Review: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects:
Being a big fan of Warcraft books in general and Christie Golden’s in particular, I was very eager to get my hands on her latest, “Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects,” which is a semi-sequel to the recent “The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm.”“Twilight of the Aspects” disappointed me in some ways, but it exceeded my expectations in others. It was oddly inconsistent.
One thing that stays true through the entire novel is that it is extremely fast-paced. This is, for the most part, a good thing, though there are some times when things happen so quickly that your head might spin just a little bit.
Otherwise, the book feels as if it’s split into two parts. The first is definitely the more enjoyable, and features Thrall traveling across Azeroth and through time itself in attempt to aid the dragonflights in stopping a mysterious catastrophe known as the Hour of Twilight.
This part of the book is epic, thrilling, and emotional. If it has any flaw, it’s that it too closely parallels the Elemental Bonds chain that was added to the game in the last patch, but it also includes some major revelations–not just about Thrall, but about the Warcraft universe as a whole–that weren’t in Elemental Bonds, so that still makes it more than worth reading for every lore fan. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a very important installment in the greater Warcraft storyline; questions fans have had for years are finally being answered.
I found the second half of the book to drag a bit, though. I’m not entirely sure why I felt this way–it was still fast-paced and action-packed. Perhaps it’s that I’m starting to agree with the people who think Thrall has become too perfect–by the halfway point of the book, I fully expected him to bring all the Forsaken back to life, turn Tanaris into a garden, put Outland back together, and one-shot Sargeras with a dirty look. I think Christie Golden may also have tried a bit too hard to make things emotional. If I had to read one more description of some profoundly beautiful and moving epiphany…
I also found the villains underwhelming. One is a chromatic dragon, and I always thought the chromatic dragons were a silly concept–and doubly so now that we have the twilight dragonflight, which is supposed to be the more evolved alternative to chromatic dragons, the more refined model. The other is a mysterious figure called the Twilight Father–a confusing position, considering we have a pretty good idea of how the twilight dragons came to be, and he has nothing to do with any of it. There’s a twist at the end about the Father, but if you’re a hardcore WoW fan, it won’t come as much of a surprise.
Although this is more a of an inherent issue of shared universes than any blunder of Christie Golden’s, I found she didn’t quite capture the personalities of certain characters usually written by other authors, particularly Kalecgos and Deathwing. The cold, calculating Deathwing in this book bears little resemblance to the screeching headcase we’ve come to know and love to hate in Richard Knaak’s books and the game itself. As for Kalecgos, I’m not sure why he didn’t feel right to me, but I suspect it has to do with the fact no real mention was given of his grief over the loss of Anveena. I find it hard to believe an immortal being would get over so big a loss in so short a time.
Finally, (vague spoiler ahead–you’ve been warned), this book kills off a very major Warcraft character, and although his ending was rather spectacular, I still found it far too quick and abrupt for someone who has been so important for so long. It’s almost as distressing as the random deaths of Illidan, Magni, and Cairne.
Still, I don’t wish to give the impression “Twilight of the Aspects” was a bad book. It may have had its share of low points, but it also had some amazing highs. I’ve been intentionally vague about its better points because I think people will most enjoy them if they come in fresh.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
You can buy “Twilight of the Aspects,” as well as the rest of the Warcraft novels, on my Amazon Affiliate.