I really thoroughly enjoyed it. Enough that I’ve already bought another one of Roux’s novels, and thank Krag’Wa somebody had the bright idea to hire a horror novelist. WoW’s a lot of things but it’s never not horrifying. The cartoony graphics make you forget what a gruesome and cruel place Azeroth really is.
I’ve some criticisms but I’ll start with praises.
First off, I was so glad to see the Zandalari plotlines addressed. I actually thought the first chunk of BFA was pretty good storywise. The Zandalari were instantly fascinating to me and I enjoyed their whole story. But only the Blood Troll, G’Hunn thread was neatly tied up. I’ve said before it was odd Talanji’s arc stalled the second it seemed to be ramping up to a crescendo but the book addresses that complaint with her frustration and annoyance with the Horde.
Would’ve been better to see all of this in game. But BFA decided it had to be both a Black Empire expansion and a Shadowlands prequel so, is what it is, and what it is was a good read so /shrug.
Secondly; I loved most of the character presentations. Gazlowe’s shaping up to be the leader Goblins deserve, Zenkan is an everyman with the weight of the world reluctantly on him, Alleria & Turalyon’s Light cop / Void cop routine is fun, Baine actually gets to do something cool by basically one shotting a Dark Warden, Thrall desperately wants to be anywhere else, Anduin seems as frustrated with the Goldenboi ‘Chosen King’ narrative thrust upon him as I do - and his reacting to Jania catching him incognito out for some drinks like a kid getting caught with pot was cute, Shaw and Fairweather are just a great couple, Ji Firepaw reminds us he exists, Bwomsamdi continues to be the most entertaining character in the narrative and Tyrande seems to be channeling the rage of every Nelf storyposter who struggles to write complaints OOCly but you know, that but written with talent.
Thirdly; The story is well done. It can be somewhat predictable at times but tropes are often well worn narrative beats for a reason. I at least had FOR THE HORDE resonating in my brain when Baine, Thrall and Thalyrssa turned up with their squads. It really highlighted how the incredibly disparate nations of the Horde is it’s strength. We got some greenbois, zappy minotaurs, and these overdressed purple aristocrats to bail out your tusked El Dorado dinoriders.
I’ve seen some complaints to the contrary but I actually think in prose battles have to be handled with numbers you can easily keep track of. If it’s thousands upon thousands noting there’s X dead from team Y on the ground doesn’t really inform the reader of anything. Spectacle doesn’t really work in word form.
The other bits of the story I really enjoyed I think I covered in the character bits.
Now what I really didn’t care for was most of the undead portrayal. She had PoV bits and I still can’t remember the Dark Warden’s name. Pairing her with Nathanos, who’s also grim and growly, was just not a good move. Their bits were a chore to read. Thank God for the Zandalari rebels, they at least added some character clash chemistry to the proceedings. Like Shaw and Fairweather were fun as they were two drastically different men but they had chemistry and more differences than similarities.
Whereas with Moody Knife Girl and Moody Bow Boy, honestly you could’ve just wrote They growl in disagreement and plot something bad, next chapter and you wouldn’t have missed anything of value. Bwomsamdi’s interaction with Natty Blight was the only legitimately entertaining one for me.
But now unto my most beloved Forsaken. Well, I really thought Voss hit the nail on the head saying “The Forsaken have been cast aside, spat upon and ignored long enough!” but then the narrative, continues to ignore them. And said Voss has difficulty speaking at the Council, even though she had zero trouble back talking Talanji. Idk I got pumped for Voss and was let down. Calia says Nordrassil is pretty and that the Nelves are mourning so, if the Forsaken need a Captain Obvious anytime soon they know just the woman for the job.
I did really enjoy the one Forsaken Apothecary who was just a normal concerned doctor helping people. There were several Apothecaries like that before and then they all went Dr.Frankenstein. And I like my mad science dudes, Calder Gray could beat up Faranell, Lydon, Helcular and your dad for my money, but madness without a sane balance just becomes kinda dull pretty quick.
But other than that really enjoyed the read. I’ve seen some points to the contrary and, I think they’re wrong. This felt like professional fan fiction which is what WoW stories should feel like.