Updated Tue, Mar 02, 2010 by Xerin
Richard A. Knaak
Average Retail: $15-25
Author's Website: richardaknaak.com
It’s a pretty big deal when a World of Warcraft novel is released. The novels are an outside source of valuable lore information and can play a major impact on the story of upcoming games. For instance, Tirion Fordring’s story was told in Of Blood and Honor by Christ Metzen while Day of the Dragon explained everything we currently know about dragons all before they became major players in the game. This month Stormrage, a 400 page novel by Richard A. Knaak, was released detailing the events of Malfurion Stormrage’s escape from the Emerald Dream and many other plotlines.
Stormrage is not to be confused with the upcoming Cataclysm series being released that details the events leading up to the expansion. Instead Stormrage is a look at the modern events mostly focused around Tyrande Whisperwind, Broll Bearmantle, and Malfurion Stormrage along with the sickness and corruption that has plagued Teldrassil.
It’s a very peculiar book because it handles the modern day lore instead of the lore of past (like most books). This means we get to read about events that are happening in the “now” instead of 20 years ago or 10,000 years ago. It’s an impressive thing to know what you’re reading in the book is something that’s about to come into the actual game. While we’re not going to see a lot of the Emerald Dream, we are going to be seeing Malfurion return angrier than ever.
On to the book! The book weighs in at about 400 pages in a small hardback frame. A good five to eight hours of reading for the average reader, longer if you’re slow or if you reread parts. It’s a good length for a novel that is full of important Warcraft lore because it’s long enough to tell you what’s needed but short enough not to waste your time with too many unimportant details. Speaking of details, the book is full of them.
Important details that include Malfurion’s return, tons of plot lines that had no resolution or were open, tons of character cameos like Naralex (Wailing Caverns) and Renferal (Alterac Valley), and the corrupted green dragons added long ago (Lethon and Emeriss) that were once open world raid bosses. A lot of detail went into the book to make sure it felt completely connected to the Warcraft universe and it shows.
There are some characters you may not be familiar with like Broll Bearmantle and King Varien (as he appears in the outside media) which are from World of Warcraft: The Comic. Sorry Valeera fans, she’s only mentioned a few times.
Overall I found the book to be an enjoyable experience because it shares so much lore involving the Druids, the ongoing tension between the Druids and the Sisters of Elune (Arch Druid Fandral Staghelm to be specific), Malfuion Stormrage, and the Emerald Dream. You will learn a lot in this book about all of these subjects and more. It starts off strong, gets stronger, and then finishes with a nice touch. I won’t spoil the details, but the ending itself is very strong and adds to the enjoyment of the book.
However, sadly there is one slight problem. This is a Knaak book, which means that Knaak’s tendency to add in his original characters shows up. For the uninitiated, Knaak has this “knack” for adding in characters that many in the fandom do not like. For instance, Night of the Dragon became a time traveling tale so that Rhonin, Krasus, and Broxigar could be a part of the War of the Ancients (all his original characters). Luckily, I am happy to report that this book only has one of Knaak’s characters (outside of a few mentions here and there) and while annoying, only played a small role in the book as a whole.
The book also suffered words that didn’t need repeating as much. For instance, “orbs” instead of “eyes” and the overuse of “macabre” could ruin the immersion momentarily for some. Not to mention the in-depth details of every Druid’s form and a plethora of unnecessary explanations.
Before I drive the negative train too far (and don’t get me wrong this was a good book), I would like to stop and expand on how there were many very good explanations for many things players wouldn’t know without reading the entire library of WoW novels. Knaak makes sure to explain for the novices out there events that might not be known unless you follow the comic or read the books. This is a major plus because even though I know these facts, others may not. This is a very newbie friendly book in that regard, not to mention the further reading section expanding on those explanations.
So, should you read this book? I would say yes. There are some problems (I didn’t find it as tight of a book as the Arthas one was), but a lot of it can be easily overlooked as small annoyances when compared the information about the current lore that you gain. If you’re someone who likes to read and loves WoW then this wouldn’t be a bad choice to throw into your pile of books you want to read.
If you’d like more information about the book, including how to order it, you can view the book’s amazon.com listing right here.
|Is the book worth it? Yes, if you're a major lore fan, Knaak's writing style can be off-putting but it's nowhere near as bad as Night of the Dragon and the lore makes up for it. No if you're not and just want to read a random book.|