Welcome to the best fantasy universe ever made!
Okay, I might be biased since I grew up playing the video games – starting with Warcraft II and sending far too many hours playing Warcraft III and later World of Warcraft – and I’ve read nearly all the books now, but honestly, Warcraft tops Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire, and yeah… Everything!
Before the Storm is the second-to-last book that’s out in the Warcraft universe, and I’m proud to say that I’ve nearly caught up! (a new one released since I bought Before the Storm, and I haven’t gotten around to it yet). Before the Storm ties in parts of the World of Warcraft expansions Legion – the last one that I ever played – and Battle for Azeroth, which has now been replaced by Shadowlands. That’s the beauty with these books – they fill in the gaps. They are stories in their own right of course, but they also help broaden the picture, expanding on characters and story lines you come across in the game.
That’s the reason I love these books so much – because I love the games, and even though I don’t have much time to play them anymore, it’s still one of the best game franchises ever. The books provide so much of that amazing lore and world building and compliment the games perfectly. It’s nice to get to know the characters better, to get a deeper insight into their wants and beliefs, and maybe meet some characters you wouldn’t otherwise through simply playing the game.
But! – you definitely don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy these books – though it helps. The story stands full and well on its own, and if you’re into fantasy you’re going to like this.
Before the Storm revolves almost entirely around Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken and now Warchief of the Horde, and Anduin Wrynn, the young king of Stormwind and leader of the Alliance. There’s also a side plot involving some goblins, a gnome, and a mysterious substance that appears to have some amazing properties.
My wife read this before me, and warned me that “nothing happens”. I think she found it a bit boring, and I understand where she’s coming from because it is a very diplomatic book. After the war against the Legion and before the calamities of the Battle for Azeroth, the Alliance and Horde are treading very carefully. Which means there’s a lot of talking, conspiring, and resting, before an inevitable clash between the two.
Christie Golden remains my favorite Warcraft author and her book Arthas is still my favorite in the whole series. This one comes close to the top though, and even though it’s low on action, it’s engaging and exciting, and the tension between Sylvanas and Anduin is very well done. My only problem with this book was the goblin side plot that didn’t seem to be resolved, at all, unless I missed something. I was expecting a final chapter that never came, and then the book was just over.
A great Warcraft book – yet again!