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.
Fans of previous Expanded Universe novels may not enjoy this entry, depending on what they are looking for. Golden does not focus on combat. There’s little by way of skirmishes, battles or wars. Correction, in a war-torn and divided land like Azeroth, conflict is inevitable, but in Golden’s latest little of it matters. It’s minutiae, background noise, a plot device to expand upon her focal point, Thrall. Every writer’s device is directed at this orphan, explaining his story, what makes him tick and how he lives up to his very name.
In Twilight of the Aspects, Golden spins an amazing storyline featuring a wide range of known characters, from dragon aspects to popular leaders. No matter their standing in the world and its history, the characters cannot deny the greenskin’s contributions to his adopted land. Golden carries the characters into the most epic storyline told outside of a video game. One expressed through the unusual blue eyes of Thrall as he attempts to save the world, past, present and future.
Don’t purchase this book for its action. Don’t purchase it for its connection to WoW. Purchase it because it takes the notion of the Expanded Universe in a new direction, for all medium. Emotions and introspection are what drive the novel. Major events happen throughout the story, not as a culmination to it. Characters are expressed through new avenues, not token combat or game tropes. World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects too engrossing and game-changing to pass it up.
Interested in exploring WoW’s recent lore further?
You can purchase a hardcover edition of World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects for $15.85, or wait until February 28 for an $8.99 paperback edition. It’s prequel, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm: The Shattering (our review), is currently available in paperback for $8.99 or the $17.16 hardcover edition.