Review: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, Christie Golden

Title: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects (Goodreads)
Author:  Christie Golden

Rating: ★★★½☆

When Azeroth was young, the noble titans appointed the five great dragonflights to safeguard the budding world. Each of the flights’ leaders was imbued with a portion of the titans’ vast cosmic powers. Together, these majestic Dragon Aspects committed themselves to thwarting any force that threatened the safety of Azeroth.

At the Maelstrom, the center of Azeroth’s instability, former Horde warchief Thrall and other accomplished shaman struggle to keep the world from tearing apart in the wake of Deathwing’s attack. Yet a battle also rages within Thrall regarding his new life in the shamanic Earthen Ring, hampering his normally unparalleled abilities.

Unable to focus on his duties, Thrall undertakes a seemingly menial task from an unexpected source: the mysterious green Dragon Aspect, Ysera. This humble endeavor soon becomes a journey spanning the lands of Azeroth and the timeways of history itself, bringing Thrall into contact with ancient dragonflights. 

Details

Series: World of Warcraft #9
Genre: Fantasy
Published: Simon & Schuster, February 2012
Pages: 432

Paper copies: Amazon.com • Amazon.co.uk • Book Depository
E-copies: Barnes & Noble

Not available on Kindle in Australia, but might be in other countries!

Review

This is a World of Warcraft book, so I wrote this review assuming that you have some knowledge of Azeroth and the general timeline of the Cataclysm expansion. If you don’t, this book is probably not for you, but the earlier WoW books may help you to catch up.

After the Shattering of Azeroth by the evil dragon Deathwing, the elements are in turmoil. A group of Earthen Ring Shaman, Thrall among them, are at the Maelstrom trying to calm the raging elements and prevent the fabric of Azeroth from being ripped apart.

Elsewhere, after a horrific attack on the dragons while they are meeting at Wyrmrest Temple, the dragon flights are all but defeated and the Aspects are scattered. Malygos has been slain so the blue dragons are without a leader. Alexstrasza is devastated by the loss of her mate and brood, Ysera the Awakened is still unsure what is reality and what is a dream, and the bronze aspect Nozdormu is missing in the timeways. Ysera requests Thrall’s aid to bring the flights back together and unite them against the Twilight Cult and dragons that are threatening the frozen north and the whole of Azeroth.

The timeline of the events in this book as they relate to the Cataclysm expansion itself is not explained all that well in my opinion, but from what I can tell the events take place after Deathwing’s arrival, but before the Bastion of Twilight has been faced. Some of the events that take place are reminiscent of the Hour of Twilight heroic dungeons introduced to the game at the same time as the final battle against Deathwing, but by the end of this book the “Hour of Twilight” has not yet arrived. It doesn’t seem to quite tie in with events as they are in WoW, especially with the Elemental Bonds quest chain involving Thrall and Aggra that was introduced with the Firelands patch.

Overall, there is a lot of Lore crammed into this short-ish book. Such an epic tale feels slightly rushed and lacks the detail that could have made this story truly amazing. In addition, I don’t really like Christie Golden’s storytelling style. It’s very grandiose, and while that is fine for the discussion of world-changing events, doesn’t make the characters very relatable. She also uses “Too,” at the start of sentences. I have no idea if that’s grammatically correct or not but it looked all kinds of wrong to my (un-trained) eye!

Grammar and continuity quibbles aside, I enjoyed reading about Thrall’s journey around Azeroth in his quest to help the Aspects and, ultimately, to save the world. I loved reading about the characters and places I’ve been visiting in-game for several years. There are also some very emotional events and some exciting battle scenes that really bring the plight of the dragon flights to life.

I’d recommend this one to any Warcraft Lore-nerds who could like to know more about the dragon flights and the events just after Deathwing’s return.

Warnings: Graphic violence and abusive situations.

 

World of Warcraft books

  1. Cycle of Hatred, Keith RA DeCandido
  2. Rise of the Horde, Christie Golden
  3. Tides of Darkness, Aaron Rosenberg
  4. Beyond the Dark Portal, Aaron Rosenberg
  5. Night of the Dragon, Richard A Knaak
  6. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, Christie Golden
  7. Stormrage, Richard A Knaak
  8. The Shattering, Christie Golden
  9. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, Christie Golden
  10. Wolfheart, Richard A Knaak
  11. Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, Christie Golden