Arthas: Rise of The Lich King by Christie Golden

This is a special one. I’ve been waiting to read and review this for ages, and it’s special in that it’s not one I’ve been asked to review. This is one of my bonus reads.

As long as I can remember I’ve been a fan of the Warcraft series. From Warcraft: Orcs and Human through to Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and World of Warcraft, and every book and eventual movie since.

I’m working my way through reading all the main novels, always reading at least a few of these books. In general, I always read many different things, an eBook on my phone, one on my work phone, one on my tablet, one on my laptop, a physical book, plus (at the moment), an audio book. I don’t know why I’d skipped this book, but I finally got round to finishing it. And it was magnificent.

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Golden has always been my favorite Warcraft novelist. No offense to any of the others, but there’s just something about her writing that I love. At the same time, Arthas is my absolute favorite character in the Warcraft universe. I don’t care if he’s a villain, if he’s evil – he’s just the coolest. So of course I’m incredibly happy that Golden ended up writing this particular book.

For those of you who are not familiar with Warcraft, or Arthas, I’m not going to bore you with lore. I could go on for hours. Google it if you’re curious, but I’ll say this – Arthas’ story is one of the best character arcs there ever was. From young human prince, to adolescent Paladin of the Light to eventual Lich King of the Scourge, his journey is incredible.

The book is in three parts, roughly divided into: (1) Young Arthas and the coming of the Scourge, (2) Arthas as a Death Knight, and (3) Arthas’ final quest for power. It’s a long, rich book, detailing so much more than I thought it would – much of it is exactly the same as I remember it from the games, yet there’s so much more, so many nuances, details making it come alive.

Some of the best parts of this book was when there were lines, actually lines of dialogue, that I recognized from the games. I vividly began to remember The Culling of Stratholme, walking through the wastelands of Northrend, the Battle at Quel’Thalas – it was like being retold my favorite bedtime story from a lifetime ago.

And of course, the book is good. Actually good, not just for people who love Warcraft. If you’re looking for a mightily powerful fantasy series, one that will keep you going for years, one that also has a multitude of games to keep you sated, look no further. Christie Golden has been writing for many fantasy and sci-fi series for a while now, and for good reason. Her writing style is captivating, emotional, funny, and never boring. You’ll keep reading till the crickets come out, and then some.

I’ve already began a new Warcraft novel, and though it’s going to be a while until I’m done with it, I still can’t wait to tell you about it.

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