Paul Hamilton's Reviews > The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm

The Shattering by Christie Golden
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's review
Nov 28, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, novel
Read in November, 2010

A capable, breezy read probably exclusively interesting to those who play or have an existing interest in the game World of Warcraft not because the book reads like a video game but because the sense of place and history implied is probably accessible only to those who have a familiarity with the setting.

Golden weaves a mostly political tale that primarily serves to chronicle the stories behind the changes to the leadership of several factions in the game once the latest expansion is released. The Shattering deals almost exclusively with the Tauren and Orcs on the Horde side and the Dwarves and Humans on the Alliance side which makes sense given that they have the most canonical upheaval come the newest world events. Elves and Gnomes, Undead and Trolls make cameo appearances here but the central figures of the tale are Orc warchief Thrall and Human prince Anduin Wrynn and the narrative bounces casually from one to the other keeping the pace brisk.

Other key players like Garrosh Hellscream, Jaina Proudmoore and Cairne Bloodhoof make notable appearances and the events unfold in a satisfactory manner that delivers its intended payload of fan service capably. It is worth noting that the book is billed as a prelude and in this is carries the limitations of that label: It ends abruptly with no real resolution as, presumably, the bulk of the fallout from the events of the novel will be dealt with in-game once Cataclysm is released.

It's hard to fault a book that does exactly what you would expect it to, but I found it impossible to rate the book much higher than a mild "I liked it" due to the fact that it simply isn't self-contained enough to really be something that, for example, you could give to a non-player and encourage them to get interested in the game. Recommended for fans, everyone else can safely find political stories in fantasy settings elsewhere.

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