11 February 2013
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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
2 December 2011
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This review of the World of Warcraft: Wolfheart novel by Richard A. Knaak is of the spoiler-free variety.
The latest novel for Warcraft’s Expanded Universe sits firmly in the current timeline of the game, as most recent novels have. Readers are placed in a small window after the Cataclysm and the events of Lord of His Pack, but before the official induction of the worgen to the Alliance. This is notable because the author, Richard A. Knaak, tends to write in his own timeline. Nearly all of his work has been set in the game’s past, including a handful of plots that few living beings would have intimate knowledge of. Knaak’s other common trait is the inclusion of “his” characters, Tyrande Whisperwing and Malfurion Stormrage. Both of these characters play an integral role to the dual plot.
Yes, a dual plot. Interested?
Knaak weaves two distinct threads throughout Wolfheart. Not so shockingly, one tale features the struggles of the Alliance, while the other showcases the audacity of the reinvigorated Horde. Making this novel fully capable of playing a fantastic Benedict Arnold (overall, more Alliance focused).
Hit the cut to find out how the novel comes together and if Knaak has finally won over one of the Lore Hounds. Continue Reading
17 October 2011
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This review World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects novel by Christie Golden is of the spoiler-free variety.
Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects opens like many other recent World of Warcraft novelizations. We’re introduced to the star character, Thrall. Said character is then introduced to a challenging force known to any player that has been following the overall storyarc. Today, that’s Deathwing and the devastation his reentry left on Azeroth. Readers are quickly shown how inept Thrall is at his new craft, shamanism. An adjective rarely applied to the renowned – on both sides – leader. Despite his spiritual growth at he hands of Draka in The Shattering, he can barely keep up with his Earthen Ring brethren, leading them to dismiss him, a former Warchief.
Thrall. He’s known by many names, for many reasons. The greenskin is known by both factions, loved and hated independent of such fissures. Warcrafters know more about him than any other faction leaders, quite possibly any other figure in the decades-long universe. And yet, fans don’t know him. Fans know his deeds, the legends, what he’s created and what he has left behind. Golden rectifies this in Twilight of the Aspects. Continue Reading
2 May 2011
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This review of StarCraft II: Devil’s Due is of the spoiler-free variety.
Devil’s Due picks up five years after the final operational by the Heaven’s Devils (review), one which forced the remaining squad members to go AWOL. James Raynor and Tychus Findlay remain comrades-in-arms, but of a different variety. Now the pair performs snatch-and-grabs, “freeing” credits from the Confederacy’s hands to spend with reckless abandon at local, often seedy, establishments. The tandem has spent a half decade performing these odd jobs, causing the local authorities and bigger fish to take notice. Before Raynor and Finlay get comfortable in their new life, their past acts come back to haunt them.
Author Christie Golden makes it immediately clear that Devil’s Due is going to be a different type of tale. We’re not going to learn about Raynor’s heroism, his bravery in the face of battle, the Heaven’s Devils’ reunion or officer attributes. This is a dangerous time in Raynor’s and Tychus’ life. They’re a criminal element, walking a fine line between Robin Hood-esque robberies and moral destitute. They frequent seedy establishments. The kind that are full of alcohol, prostitutes, recreational drugs – legal and not – and backroom deals, like Wicked Wayne’s. This is a mature look in to Raynor’s moral development. Golden paints him as an anti-hero at best and a reserved thug at worse.