Top critical review
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Great lore piece, disappointed reader
on December 5, 2010
Let me preface this hopefully succinct review and say I'm rating this not solely as a book on Warcraft lore, but by the standards of any book. Most game-based lore type books would barely rate one star in my opinion, and I consider them more "guilty reads", so I mean three stars as a compliment.
Christie Golden does a great job of giving you a sense of the lore figures, even if you only have a cursory familiarity with Warcraft lore. In fact, I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to gain a quick, synopsis of not only those-present lore character's history, but demeanor.
Often when an author is challenged with multiple view points, a reader can feel disappointed "just as s/he is getting comfortable" with a POV and being taken away at an interesting point. Golden does a solid job of keeping the various threads of her tale engaging, and the bulk of my disappointment arose elsewhere (read further).
I primarily bought this book for lore I felt was lacking in the game, and really, in most Warcraft lore books, specifically: Voljin, Sylvanas, Lor'themar Theron, and Prophet Velen. Curiously the only leader absent that I didn't care about was Mekkatorque. As a lore reader, I was sorely disappointed to see them absent amidst such critical moments in the game's canon. As a general sci-fi fantasy reader, I was thoroughly disappointed in the, as what other reviewers here have labeled rushed (and in my opinion, lazy), writing. Having to juggle so many "players" in a game's history can be a challenge, but anyone who has read the likes of Steven Erikson or George R.R. Martin are familiar with how a five star author handles such a challenge. Leaving them out so completely was despite their obvious symbiotic relations to the present-characters and activities was just amazing and, as I try to reason the "why", lazy. Thus, three stars.
As others have pointed out here, I also felt many scenes were rushed or resolved not through an evolution of character, but through necessity to move the story. Writing like this is why "plot driven" carries such a negative connotation in today's literature. Again, I understand the author's constraints, but am judging her through the world of sci-fi, and not solely game-based lore. For the latter, she did not disappoint anymore than another author. By the former, she was a three star author, at best.
Finally, the price was just too high. I learned nothing new that I wasn't formerly aware of through information on Blizzard's official website, or through the in game activities. Truly, at $6 this would have been a bargain on my Kindle. Instead, I feel strangely bitter that I purchased it, and would not recommend it to a friend.
Not shockingly, the book is for fan boys and lore hounds of the Warcraft canon. I'm not sure how anyone could buy this book expecting otherwise. If you've been absent from Azeroth for some months (or years) and want to quickly (and I mean quickly, it's a short read) catch up on where your old friends and are before this exciting new expansion released, I would recommend this book. If you've been relatively active in game, and take any time to read the official site for new information, I would save your money until the price on this book comes down to a value that represents what it has to offer.