Posts Tagged ‘richard a. knaak’

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.

Continue Reading

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: World of Warcraft: Wolfheart Review

2 December 2011 | 2 Comments » | iTZKooPA

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

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: Wolfheart (Excerpt) Review

15 September 2011 | No Comments » | Randy Denosha

Wolfheart Novel

This excerpt-review of the upcoming World of Warcraft: Wolfheart novel by Richard A. Knaak is of the mild-spoiler variety.

For the people that don’t know Richard, he has written several novels set in the world of Warcraft before, which include The Sunwell Trilogy and the War of the Ancients. Before I get into it I will warn for some spoilers. If you want to read the excerpts before reading the review head here. I will be giving my thoughts about the two excerpts Blizzard has posted.

After reading the first excerpt, I was impressed with the writing style of Knaak. The long-time Warcraft wordsmith created a bond between common orcs and  their new Warchief, Garrosh. It was obvious that the orcs, whether brownskin or greenskin, would would do everything for Thrall’s successor. This becomes more apparent when Briln, the elderly orc captain, tells the reader that the orcs would have readily given their lives for their legendary overlord of the Warsong Offensive.

To be fair, I haven’t actually read any of Knaak’s novels yet, but these excerpts certainly caught my eye and I am looking forward to digesting his older works. This excerpt kept me intrigued throughout. I really wanted to find out what the cargo is that the orcs carry and what its purpose is. I had the idea that they captured some worgen, seeing the name of the novel, but after a second thought I am not so sure anymore. Briln informs us that they will be using this cargo against the Alliance. The worgen maybe an aggressive race, but they wouldn’t attack their own allies. More engrossing is the idea that the Cataclysm is the first sign of their “day” coming. What does Garrosh mean by that…

The second excerpt entertained from start to finish, largely due to heavy emotions. I read how disheartened Genn became with losing his land and city and how he doesn’t like having this curse. He blames himself for everything that happened. Again, the writing style remains slick (not surprising, given that it’s one book). Other staffers have routinely criticism Knaak for his dialogue and descriptions, but he made me feel the heartache and internal struggles Genn is living with. Just consider the weight of the last line, why would it be Malfurion’s fault that the Gilneans got cursed?

Before I go I really want to know what you guys think of these two excerpts? What kind of creatures do you think are in those cages? Why could it be Malfurion’s fault the Gilneans got cursed? Last but not least, are you going to buy this novel? I certainly am!

Darn previews sucking me in. LoreHound.com will have a full review shortly.

The Novel Post: World of Warcraft: The Dragons of Outland Volume 2 – Nexus Point Review

4 March 2011 | No Comments » | iTZKooPA

This review of World of Warcraft: The Dragons of Outland Volume 2 – Nexus Point is of the spoiler-free variety (since most of this lore is known).

It’s not uncommon for a sequel to of a piece of media to pick up where its predecessor left off. In Nexus Point, the second (and likely final) installment of the The Dragons of Outland trilogy, writer Richard A. Knaak takes it to the next level. The manga picks up exactly where Shadow Wing left off, with Ragnok Bloodreaver baring down on the portal with the Dragonmaw clan army backed by mind-controlled nether dragons. Jorad Mace and his broken friend, Warrith, are hot on Bloodreaver’s heels. Meanwhile, Tyri, the blue dragon, discovers a shocking revelation.

Well, discovering that the nether dragons are spawned from Black dragonflight eggs mixed with arcane energies from Draenor’s destruction would have been shocking. Had we not learned about it ages ago. Scheduling issues took the wind out of the story’s sails for me early, and the book never fully recovered.

The story thread of Ragnok and Jorad battling it out in front of the Dark Portal felt incredibly forced. Their struggle, which is a visual treat from Jae-Hwan Kim, appears to have been created just to precipitate the nether dragons escape to Azeroth, where the real tale begins. Or to show off Kim’s talents. Being back in Outland felt odd, yet refreshing for the early part of Nexus Point. Then the reader is thrust to the icy shores of Northrend and the magical leys of Coldarra, where little happens. Truthfully, the tale could have revolved around Tyri and her two nether companions, Zzeraku and Valoku. Everything else was fluff, indirectly leading them to their greater purpose without any interesting character development, unknown details or revelations by those that played second fiddle.

Hit the jump to digest the rest of the review. Continue Reading

Blizzard & Tokyopop End Six-Year Relationship [Update2]

3 March 2011 | 8 Comments » | iTZKooPA

The Novel Post has been a staple column in the Lore Hound diet since the beginning. Long running and often updated thanks to Blizzard’s various licensing deals across numerous literary medias, the column is going to slim down in 2011. That’s not because we writers are getting lazy. Heavens no. It’s because Tokyopop, Blizzard’s most frequent producer for the Expanded Universe, over 20 products to date, is no longer making manga for the Blizzard universes.

According to an inside source, Blizzard is no longer in a relationship with the Los Angeles-based publisher of anime and manga. “The TOKYOPOP/Blizzard program ends with [the latest] books” the source said.

Tokyopop has been struggling to remain profitable in recent years, with a major restructuring occurring in 2008. More recently, the company saw its COO John Parker resign in February, followed by more employees layoffs on March 1. The collapse of Borders and its inability to pay what it owed content creators forced Tokyopop’s latest cutbacks.

This week’s downsizing included well-known manga editor Lillian Diaz-Przybyl and Troy Lewter. Lewter’s name should ring a bell to Blizzard fans, as he was the editor behind Tokyopop’s most recent batches of Blizzard-based manga.

[Update]

According to the source, the dissolution of the agreement has nothing to due with the most recent layoffs. The decision for the companies to go their separate ways “was actually made a while back.”

[Update2]

A further inquiry was just returned. Blizzard decided to end the agreement, despite being happy with the returns, due to its own inability to fully commit to the project. The developer felt that it did not have enough time to devote to co-developing and reviewing the products in a timely fashion. See the Feast of Winter Veil story in Warcraft: Legends 3 coming out months after the holiday as evidence.

[End Updates]

Blizzard protects its intellectual property closely – ask any number of people that have been hit with cease and desists letters – and has been known to let licensing agreements expire due to quality concerns. Just ask Upper Deck Entertainment. The internal strife at Tokyopop likely precipitated the end of the relationship (See updates above), since the books saw at least modest commercial success. But the exact reason remains unconfirmed.

Fans of Richard A. Knaak and Kim Jae-Hwan are probably wondering what is going to happen to The Dragons of Outland. The proposed trilogy from the team that created The Sunwell Trilogy had its second installment released earlier this week (along with StarCraft: Ghost Academy Volume 3). The third and final chapter, and only announced manga not produced, is now in limbo.

We’ve reached out to our contacts to have these questions answered, but none have responded as of press (see update).

It’s quiet sad that this avenue of storytelling is going away. Manga offered a perfect way for Blizzard to get stories out that needed to be told, but for whatever reason, haven’t made it in to the games. Case in point, the absolutely stellar origins story for the Headless Horseman. Warcraft: Legends really hit its stride the last two volumes. To those at Tokyopop that made the products happen, thank you for the hard work and captivating stories and artwork!

You can see, and buy, all of the products created during the six-year relationship in our Extensive Expanded Universe piece.