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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Place to Start
If you're a player of World of Warcraft, but not into the old RTS games or the books that have come before, this novel is the place to jump and see some of the story behind the game you've been playing.

Christie Golden has crafted a strong character-centric tale following the life of Arthas Menethil. It shows him growing into a young man, joining the ranks of...
Published on April 23, 2009 by Amazon Customer

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Great Lore
This is an interesting lore piece for those who are at least somewhat familiar with the lore of Warcraft. It is an origin story for Arthas and the Lich King, but a large part of the story is a retelling of the campaigns from Warcraft 3 and The Frozen Throne expansion. It does tie in bits and pieces from WoW, including the love triangle that surrounded (but never...
Published on May 13, 2009 by db


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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Place to Start, April 23, 2009
If you're a player of World of Warcraft, but not into the old RTS games or the books that have come before, this novel is the place to jump and see some of the story behind the game you've been playing.

Christie Golden has crafted a strong character-centric tale following the life of Arthas Menethil. It shows him growing into a young man, joining the ranks of the paladins, and his eventual fall from grace in a way that is quick, concise, and yet still meaningful. Arthas is portrayed as neither a spoiled brat or an arrogant upstart, but as a well-meaning person with a good soul and a few very human and realistic character flaws that gets twisted into something horrible, party by outside forces, but also by the lack of control he has over himself. As I read it, I found myself comparing it to the fall of Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars Saga, and I hate to say it, Golden did a superior job with her take on how a hero becomes the villain.

If this book has any weakness, is that its a little too short. The first two volumes take place at a good pace, always moving but taking the time to really show us all that's transpiring. As the book moves through its third act, those familiar with Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne will note at how briefly the events of the undead campaign are covered. In contrast to the first two thirds of the book, the last third skips over large chunks of the storyline to make sure the crucial points get the time needed, which is good.

The main story in no way feels slighted. But for those of already familiar with the first draft of events, so to speak, it seems as if Golden were either pressed for time, or had a page count limit she was working under because the trek through Anub'Arak is given only the barest of mentions, and the encounter with Sapphiron is treated as if it never happened. An odd choice, given how the dragon features prominently in the World of Warcraft game at the moment.

Lastly, the book concludes with a Further Reading section. This is something new readers can really appreciate. The novel touches on events and places from other games, and expanded upon in earlier novels. This section lets the reader know where to learn more about those places and events, what novels to buy and what games to play. Some might call it shameless marketing, but it makes a handy reference section for new readers.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good "Bad Guy" story, May 3, 2009
By 
Niz (Fort Belvoir, VA USA) - See all my reviews
First let me say, if you are a player of the game and want to expand a little on the mythos behind it, then this would be a good book for you. If you are like me and have read pretty much all the WoW books, then "Arthas" is a must read. For those of you that neither play the game, nor have read any other WoW book, you won't feel slighted. This is a good fantasy novel about a prince who follows the road paved with good intentions to hell.

Christie Golden seems to be a fan of writing the "bad guy" story. She's written both Rise of the Horde and Lord of the Clan (though the argument could be made that the leader of the orcs is not a bad guy in the true sense). With Arthas: Rise of the Lich King she gets the nod from Blizzard (the company who owns WoW) to write an account on one of the most powerful and profound characters in the WoW universe. And she does VERY well.

I agree, however, with the other reviews that state she seemed to become bored, or was strapped for time, near the end of the story. While I understand the desire to not "re-write" some things that have appeared (or may appear) in other WoW novels, sometimes the story jumped from "A" to "C" to without satisfactorily touching on "B". There are parts in the book where it was almost like "By the way, there was this big war and the good guys won"; where one sentence was the springboard past epic events in the history. Noticing it as one who has a strong understanding of the lore, I can only imagine someone who has no idea scratching their heads before reading on.

