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.
Outlaws constantly hunted by Mengsk, Golden has ample room to flex her action muscle. Be it on foot with gauss rifles in hand, combating leaderless zerg, or multiple Battlecruiser dog fights above a planet, Flashpoint bombardes readers with fast and furious action. Golden takes these stressful scenarios as the crux of character development, fleshing out numerous secondary characters such as Captain Horner, engineer Annabelle Thatcher, and a capable Valerian Mengsk looking to step out from his father’s overbearing shadow.
Flashpoint contains an incredible amount of action and interpersonal dialog that pushes the story of Wings of Liberty forward. Yet, the novel is truly about two candid human emotions, love and hope. The love of freedom from oppression. The hope that one group of people can make a universe of difference. Hatred of your father and his actions; the hope you can overcome the connotations of your surname. Hope that you’ve experienced your last betrayal. Mostly though, it’s about the love between a man and women and the hope her humanity can be saved.
Interested in exploring StarCraft‘s recent lore further?
You can purchase a hardcover edition of the recent James Raynor tandem – Heaven’s Devils (our review) and Devil’s Due (our review) – for less than $11 each, or save about a buck on the paperback edition. It’s prequel, StarCraft: Ghost – Nova, is years old but still easy to find. StarCraft: Ghost Academy (our three reviews), the excellent manga series from the now-closed Tokyopop, is likely to become a collector’s item in short order.
Christie Golden has become a staple writer for the Blizzard universe. Traversing Warcraft and StarCraft seamlessly, Golden has penned 10 books for the franchises, including The Shattering – Prelude to Cataclysm and Arthas: Rise of the Lich King.
Check out all of the novelizations of Blizzard products in the our Extensive Extended Universe rundown.