World of Warcraft: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm by Christie Golden has perhaps the longest name of any WoW novel to date, and definitely the largest amount of colons. The Shattering tells the story of the events leading up to “the shattering,” the event where Deathwing emerges from Deepholm and causes mass destruction across Azeroth. This is the first time a WoW novel has been released to advance the story in preparation for an expansion (namely Cataclysm), and seeing the events of The Shattering occurring in parallel with in-game events is quite exciting.
The Shattering is the first of three novels describing the events of the Cataclysm. We learn about the politics of the Alliance and the Horde leading up to Cataclysm and how the Twilight’s Hammer cult and other evil organizations seek to cause havoc in preparation for Deathwing’s arrival. The story alternates between Horde and Alliance events, intertwining them at times when the events happen to overlap.
As the Horde withdraw from Northrend, Garrosh is welcomed home as a war hero and celebrated by all the orcs an Thrall, but Cairne and Eitrigg have their doubts about the young hero. As Thrall feels the unrest of the elements, he takes leave from his seat as warchief to investigate and appoints Garrosh to lead in his absence. Meanwhile, skirmishes ignite Varian Wrynn, and his son Anduin and Jaina Proudmoore try to cool his temper. Anduin discovers his fate in Ironforge and helps mediate some heated discussions.
I have to say, this is one of the few Warcraft novels that really compelled me to keep reading it. Some of the other novels have felt slightly dry and arcane, but WoW players who are eager to transition from worrying about Arthas to Deathwing will find this content extremely relevant and exciting.
Many heroes from each side that players have interacted with or read about in other volumes play big roles in The Shattering. Golden makes each of the characters real and compelling while driving forward a cohesive narrative. There are a couple new characters introduced that really don’t feel relevant except to advance the plot, but I felt right at home in the world painted by the novel.
Much like Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, this is a must-read for WoW fans, especially those who will be picking up Cataclysm at release. You can pick it up from Amazon for $16 for the hardcover, or $8 if you don’t mind waiting until May for the paperback.
If you are rusty on your WoW lore and want to refresh before Cataclysm, consider picking up some of the other recent tomes: