Every time World of Warcraft releases another expansion, the players or fan base get treated to another book. The story of Before the Storm will be like a bridge between the old and new expansion.
Books about Games…
Now I have very conflicting feelings about this; I don’t feel like people who don’t enjoy reading books, or who can’t afford the books should feel like they are missing out on the background story for the game if they don’t get this book. It has happened in the past that some players asked other players in the general chat, why certain things happened, because it didn’t make sense to them. Nowhere in the game did it explain why certain things had changed. That very much feels like extortion to me.
Then there is the other side; I love reading and to me it doesn’t matter that I have to spend some money to read an amazing story about the franchise/game I am so into. And I will be honest, this story really didn’t dissapoint me. It’s a bit hit and miss depending on which writer you get for these books, but Christie Golden is certainly one of my favourites.
Here be Spoilers
I am just going to warn you now: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
So what is this book about? Gamepedia sums it up pretty good:
Azeroth is dying.
The Horde and the Alliance defeated the demonic Burning Legion, but a dire catastrophe is unfolding deep below the surface of the world. There is a mortal wound in the heart of Azeroth, struck by the sword of the fallen titan Sargeras in a final act of cruelty.
For Anduin Wrynn, king of Stormwind, and Sylvanas Windrunner, warchief of the Horde and queen of the Forsaken, there is little time to rebuild what remains and even less to mourn what was lost. Azeroth’s devastating wound has revealed a mysterious material known as Azerite. In the right hands, this strange golden substance is capable of incredible feats of creation; in the wrong ones, it could bring forth unthinkable destruction.
As Alliance and Horde forces race to uncover the secrets of Azerite and heal the wounded world, Anduin enacts a desperate plan aimed at forging a lasting peace between the factions. Azerite jeopardizes the balance of power, and so Anduin must gain the trust of Sylvanas. But, as ever, the Dark Lady has her own machinations.
For peace to be possible, generations of bloodshed and hatred must be brought to and end. But there are truths that neither side is willing to accept and ambitions they are loath to relinquish. As Alliance and Horde alike grasp for the Azerite’s power, their simmering conflict threatens to reignite all-out war—a war that would spell doom for Azeroth.
Things I really disliked in this book
Well there sure is some controversy in this book, so lets start with the biggest, glaring thing: Sylvanas.
I am not entirely sure if I like the route Blizzard is taking with Sylvanas. After Vol’jin kicked the bucket at the beginning of Legion (which is a completely separate rant from me), I felt a bit uneasy having Sylvanas being Warchief for the horde. Perhaps because she has always been portrayed as the outcast in the Horde. It never felt like she herself truly wanted to be part of it.
Then her actions in Warcrimes were already showing readers she was a bordering on them writing her as an insane female, by wanting to kill her sister so she could be with her family again in undeath.
And in this book it just took it a step further. She is paranoid, vindictive, not really in it for the Horde but more for the Forsaken, even though now she seems to not even care about her people that much, but more about her own power.
Honestly, I was excited, at the start of Legion, to see what she would do as Warchief. And then Legion happened, and I just got disappointed with her actions as warchief. Sylvanas was nowhere to be spotted in the story, except for her own little side story in Stormheim to capture a Eyir so she could ‘live’ forever.
How can the Warchief of the Horde, just run off to do her own, selfish thing while we are facing the Burning Legion? The fact that her sister are united on Argus, but she just isn’t present feels wrong. Ok, we get a tiny bit of a comic with the Three Sisters from Blizzard, which again shows that Sylvanas is a complicated person, but she also is being portrayed as another strong female, who is being set up to become the next villain we have to battle in the expansion. I see her being the next Arthas.
Now here comes the spoiler bit; Sylvanas kills Calia Menethil. Menethil as in, that’s Arthas’ long lost sister, Menethil. Now that didn’t upset me this much, because I can understand why Sylvansas would see her as a threat. Calia very much seems like a usurper when you look at it from Sylvanas’ point of view. The fact that Calia tried to sway the Forsaken over to the alliance side, or more specific ‘her side’ was just asking to get shot by Sylvanas. However, Sylvanas killing her own people out of vengeance and because she only wants loyal Forsaken, seems the making of a mad tiran to me. She doesn’t care about her people, she wants to be in control of them.
So yes, I hate how Sylvanas is portrayed in this book. We will have to see what the developers at Blizzard will have planned for her in the future. Perhaps she can be redeemed. It seems like that’s what they are trying to do to Jaina Proudmore.
What did I enjoy?
So that’s a pretty big negative in the book, right? Yet I don’t feel like this book is a story I hate and the big plus is Anduin. I have been Alliance for many years and I only fully switched to Horde in Legion. Anduin, however has made me very curious again about the story on the Alliance side. I truly hope we get to see more from him.
I have always liked how he was so different from his father, Varian and that Anduin was always looking for peace. Wanting to unite the Horde and the Alliance. This book actually touches really well on the idea of former citizens of Lordaeron (the forsaken) still having ties to people in Stormwind. I loved that idea. And I loved how Anduin has to tread a minefield to make sure this meeting between Horde and Alliance doesn’t turn into a full out war.
Seeing him lead his council and handling himself like an adult, makes for an interesting future for the Alliance having him as it’s leader. Not to mention he now also looks like a young Brad Pitt in the cinematic that Blizzard released. It all helps I guess.
Is it worth reading? Absolutely! Despite not enjoying Sylvanas as a character, she is really interesting to read about. For me however, I just wanted to know more about the Forsaken and their living relatives in Stormwind. The story is fast paced and I really wanted to read another chapter each time I finished one.
The book has left me with so many questions. I want to find out what will happen with Calia and her being undead now. Are the Forsaken who got rejected by their living family and friends even more vindictive and bitter now? What will Sylvanas’ next step be? Has Anduin changed Genn’s point of view?
So many questions and it has actually really hyped me for the story for the next expansion. Luckily, we don’t have to wait long for the game to come out; Battle for Azeroth goes live on the 14th of August this year.