Ei there guys! I’ve finally finished reading the last book of the War of the Ancients trilogy and thought to myself, “why not make a review out of it? Legion, the new World of Warcraft expansion, is based throughout most of the locations where the action happens in those books so it makes sense”. Well here it is!
War of the Ancients is a trilogy based on events that occurred around ten thousand years before the first conflict between Orcs and Humans.
It all begins when an anomaly in the very fabric of space and time is discovered and three heroes are sent there to investigate. Krasus/Korialstrasz a red dragon under the disguise of a tall and pale Elf male. Rhonin, a Human mage and the actual leader of the Kirin Tor at the time. And Broxigar Saurfang, an Orc warrior veteran of the First, Second and Third wars.
Through some tribulations, Krasus and Rhonin made their way to the anomaly separately from Brox but they all get swallowed by it in the end. When they wake up, they find themselves in Kalimdor as it once was, ten thousand years before present time, only to find the peak of Night Elven society, where cities were filled with life and an architecture that would last until the present day, from where the three time travelers came from.
Without spoiling too much, the time travelers met with the Night Elven love triangle that you should surely be aware of, if you played Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, the twins Illidan and Malfurion Stormrage, sorcerer and druid respectively, and Tyrande Whisperwind, priestess of Elune. Their destinies led them all to meet in the city of Suramar, home to the Night Elven trio. The city was attacked by an uncommon enemy and the Night Elves banded together to face this ominous foe.
Later it is revealed that the Highborne, Night Elfs who are adepts of magic who live in Zin-Azshari and near the Well of Eternity, had somehow contacted the Lord of the Burning Legion while meddling with the Well, which is a source from where they draw their magic. This Lord was named Sargeras a titan that once created worlds but was now corrupt and destroyed them instead. Sargeras took an interest in the world of Azeroth and he opened up a portal through the Well of Eternity from which he sent his minions to prepare the world for his coming.
With an enemy threatening to devour all life in Kalimdor, the races band together to face the Burning Legion and the traitorous Highborne. It would take much more than them defeat the Legion however, since more sinister forces remained hidden from the conflict.
Now that I have briefly summarized the trilogy, it is time to speak about my experience while reading these three books.
Two things before I start. I hate time-travelling. I think I’ve said before but I’ll explain it again. Time-travelling in a long time story such as Warcraft can put everything so far said and done at risk by not being permanent. Because, you can travel back in time and change it right? I do hate it, especially in Warcraft but more recently in Warlords of Draenor culminating now into Legion, since one of the five dragon Aspects is related to Time itself and in charge of guarding the time lines, Nozdormu of the Bronze Dragonflight. The following image better explains the possible time travelling paradoxes and you can see why I actually hate it. Because there’s no confirmation of which one they use. And on top of it all, it is very confusing to keep track of events…
In the trilogy the only time they time-travel is at its beginning and at its end, so in the short run this doesn’t concern the casual reader much, but in the long run, to a fanatic such as I am, it takes some of the taste away from the real danger and on how somethings can be fixed if the ones in charge want them to be fixed or not.
The other thing that I wanted to say is, I don’t really get all the negativity around the author, Richard A. Knaak. I loved the stories, I loved the writing. It seemed to me that there was or there is some trend on actually hating the work of the man, which to me is unjustified and simply unfair.
Now with that out of the way, I’ll head onto the review itself, from the point of view of a World of Warcraft lore whore such as myself. First off, there’s a lot of characters that make an appearance here that we can recognize inside the game and we get to know them a little better. Jarod Shadowsong and Maiev Shadowsong, siblings who showed their courage against overwhelming odds. The origins of Shandris Feathermoon. Lady Vashj as a handmaiden to the Light of Lights, Queen Azshara. Dath’remar Sunstrider, Kael’thas’ father and former king of Quel’Thalas. Cenarius and the Demigods. Mannoroth the Flayer. Archimonde the Defiler. Xavius. Deathwing, previously named as Neltharion and former Earth Warder. The list could go on I’m sure. These are all characters that I knew a little already but had not seen much from them in the games. It was definitely interesting to find out on they behaved during the War of the Ancients. Jarod and Neltharion especially!
The locations are well described, although to my personal taste some could get some more details. As for the details in the battles and magic, the detail is extreme and utterly satisfying to me. I would shiver almost every time that a lance impaled someone… The action begins small in size in the first book and continues to grow throughout the duration of the trilogy. From simple skirmishes in the woods, to full army against army and even aerial combat! The action did not disappoint me once. There were also moments of tension, I remember Malfurion and Brox delved deep into a cavern full of goblins with a secret mission to complete. The risk was so high it was breath taking! Some known creatures also appear here and there and to someone who has played the game for so long I was fast to recognize them by the descriptions alone.
There are a lot of things that begin to make sense once you process everything you read in these books and with Legion ahead of us, they begin to spark my neurons with theories of what can happen!
TL:DR – The trilogy sets Azeroth as it is today, geographically speaking and it tells the events of the first invasion of the Burning Legion into the world through a small alteration from the time travelling heroes. I enjoyed the books very much and I think that mostly everything was spot on! Now more than before, I confirmed by myself that the comments about Knaak’s works are not worthy of my attention, since the books were actually great to my understanding and they depicted pretty much everything I wanted to read while leaving some destinies left to be discovered, possibly in the near future.