Posts Tagged ‘expanded universe’

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Dark Riders Review

14 October 2013 | 1 Comment » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Dark Riders novel by Mike Costa is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

World of Warcraft: Dark Riders returns fans to the dark world of Duskwood of the Eastern Kingdoms. Players familiar with the territory will remember the numerous quests involving the mysterious Dark Riders thanks to NPC Sven Yorgen. The quest line features similarities to the folklore of Sleepy Hollow with the typical Blizzard twists. In the all-new graphic novel, Mike Costa creates additional backstory to the mysterious group tied to the Scythe of Elune, worgenism, Karlain and secondary characters Mardigan and Revil Kost.

Duskwood and its Halloween-esque setting is has been replaced by ages of lore for most World of Warcraft players. Because of this, writer Costa spends a large portion of the graphic novel reintroducing readers to the storied area while expanding upon the relationship of the disciplined Karlain, his son Mardigan that was quickly accused of murder and the revenge-set priest Revil Kost.

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The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Vol’jin – Shadows of the Horde Review

23 September 2013 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Vol’jin – Shadows of the Horde novel by Michael Stackpole is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

World of Warcraft: Vol’jin – Shadows of the Horde is author Michael A. Stackpole’s first entry into the WoW universe. Fear not, Stackpole is well versed in working among the tight constraints of another’s intellectual property having penned for Star Wars and the BattleTech franchises. Shadows of the Horde is set in the current timeframe of WoW and begins with Vol’jin on death’s door. Rescued by Chen Stormstout, Vol’jin realizes that his meeting was an assassination plot orchestrated by none other than Warchief Garrosh. Severely wounded, the former leader of the Darkspear tribe has to focus on his recovering – slowed by poison – before he can seek revenge.

Stackpole uses this recovery period to address the troll condition. No longer in charge of the Darkspear and beset by antagonistic visions of the death loa Bwomsamdi, Vol’jin is must recover with the aid of Tyrathan, a human recovering at the same monastery Stormstout brought his friend to. The story digs deep, touching upon a variety of issues. The faction war, leadership, character flaws and shortcomings, the history, philosophy and environment of Pandaria; it’s all there. Continue Reading

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part 4

5 June 2013 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part 4 novel by Richard Knaak is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Before diving into the review proper, it’s important to note that Blizzard is releasing this book in a new fashion. Knaak’s latest work in the World of Warcraft universe will trickle out over the next few months in five installments. Each ringing up at $1.99, effectively costing more for those that purchase the full set. The serialized eBook is currently scheduled to wrap up in mid June. As such, this review will be concise.

Review of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Action packed, it’s simply the most concise way to articulate Part 4 of this eBook experiment. Knaak has been saving his combat chops for this stretch of the five-part novel. It’s been an agonizing wait till this point, but the plot and related subplots finally drive forward with reckless abandon. Kalecgos hidden in the mind of Malygos, and the rest of the future Aspects and other sentient proto dragons set out to confront the behemoth Father of Dragons known as Galakrond. Regardless of his immense size and mutation, the evolving proto dragons understand that his hunger and growing undead army will bring about their extinction in short order.

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The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part III

20 May 2013 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part 3 novel by Richard Knaak is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Before diving into the review proper, it’s important to note that Blizzard is releasing this book in a new fashion. Knaak’s latest work in the World of Warcraft universe will trickle out over the next few months in five installments. Each ringing up at $1.99, effectively costing more for those that purchase the full set. The serialized eBook is currently scheduled to wrap up in mid June. As such, this review will be concise.

Review of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Dawn of the Aspect has been a struggle to read through. The delayed releases of the individual parts of the eBook has endangered the novel further in my eyes. Rather than continuing reading to reach the next interesting plot point or gloss over additional unnecessary and repetitive detail, one has been left waiting weeks to see anything move forward. It’s been slow going during the first two installments, comprising of 10 chapters. Continue Reading

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part II

9 April 2013 | 1 Comment » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part II novel by Richard Knaak is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Before diving into the review proper, it’s important to note that Blizzard is releasing this book in a new fashion. Knaak’s latest work in the World of Warcraft universe will trickle out over the next few months in five installments. Each ringing up at $1.99, effectively costing more for those that purchase the full set. The serialized eBook is currently scheduled to wrap up in mid June. As such, this review will be concise.

Review of Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

The story arc of Dawn of the Aspects is slow. Knaak divides the book between two timelines. The reader is rooted in the current timeline, focusing primarily on Kalecgos and, like his predecessor, his fearful decline into madness. Jaina Proudmoore is the only character aside from the former aspect that has a meaningful role in this thread. The reader may be rooted in the current World of Warcraft universe, but the majority of the novel pertains to the evolution of proto-dragons to dragons and the eventual creation of dragon aspects.

Hit the jump for the full review of Part II of Dawn of the Aspects. Continue Reading

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part 1

26 February 2013 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part 1 novel by Richard Knaak is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Before diving into the review proper, it’s important to note that Blizzard is releasing this book in a new fashion. Knaak’s latest work in the World of Warcraft universe will trickle out over the next few months in five installments. Each ringing up at $1.99, effectively costing more for those that purchase the full set. The serialized eBook is currently scheduled to wrap up in mid June. As such, this review will be concise.

Knaak returns to his dragonkind after their pyrrhic victory against Deathwing. The former Earth-warder gone only at the cost of the Aspects themselves. The Aspects remain alive, but without their powers leaving them to be known only by their proper monikers. Kalecgos, the former blue aspect after Malygos’ terror was ended, notices a disturbing change in the other, older comrades. They’ve given up, removed themselves from the struggle against the persistent evils of Azeroth. Leaving the chore up to the “younger” races.

Hit the jump for the full review of Part 1 of Dawn of the Aspects. Continue Reading

The Novel Post: StarCraft II: Flashpoint

11 February 2013 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

This review of StarCraft II: Flashpoint novel by Christie Golden is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.

Ready for an SAT comparison? Flashpoint is to StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm as World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War is to Mists of Pandaria. Christie Golden’s latest effort comes on the heels of Devil’s Due, her previous work in the universe, and launches the story of James Raynor, his Raiders and their “allies” into the early workings of Blizzard’s second entry into the StarCraft II trilogy.

Fans looking for deeper understanding of the Zerg or Protoss won’t have much success with Flashpoint. Sure, Sarah Kerrigan is a main character of the novel. One that’s largely comatosed for the novel following the closing cinematic events of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. That’s not to suggest Flashpoint is lore that should be skipped. Completely the opposite in fact. Golden keeps the focus on the Terran struggles by returning to James Raynor, his Raiders, their struggle against Arcturus Mengsk and hope for redeeming the Queen of Blades.

Unlike the previous novels featuring back story to humanity’s most successful backwater Marshall, Flashpoint puts readers right in the thick of the universal struggle to be continued in Heart of the Swarm. Connected to past keys events in the lives of Raynor and Kerrigan via flashbacks, Golden describes the constant struggle the pair have had with trust. From leaders to friends, their past is littered with betrayal. A constant companion. Continue Reading

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War

5 October 2012 | No Comments » | Patrick "iTZKooPA" Mulhern

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. Continue Reading