Otherwise, as I've said, enjoy the story, you won't be disapointed.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Great Lore, May 13, 2009
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This is an interesting lore piece for those who are at least somewhat familiar with the lore of Warcraft. It is an origin story for Arthas and the Lich King, but a large part of the story is a retelling of the campaigns from Warcraft 3 and The Frozen Throne expansion. It does tie in bits and pieces from WoW, including the love triangle that surrounded (but never obsessed) Jaina Proudmoore.

One of the best (and the worst) aspects to this novel is that it attempts to give us understanding of the mindset of Arthas as he progresses through the story. Best because when it works, it really fleshes out the story. When it fails, it seems to hollow it out and reveal that the story is based around a video game story that never really was intended to be taken as far as it has been.

I think the author is in love with writing and that is good in most cases, but sometimes (and I'm guilty of this I think when I write) she writes to read her own writing, rather than write what is needed for the story. Sometimes, I think I was trapped in a quicksand of metaphor and symbols, often layered in "like <this>" or "as <that>." Used sparingly, this can work. Used in heavy doses, it comes off preachy and I'd say that there were moments where the melodrama seemed excessive.

I think the worst part of the novel is the promise that we'll get into the head of the Lich King and we never really do until the end. And I mean, the very, very end. I suppose going in, I should have known when the title was, "Rise of the Lich King," that it wouldn't give me an understanding of the Lich King, just the man who became him. I would have enjoyed a book about the Lich King and Arthas, not just Arthas since Arthas alone does not the Lich King make and in the beginning he isn't the Lich King at all (and yet the Lich King exists in The Frozen Throne).

I enjoyed reading about the romance between Arthas and Jaina, but the abrupt way in which it was aborted (to keep the book reasonable in length) seemed... abrupt. There was no hint of what was to come until it came and I guess I enjoy seeing foreshadowing a little more than was possible in this narrative.

In general, the story is good, but the framework of it was already in place before the author came and fleshed it out. I enjoyed the rare instances where getting into Arthas's head made the story more real, more substantial, and helped understanding later about things that he did or wanted. But too often the story was either barebones when I wanted more time in his head (ie., The Fall of Quel'thalas and a shift in focus) or the time in his head seemed to reduce the character (ie., How could a ruler of men, one of (if not the greatest of) the kingdoms of Men, be so obsessed with a horse?).

Some of the story elements, even in a fantasy story such as this, bordered on absurd, given what I know of the characters and the scenarios involved. I suppose that is more due to interpretations being different for different people. I appreciate that at least some parts of this narrative were fleshed out whereas they were left perhaps intentionally vague in the past.

The story is reasonably well-written and entertaining. I read it in the course of one day and it didn't take too long. The very, very beginning and very, very end were very good and did a fine job of giving me a peek, a moment, of what I wanted from the entire book: an understanding of the Lich King.

And I get the overall meaning of those segments and how they tie into the overall purpose of the book. Yet I do wish we could have seen more of that angle and less of the retelling of what most people who are buying the book already have seen and already know.

I also believe that shifting away from Arthas to Jaina and Sylvannas were perhaps the segments of this book that might easily have been transplanted to other books relating to these characters while giving ample time for the Lich King, such as he is in current game time.

That said, I did enjoy the Sylvannas segments of the book quite a lot and think the character deserves more "air time" than she's gotten so far, in either game or book. One of the best parts of this book is the way that Arthas's fall (pretty sure that's not a spoiler) is compared to the falls of Kael'thas and Sylvannas. By bringing Sylvannas into the story, both in the past and in the present, the story frames Arthas's descent into madness (or deathiness, I guess) in the same light as the changes to Sylvannas are slowly driving her to desperation.

It also quite nicely connects Sylvanna's earlier actions in WoW, which seemed overtly evil, to a later betrayal within The Forsaken during the timeline of the Wrathgate incident and explains how she could have been aware of and actively working toward something, but then not be aware of it when it is used in a way she did not envision. That's as vague as I can be while talking about it.

If most of the above makes sense to you and you play WoW for the story, then I recommend the book. Just don't go into it expecting a great book, a great narrative, or revelations beyond those you're more or less already familiar with. You won't find them here, except at the very, very end. That revelation is almost worth the book itself, but I suspect the game'll tell you eventually anyway.

