Friday, August 31, 2012

Tides of War Review

Jaina Proudmoore:Tides of War is the latest World of Warcraft tie - in novel. Written by Christie Golden, this novel is a setup for Mists of Pandaria, in very much the same way The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm was a setup for Cataclysm. It continues many of the stories that are left open at the end of the Cataclysm expansion.

The story itself is stunning and tragic.It is rare to read an officially licensed product, and leave with tears in your eyes. Jaina's pain and anger are very well conveyed. I was absolutely stunned by how dark the novel became. The War that was started in Cataclysm is in full gear now. The closing scenes of the book leave no question as to where this is headed.

Several new ideas have been tossed into the mix, such as Shamans enslaving the elements, which is sure to draw the ire of the Earthen Ring, and the Horde controlling Kraken. Huh? No explanation on that one... I will resist the urge to put on my tinfoil hat....

What I liked:
  • Catching up on old friends. Many individuals were touched upon in the book, and not in a way that hurt the pacing or felt out of place. In a universe this large, Golden does one hell of a job allowing us to say hi to our favorites, and then continue on. Very well done.
  • The raw emotions, from both factions, was pretty amazing. Jaina, Baine, Vol'jin, Thrall, and Kalec had their souls open and on full display. Thrall, Jaina, and Baine were just amazing, in that you could fell the hurt they felt.
  • The nature of Garrosh. I have long believed he would fall to some outside power, Sha, or some such thing. Now I am not so sure. He is doing everything on his own. The frightening image of his Kro'kron Guard spying on the citizens and silencing decent, is one I will not soon forget. This story is dark. I feel it will get darker....
  • I absolutely LOVE how the novels and comics and short stories all reference each other. Even the game meshes well in the world. Its rare to see that done so well. The Star Wars EU does it a lot, but never this well.
What I didn't like:
  • Warcraft novels, and really all licensed products, could use a decent editor. I found The Shattering to be damn near unreadable. I loved the story, but every sentence made me cringe. Tides of War was much more polished and pretty, but it still has the same flaws. I would love to see a Warcraft novel by Patrick Rothfuss or Brandon Sanderson. Someone that can really bang out some quality word-crafting.
  • No Pandaria. Nothing. Not even a blurb at the end about a "strange new land". Nothing. Very, very sad. And with such a dark story, I'm concerned how that will contrast with the Pandaria story. Then again, that story no longer seems so lighthearted these days, with the awesome cut-scenes popping up in the beta.
  • Uh, Lordaeron? Last we saw the Eastern Kingdoms, The Forsaken were wrecking shop. Whats going on over there? And, what happened to Koltira?!
TL;DR - Buy this book. Read it. Thank me later.

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