This review of the World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War novel by Christie Golden is of the spoiler-free variety.
No novel has been more appropriately aligned with in-game events than Tides of War. Released just weeks ahead of Mists of Pandaria, Christie Golden was given the task of developing a story arc to kickoff the war between the Horde under Warchief Garrosh and the Alliance. With both sides still reeling from the final events of Cataclysm nearly all expected a lull in factional fighting, perhaps even a renewed chance at peace. Despite her best efforts, Jaine Proudmoore, ever the diplomat and focus of the novel, is unable to reach warmongering Garrosh before violence begins.
Golden is pure Golden in Tides of War. Her characters are spot on, from dialog to emotions, showcasing her in-depth understanding of the universe. Golden isn’t just articulating characters she’s worked with before. That’d be too easy. She’s reaching, grabbing and utilizing now-major players created by others, like Kalecgos and Rhonin, and humanizing smaller players such as General Marcus Jonathan.
Readers beware, like the players of World of Warcraft, the material in this book has grown up compared to other novelizations. There’s the obvious battle and dwarven alcohol references, but the descriptions of certain events and the impact they have on the major characters raise the bar. Characters on both sides of the struggle are so enraged, distraught and disgusted by actions taken by Garrosh that alcohol is openly discussed as an escape mechanism, rather than a comical subtle reference. Furthermore, an honest to god swear is uttered.
Players that have kept up with the pre-Mist of Pandaria events know exactly what event could cause such vial wishes upon its undertakers. This review will remain spoiler-free, but the destruction upon the area is nothing that Azeroth has witnessed in our timeline. The Cataclysm damaged the world as a whole, but the dastardly action is as destructive, but centrally located. The scene Golden paints, between the waste of life, the justification for such mayhem and the response to such a victory and defeat is steeped in real life history. It’s brilliantly eerie how Golden handled the unforgetable moment.
The aspect of Tiders of War readers will enjoy the most is indirect of the phenomenal plot and writing by Golden. Warcraft has had dozens of novels published inside its universe. WoW itself has had an impressive amount. Yet few have ever been so perfectly timed with in-game events. Blizzard, for seemingly the first time, gave an author a major plot point and told her to run with it. Get crazy. Interest people not just looking for a slightly deeper connection to Warcraft, but by dramatically altering Azeroth, the struggle between the factions, the dynamics of the horde and leaders of the races far and wide.
In the words of Varian, Tides of War is the beginning of a “world war.” One that every player is going to be a major part of.
Check out all of the novelizations of Blizzard products in the our Extensive Extended Universe rundown.