It was a twist because the opposite is usually true and has become cliche. I won't spoil it here, but it's definitely different than I expected and pleasantly so. It does change what will happen in Icecrowne from what I expected.

Get this book if you enjoy WoW lore, but don't expect LOTR or fantastic fantasy from it. Especially if you're already familiar with the story of how Arthas fell, this book will only fill in small gaps and at times not very well at all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, May 20, 2009
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This book was really great. It followed the lore of Warcraft very close. This book even created a childhood for Arthas that was never really known. In the game I didnt't really like Arthas that much for the way you acted as a Paladin. In this book it can make like him for the bit where he is actually kind and not wanting vengence. You see the relationship Arthas and Jaina had that was not real clear in the Warcraft game. Pretty this book starts with his childhood and all the way to where hes at in the Frozen Throne. Which this is why the book is Rise of the Lich King.

I say anyone that loved the Warcraft lore should read this or any people that have played World of Warcraft and want to know who the Lich King really was before all madness broke loose in Azeroth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely faithful, May 1, 2009
Christie Golden knocks it out of the park again. Arthas's story is one driven by the characters and their emotions more than bare-bones action, and of all the people in Blizzard's writing arsenal, Golden is the only one who could tackle such a story. And that she does, with amazing grace and tenderness toward every character, delivering each in an unbiased light. The lore is rich without being intimidating, the characters warm and developed, and it gives us Warcraft lore buffs some tasty things to chew on for a long while after. Highly recommended for anyone who likes Warcraft!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting lore on the Lich King, June 6, 2009
By 
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This book does a great job tying in with the current World of Warcraft universe and gives a terrific background to Arthas Menethil who later becomes the Lich King.

This is superb storytelling within a limited framework (there wasn't much the author could expand on since she was tied to what was already known) yet it does have a few problems.

The transformation that Arthas undergoes to become the Lich King seems rushed and forced and completely out of character. It has to be thus obviously but I felt more time and care could have been taken to understand why he chose the path he did.

Before he finds Frostmourne (the sword itself takes over from there) it would have been a compelling point to truly understand what drove Arthas to forsake all that he knew and loved to make the decisions he did that lead to the slaughter of an entire small city.

Perhaps it was fear- most poor decisions made are fear-based but I would have liked to see this explored in more depth.

This didn't prevent me from thoroughly enjoying the story however and really liking the characters - especially Arthas and Jaina.

I also enjoyed learning how the Blood Elves came to be and further stories about many of the heroes of Azeroth.

Well done.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Representation of Christie Golden's Work, August 18, 2009
By 
E. Raynor (Dunnellon, Fl) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Allow me to first temper this review that I am a fan of Golden's work. I place her in the top tier of modern fantasy writers which includes Salvatore, Weis/Hickman, and Greenwood.Her previous Warcraft novels are must reads for fantasy lovers, not just Warcraft fans. Lord of the Clans is a bona fide page turner, and Rise of the Horde is riveting.
Now, lets look at this extremely disappointing work of marketing, as it is no coincidence that Rise of the Lich King was released on the heels of the expansion Wrath of the Lich King for World of Warcraft. Arthas is less of a novel than it is a primer for gamers who are not familiar to the events of Warcraft III and Wrath of the Lich King. The writing seems rushed as Golden appears to expect the reader to have experienced key components in the plot through the games or other novels. For example, a pivotal plot point has Arthas traveling to Kalimdor to steal the Skull of Guldan, an artifact crucial to the Lich King's plan. Golden manages to wrap up his meeting with the Demon Hunter Illidan, convincing him to retrieve the skull, and return it to him in the span of only 1 chapter. I was left wanting more. Here are two key figures in the World of Warcraft interacting, and it takes place in only a few pages.
Another major complaint is Golden's use of dialogue taken directly from the Warcraft III game. After reading the book, I was inspired to go back and play through the Scourge episodes. And many plot points are taken from the game word for word. Arthas' final confrontation with Uther, his mentor and friend, was verbatim. I wanted to read this book to expand and flush out the story from the games. I was sorely disappointed.
Arthas:Rise of the Lich King also eludes to other Warcraft novels, and because of this, Golden expects the reader to have already read them. The part where Arthas and Jaina visit the internment camps, and he sees Thrall for the first time is actually covered in Lord of the Clans. And in Rise of the Lich king, we are only given a hint of the drama going on here, or the ramifications of Arthas' visit and disdain for Proudmore. The examples are many.

