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.
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.
Knaak routinely jumps between the here-and-now and what Kalecgos is witnessing through the unusual artifact he discovered amongst the bones of Galakrond. The artifact’s purpose is kept vague, with Kalecgos constantly attempting to discover its meaning. However, whenever he believes he’s making progress he’s ripped to the past to play observing of another defining moment in early Azeroth. The writing style is interesting, creating a non-linear story. Almost a lucid dream sequence.
The fractured narrative does have its drawbacks. First, some readers may simply find it jarring, potentially even difficult to follow. That may be on purpose as Kalec is experiencing everything in the same fashion. Again, an interesting mechanic. The real issue lies in the struggle of keeping the narrative active, engaging even. Character development, such as the new proto-dragon Talonixa, is slow. The plot unfolds even slower. Dragged down by Knaak’s insistent desire to awkwardly reference previous expanded universe happenings.
The Dawn of the Aspects is an interesting point in the history of Azeroth. How it hasn’t been elaborated on until this point is a shocking oversight. Unfortunately, Knaak, in what is usually his strong point, is not doing a fantastic job with the development of some of the most important characters in WoW lore from animals to sentient beings. Perhaps that’s why Dawn of the Aspects is solely an eBook, rather than a physical release.
Dawn of the Aspects – Part III comes out April 22.
Interested in exploring Warcraft’s recent lore further?
Blizzard has released a torrent of Warcraft novelizations as WoW has gained in popularity. Most directly related to Dawn of the Aspects are Jaina Proudmoore: Tide of War and The Shattering – Prelude to Cataclysm both by Christie Golden.
Knaak, as the master of WoW dragonkind, has dabbled with them since he began working with Blizzard. Pick up Day of the Dragon, Night of the Dragon or the unfinished Dragons of Outland. Knaak penned the War of the Ancients trilogy as his freshman entry into the Warcraft universe, years ahead of WoW’s release.
Check out all of the novelizations of Blizzard products in the our Extensive Extended Universe rundown.