of all three. But suddenly, I found myself invested in our heroes, invested in what was going on and I felt my heart tug a little as events unfolded. I couldn’t help give the book a higher rating than I originally planned, halfway through, because I enjoyed the ending so much and actually find myself wanting to know what happens next. That is the power of creating compelling characters, my friends. And I think that was my favorite part of this book. Sure, the humor didn’t always sit with me, the pacing felt a little off and I never really understood the economic chapters of the book, so that always pulled me out of the story (but damn if that wasn’t a seriously clever angle to write in a fantasy novel). But these characters did. I’m very partial to Gorm, though my favorites are Gleebek the Goblin and Thane, hands down. Some of the other party members, I wasn’t as attached to, but I did really love seeing the growth of all of them, seeing how the party came together, their comradery building; some of their conversations and banter towards the latter half of the book was some of my favorite bits throughout the entire thing, and it was really hard not to root for them and read the last 100 pages in quick succession, by the end. So overall, I enjoyed this and I think I’ll be picking up the sequel at some point, because I’m curious to see where it’s headed. It’s ridiculously clever, definitely funny (especially if this humor hits home with you more than it did me), but with a heart to the story that, while it might take a bit to truly connect with you, really hits home when it does. Read on!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andris

    Life is better with bravado.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Petros Triantafyllou

    Semi-Finalist for the SPFBO, so I can't review/rate this yet. Semi-Finalist for the SPFBO, so I can't review/rate this yet.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eldridge

    I read this book because the Austin Science Fiction and Fantasy book club selected it for this month. There were only a few words that I had to look up: sconces, piscine, ululating, and cantrip. It is a very easy book to read, there is no profanity or explicit sex and I could recommend it to young readers. This was a very funny laugh out loud satire. The dialog is snappy but not sarcastic and reminded me some of the best wit of Heinlein characters. There is also dark humor simply stated that bro I read this book because the Austin Science Fiction and Fantasy book club selected it for this month. There were only a few words that I had to look up: sconces, piscine, ululating, and cantrip. It is a very easy book to read, there is no profanity or explicit sex and I could recommend it to young readers. This was a very funny laugh out loud satire. The dialog is snappy but not sarcastic and reminded me some of the best wit of Heinlein characters. There is also dark humor simply stated that brought Kurt Vonnegut to mind. Objects of satire are: The fantasy quest genre, derivative financial instruments, role playing games,economic realities in general, and the cynicism of greed. The author does a great job of weaving it all together. "Marketing is its own kind of magic, is it not?". The characters are well developed and there are plenty of surprises for those who disdain predictable stories.

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