Rise of the Horde depicts the events that turned the harmonious and shamanistic orc clans of Draenor into an army of fierce, blood-crazed warriors named as the first incarnation of the Horde.
The story begins with the exile of Velen and his followers from the rest of his race, the Eredar. After his friends Kil’Jaeden and Archimonde decided to accept the favor of the Great Sargeras thus dooming their own kind in servitude to the evil titan in exchange for power, Velen recognized that he had to flee his home planet of Argus in order to evade slavery and his former friends’ wrath. He was helped by a Naaru, a being of pure light named K’ure who aided Velen and his followers to escape their homeworld. Velen and his people began to call themselves Draenei, which in their native tongue means exiles. They ran from planet to planet, evading the fury of their twisted kind and ultimately found relative peace in the world that they would later name as Draenor.
The story then follows an orc youth named Durotan, heir to the Frostwolf clan, son of Garad. It follows him most of the time, as he ages through the rituals of a tradition of his kind. When his father passes, Durotan takes his role as Chieftain of the Clan and the true path for the orc begins, as he starts to notice sudden changes of everything around him, changes that would force him to decide what would be best for his people and changes that in the end would doom their planet, a planet that both Orcs and Draenei revered.
Now that I’ve briefly summarized the book, let’s move forward with the review. SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS PART ON!
Chronicles of War contains four books within it! Rise of the Horde, The Last Guardian, Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal.
Rise of the Horde is a book that sets all the events on Draenor prior to the first war in Azeroth that sets Orcs vs Humans. If I had read this book before watching the movie I’d be even more familiarized with it.
The book shows the reader the traditions of the orc clans in great detail, as well as the abandonment of their shamanistic traditions to embrace more powerful magic, such as the Fel and the summoning of demons. Since the clans were manipulated into believing that the peaceful Draenei were plotting against them, the Orcs conducted several attacks on the peaceful beings and even though the Draenei did not fight back at first and tried to use diplomacy instead everything failed to achieve peace for the two sides, war broke out between the two races in what turned to be one-sided genocide for the Draenei.
The savagery and brutality demonstrated by the Orcs culminated in the near extinction of the Draenei as well as the banishment of their old ways and traditions. The book ends with the Horde pouring through the dark portal and therefore invading Azeroth with the help of Medivh from the other side after Gul’dan attempted to contact Kil’jaeden for guidance but was answered by the Last Guardian instead.
I enjoyed everything in this book except perhaps the lack of action by Velen and the Draenei. They were too passive, to say the least, and too much suffering was indeed passed on. The Orcs’ past as Thrall says, is a dark one but is one which must not be forgotten.
Durotan and Draka form a great couple and Orgrim takes a valuable place as Durotan’s good friend. The contrast of a power-hungry apprentice and a wise but naive master between Gul’dan and Ner’zhul is phenomenal and was quite interesting to see them interact with one another. Kil’jaeden proves to be an incredible manipulator and Velen not so much of a prophet…
While there are plenty of other characters to talk about, they are not so well developed as the ones I mentioned above.
Even though, we get an idea of how Blackhand and his sons Rend and Maim were, although his daughter Griselda doesn’t get a chance to talk. Grommash Hellscream demonstrates why his Clan is called Warsong. And Drek’Thar supposedly a wise shaman and future leader of the Frostwolves leaves a lot to be desired of himself at this point of the storyline.
The book carefully crafts the scenarios of both exploration and combat movement as well as telling the reader what is going on inside the characters minds. It is a pretty grim book, both physically and mentally. Malice does have a place here and even left me conflicted… or should I say, revolted with what was happening as I was reading line after line.
It showed various places of Draenor/Outland. The Temple of Karabor/The Black Temple. Oshu’gun. Telmor. Shatratth. Throne of Kil’jaeden. Hellfire Citadel. Terokkar Forest.
And although the description of these places and its denizens was pretty accurate, I believe they wouldn’t be enough to lighten the readers’ experience compared with the years of lore that I have in my mind by playing the games and reading additional information on the internet.
Not necessarily a bad thing but I’m only pointing that my experience while reading this book was influenced by countless others and not this one alone, thus increasing the quality of my reading.
This a good book to read before you watch the movie or even after you’ve seen it. It was also the first time I read something from Christie Golden although I was expecting a good read since the comments about her works are not like Knaak’s books. Again I’m not rating these reviews because they would simply be biased, so there’s no point in attributing a score. I loved to read this one and now I’ll be looking at the books with Christie’s name on them with a smile of eagerness to read them!
Next one I’ll dive into is the Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb!
See you soon!