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SPOILER ALERT!

The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (World of Warcraft, #8)

The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm (World of Warcraft, #8) - Christie Golden A fun, fast read. Not great literature by any stretch, but probably one of the better Warcraft books.

For those not familiar with it, The Shattering goes into the story which happens between the two most recent expansion packs of the World of Warcraft MMORPG. As a primarily Horde player, it was nice to see some reasoning behind Thrall's decisions, some exploration of Garrosh's point of view, and also to spend some time with Alliance lore characters that I was less familiar with.

The actual 'shattering' for which the novel was named - the destruction caused around Azeroth by the rising of the dragon Deathwing - was virtually a non-event, happening at the end of the book in a tell-don't-show sequence in which the destruction of towns and cities is mentioned briefly. I mostly remember the references to tidal waves for some reason. I don't even think Deathwing was mentioned at all.

This book was mainly centered around the political upheaval and power struggles in Thunder Bluff and Ironforge, as well as the Thrall's training in Nagrand on Draenor, as he seeks to become a better shaman in the hopes of heading off the disaster he can feel coming to Azeroth. Orcs, tauren, humans, and dwarves are the major players. There's a night elf slaughter as a plot point, but the other races of Azeroth mostly make cameos as minor or background characters in scenes.

Anduin Wrynn especially proved to be an interesting character, as well as his friendship with Baine Bloodhoof, the new Tauren chief. I also liked Magni Bronzebeard here. The way Moira Bronzebeard was written annoyed me. There were hints that she could be a sympathetic character, but it wasn't really explored to my satisfaction. Also, I still want to punch Varian Wrynn in the face, but in this novel, Jaina Proudmoore was actually much more likable than I usually find her.

All in all, it's probably one of the better Warcraft books, a fun and interesting look at some of the story behind the game.