Monday, August 17, 2009

Which Warcraft book should I read FIRST?

This question was posed to me last night and I immediately went scouring through my book pile trying to determine the answer. It is not unlike asking a rabid C.L. Lewis Fan if you should read the Chronicles of Narnia in publishing order or chronological (they have since been re released in chronological order.) The biggest difference is that with Warcraft books you have a wide range of both styles AND authors so it adds an additional element of frustration to it. Since I haven't talked about ANY of the Warcraft books since March I suppose it is time I tackled it.

Now I know some of you have absolutely NO interest in Warcraft Lore. "WHO CARES!?!? Just give me the quest and move on, I don't want to know why I should be motivated by what is going on around me!." That is fine too, I understand the attitude, but for those of us who DO really enjoy it IN GAME things like the Wrath Gate move us profoundly. Speculation about how things like Worgan and Goblins as PLAYABLE races will flow into the game as Blizzard reshapes the old world get us excited even more. And while the return of Onyxia as a Raid boss is something we ALL can enjoy, I think only "lore geeks" really miss the epic quest chains and all they revealed about the politics of our factions.

So what would I recommend? Now I am talking about the TRADITIONAL Novels not the Manga. Of the Manga I have only read a few, I am waiting for them to complete the Legends series before I pick that one up as they have a habit of re issuing them as one book.

Start out with the Warcraft Archive, this actually contains four novels in one book and covers the greatest amount in the shortest time. In here you will discover all about Medivh and Karazhan, Thrall and how he came to power, Rhonin with his unusual relationship with the Red Dragonflight and why it is Tirion Fordring is respected SO highly by both the Horde AND the Alliance giving him the ability to tell them BOTH to stuff it and they listen. (Though once Gorrash comes to power that will change.)

Once you have finished this I would move on to the next Archive book War of the Ancients. With the next expansion dealing with a lot of these characters this will be a MUST read for those who wish to have a better understanding of the lore behind the sundering and the return of many of these old enemies. Queen Azshara and Deathwing are both shaped and formed into their present day incantations in these stories.

Now that you have completed the Archives it is time to go dig up the individual novels.

Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden (one of my FAVORITE authors that Blizzard has used for these books) deals with how the Horde came to be, starting on Danior (Outland) moving on until they are stranded on Azeroth would be my next choice in books to tackle. From there pick up Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenburg, this one covers the Second War until the closing of the Dark portal. You will then want to pick up Beyond the Dark Portal, this covers the reopening of the Dark Portal, the establishment of the Human presence on Danior and the eventual fall of Ner'zhul culminating with the Dark Portal AGAIN being closed.  Cycle of Hatred by Keith R.A. DeCandido moves on to Thrall and Jania attempting to keep peace in present day Theramore and Durator, it explains a lot of the quests that were added there regarding "the OLD days" and the present tensions.

Now that you have waded through all of that would be the time to pick up Night for the Dragon by Richard A. Knaak. This book deals with the creation of the Twilight Dragons (those guys you fight in the Obsydian Scantium.) And also foreshadows the return of Deathwing for the next expansion.

Lastly pick up Arthas by Christie Golden. I talked about this book back in March. Again this covers ALL of Arthas' history from his childhood to present day. Having read the other books makes some of this easier to understand as it assumes some prior knowledge of the Lich King's creation.

Again I didn't touch on any of the Magna just the novels. Since the last of the Legend series is due out in September I will look at doing a review of all of them at that time. Another thing you may notice is I did not list these books in order of Time Line, while that is a VERY good way to read it I instead put these stories by "ease to get as groupings". (I personally am a VERY quick reader...I had both the archive books done in a day.) In addition to this they were not published in Time line order so it can get confusing as some stories ASSUME you know the characters from previous ones. Hope this answers your questions and Happy reading!


  1. Thanks!! And Happy Birthday!! :P

  2. Absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much :-)