I highly recommend any of Golden's other works, but save your money and buy Warcraft III Warchest instead of this novel. You will get much more enjoyment out of it then this hastily authored novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arthas: Rise of the Lich King is awesome!, June 8, 2009
By 
A. Nunez (San Diego, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Let me preface this by letting you all know that I am a huge, huge lore fan. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, is amazing for several reasons. The first thing that comes to mind is that Christie Golden does an amazing job at breathing life into the Arthas. Up until I read this book, Arthas Menethil was an awesome and powerful former servant of the lich king (Ner'Zhul) who thirsted for and sought power.
Now I see Arthas Menethil as a former prince, son, friend, lover and most importantly...human. Arthas Menethil is a victim of the Lich King's corruption, but ultimately he is his own destruction.
In my honest opinion this is one of Christie Golden's best World of Warcraft novels yet. I can only imagine the challenges of writing a story that already exists, without losing any of your own talent, creativity and passion. This book is truly worth it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, November 29, 2009
World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, by Christie Golden

"Arthas: Rise of the Lich King" feels like it should be the best of all the Warcraft books published so far. Golden has a lot to work with: the previous Warcraft books, all the Warcraft games and expansions, and the multitude of lore and history that exists. But there's a feeling I'm always left with after finishing this book - a feeling that *something* is missing.

The novel is the story of Arthas Menethil, heir to the throne of Lordaeron; a bright boy with a promising future. But instead of becoming a wise king and faithful paladin, Arthas will fall into the dark and icy deep and rise as the Lich King. The book starts out well enough, with Golden tying many of the scenes into other published Warcraft novels and game history. Arthas is established as a boy desperate to do the right thing, eager for his father's approval, and to be his own person. He makes a misguided vow to do whatever necessary to protect his people, one that he holds to at all costs. Golden is good at writing misguided characters, ones that start with noble intentions that disintegrate - it seems to be her forte; she's done this in the other Warcraft books she's authored.

But I feel something is missing from "Arthas: Rise of the Lich King." For me, Arthas' fall is too fast. There isn't enough believability in his fall from grace - while all Warcraft players know that he becomes evil, Golden doesn't do a good enough job of making it a realistic journey. The third section of the book also glosses greatly over many important events; barely mentioning some and forgetting others all together. The end comes far too quickly. In my opinion the third section is very lacking; it could have used more detail, length, and coverage of important Warcraft events.

Fans of the game will appreciate the little touches Golden puts in, such as Arthas' anger being described often as righteous fury, a spell paladins have. Or the smell of peacebloom, a common herb in the game. "Arthas: Rise of the Lich King" also features Jaina Proudmoore, Kael'thas Sunstrider, and Sylvanas Windrunner, all legendary figures in their own right.

"Arthas: Rise of the Lich King" was the first Warcraft book to be published in hardcover, and while I did splurge and purchase it in hardcover, I feel $25 is a bit much for this book. Only buy it if you have a good coupon, or wait for the paperback. It's too short for my tastes, and isn't long enough to be worth that much, frankly. I was very excited when this book was published, and I couldn't wait to read it, and I do enjoy rereading it, but I just wish there was more too it. I always feel a bit blah at the end, and I wish I didn't feel that way.

3/5.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, May 24, 2009
By 
I thought this was an absolutely excellent book. It was wonderful in how it tied in all of the other Warcraft books in the history of Arthas and how it related to him.
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World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden (Mass Market Paperback - January 26, 2010)
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