Saturday, March 2

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1

World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 is a journey through an age of myth and legend, a time long before the Horde and the Alliance came to be. This definitive tome of Warcraft history reveals untold stories about the birth of the cosmos, the rise of ancient empires, and the forces that shaped the world of Azeroth and its people.

This beautiful hardcover features twenty-five full-page paintings by World of Warcraft artist Peter Lee, as well as a cosmology chart, half a dozen maps charting changes through time, and other line art illustrations by Joseph Lacroix, and marks the first in a multipart series exploring the Warcraft universe; from the distant past to the modern era.

Book is available form Amazon here 

Below is my review:

From the moment I received the package I knew they knocked it out of the park with this one.

The book is weighty, but not overly so. The cover is thick with a very nice glossy sheen. The graphic of Medivh is a hi-res image, and I expect it to last the life of the book. Opening the book reveals the quality binding, and the care taken during the manufacturing process. Dark Horse really outdid themselves with this one.

I am a huge Warcraft lore buff, so needless to say, I was excited to dive right into this book. I have just read the first 70 pages, and thumbed through the rest. This book covers the period of time from before the founding of Azeroth up until Medivh reaches adulthood. After having read the first few chapters, I can say the quality of writing is very good. It is written as a chronicle, (surprise, surprise) and gives a good overview of what exactly happened during the formative years of Azeroth. The illustrations are very good, and provide just the right mood to really enhance the reading experience.

I won't spoil anything, but I was really surprised to see that they gave reason to the Titans and their machinations, and more importantly, what drove Sargeras to madness. The book also gives a great explanation as to exactly how each school of magic is derived, and how they interact with each other, which was a great surprise.

After finishing the book, I can safely say I very much enjoyed it. However, I do have some caveats.

Unfortunately, I have been spoiled by the fluff books from Warhammer 40k, which I hold as the gold standard for fleshing a universe out. I can't help but to compare the two. I wish the format had been more like the Warhammer books, it would have made it more enjoyable to read, and would have added more depth to the world. It feels like the writer(s) of Chronicle were either held on a very short leash as to what kind of stories they could tell, or they didn't have the imagination to flesh out more of the world. For example, (minor spoiler) the book says that Azshara spread her dominion over most of Kalimdor, but it mostly ends there. In Warhammer fluff, it would have given dates, locations, and parties involved, followed by a detailed description of the battles that took place, and the results. It might seem like a small thing, but it's those kinds of details I wanted from a book like this.

Keeping to that point, I want to add that on more than one occasion, the book glossed over new lore where it crucially should have been expounded upon, but instead favored already established lore. In my opinion, this really detracts from what I feel the book was designed to do- establish a clear picture as to what Azeroth was like prior to the invasion, where we are first exposed to the world.

On occasion, I felt as though the writing fell flat, as if the writer was given a topic to write about, along with stringent rules to adhere to, and so their creativity was hindered. For example.

The Troll wars were a big part of pre- Dark Portal history, but I felt as though we only got a few pages, where it should have gone on for quite some time. Again, I'm comparing it to the Warhammer fluff, but I really do wish that the writer(s) were given creative license to flesh out the battles and heroes in the way that a Warhammer book is written.

I don't mean to sound so negative, but I just want this trilogy to be the new gold standard for books like this. That said, I originally rated the book 5 stars.

I took one star off for my aforementioned caveats.

Book is available form Amazon here 

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