This review of the World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn novel by Christie Golden is of the spoiler-free variety. Check out the entire Blizzard catalog in our Extensive Extended Universe post.
Bloodsworn is an odd duck in the massive, ever-growing extended universe of Blizzard Entertainment. What is being read was originally the opening story arc for the proposed Horde comic line from WildStorm. After years of missteps, restarts and C’thun knows what else it all fell apart. That collapse wasn’t fruitless. It delivered Bloodsworn, a graphic novel from Doug Wagner and Jheremy Raapack that focused on the dastardly Horde.
The graphic novel was set in the immediate aftermath of the Cataclysm despite being released towards the end of that expansion’s lifetime in late August 2013. Especially late considering it was initially conceived in mid 2011. As expected, Bloodsworn is a Horde tale through and through. A Horde of Garrosh through and through. In fighting, lack of trust, disrespect, heck, racist remarks are thrown about the core group comprised of orcs, tauren, troll, forsaken and blood elf repeatedly. These disagreeable, at best, individuals are selected by Horde decree of Garrosh Hellscream from each faction to fill the ranks of the Garand’kra, a militia organized to defend Horde interests from the pesky centaur tribes.
The tale is one of the Horde. Sure, the Garand’kra have personal battles. Demons they must deal with, troubled pasts to overcome. Even Malgar, arguable the star of the novel, is but a small part of a much larger story. Doug Wagner pulls the reader through the development and growth of the Horde itself during the tumultuous events of the Cataclysm. The ragtag band is nothing but a simile. Their growth, their blood, their sacrifice is a mouthpiece for the Horde.
Artist Jheremy Raapack brings the glory of the Horde to life with hard defined lines. The creations shine in combat, which Wagner provides in spades. Long gorey battles are easily captured by Raapack. Blood becomes part of the tapestry. Readers can feel the fury, the bloodlust and rage of battle. The splash pages enable him to fully flex providing far more detail than his general panel work.
Bloodsworn certainly missed its window of opportunity. The story is entirely Horde, which makes sense given the aforementioned origins. That enables Alliance players to humanize their arch enemies a bit. You know, if they’re feeling up to it. Unfortunately, by missing its launch of Cataclysm window a few minor details, such as troll druids, from having the impact they may have at launch. Minor details that are only minor drawbacks. The members of the Garand’kra were vehicles for the story of the Horde. This makes their personal development, and thus the entire novel, less interesting in the immediacy. Focus on the big picture, what this means for the Horde, how the Alliance should respond to the failed centaur uprising, if at all. Certainly how they’ll react to the potential addition of a new race to the Horde ranks.
Interested in exploring World of Warcraft’s recent lore further?
Doug Wagner is new to the Blizzard universe. Heck, he’s rather new to the whole writing gig as it is having published about a dozen comics. You can purchase a hardcover edition of the most recent WoW novel, Dark Riders, for less than a Jefferson. Vol’jin recently saw his own novel.
Check out all of the novelizations of Blizzard products in the our Extensive Extended Universe rundown.