Joenna's Ax by Elaine Issak

T I T L E: Joenna’s Ax
S E R I E S: Bladesend (Nº 2)
A U T H O R: Elaine Issak
P U B L I S H E R: Rocinante
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 8, 2015
I S B N: 9780985857738

After Joenna's half-orc son is killed in battle, she disguises herself as a man to join the army and avenge him, adding one notch to the handle of her ax for every demons she kills. But when she volunteers to lead a suicide charge of half-orc scouts, she risks her secret and her own mission to try to save them. Rewarded for her prowess with a grant of land and ownership of her half-orc man-at-arms, Joenna plots to rescue all of the half-orcs from the king's plan to destroy these reviled bastards—making herself a traitor along with them. When their haven is discovered, Joenna leads the half-orcs in a desperate fight against a famous warrior and his knights in the hopes of winning their freedom and claiming their humanity.

     While this book was action packed, it was a very quick read. I would say it was more of a novella really. I read this in about three hours.
     The action scenes in this book were well written. In fact, this story starts out with a combat scene and just goes from there. One of the things that had me wondering though, was how Joenna received her military training. She held her own and was very skilled at handling her ax. After months of fighting with the army no one ever discovered that she was a woman. That in itself is quite a feat, but this was after all a fantasy and I do love very strong female characters. That is what I think I liked most about Joenna. The fact that she held her own and was able to kick some demon ass.
     I also really liked Valanor. He was well written and though he was described as not being handsome by any means since he was half orc, I still kept picturing him as being very good looking in my head. I suppose it had to do with his personality and sense of honor. I grew quite fond of him, I must say.
     My complaints are as was too short and I still have unanswered questions. Needless to say because of those two things, I was not ready for the ending and admittedly, I didn’t care for the ending. But because it was well written and I did really like Joenna and the half orc characters, I am giving this book four stars.