I'm just fresh from reading the latest book in the World of Warcraft series, Awakening of Shadows, which was meant to introduce us to the atmosphere and plot of the new expansion, which is Shadowlands. The novel is by Madeleine Roux. 

To be honest, I have mixed feelings. Since the day the book was announced, I have been waiting impatiently for the moment when it would finally fall into my hands. However, while reading it, I wasn't able to get into the groove, as with other books from this universe. 

At the very beginning we meet King Anduin riding his horse through the lands of Westfall, we don't really know what he's doing there. Anyway, after a while he sees columns of smoke rising from a farm nearby. He meets some men arguing there. After a short while we learn that one of them was a member of a peace mission taking place in the Aratorian Highlands - the main plot of the book Silence Before the Storm. He resents the king for not being able to save his beloved. Then Alleria appears to the king's eyes, returning from a Sylvanian hunt... an unsuccessful hunt.

Already in the first chapter the author went for the line of the least resistance, giving us incoherent, uninteresting and in addition very unrealistic beginning of the story.

Anduin is riding without any particular goal in the Western Lands. 
Just at that moment, a fire breaks out in his close vicinity.
At the scene is a man who was one of the few people attending the meeting in the Aratorian Heights, and he holds a grudge against the king for the death of a man close to him.
Literally in a moment, with them all, completely by chance, Alleria appears.

I don't know about you, but I don't buy it at all. Fantasy has its own rules, but we see here a complete lack of logic. In the further part of the book we have a lot, but really a lot of plot threads, such as: 

  • The internal problems of the Horde Council.
  • The thread of Talanja being angry with the Covenant.
  • Zekhan's (Zappy Boy) mission on Zuldazar.
  • Thrall's search for the cause of the Ancestral Souls' unrest and his confrontation with Tyrande.
  • The thread of Alleri and Turalyon searching for Sylvana.
  • The thread of Shaw and Fairwind also searching for her.
  • The thread of the Nazmir conspirators trying to overthrow Queen Talanja. 

Among them, we have a kind of merging of the threads of Bwonsamdi and Talanji, or Nathanos. However, these are not all the threads placed in this book. It is hard to believe that it fit in just 400 pages. The number of so many plot threads is unfortunately not a plus, because it makes them seem underdeveloped, unfinished. For almost half the book, each new chapter was the start of a new thread. There was a lack of action, which is carried out in a thoughtful way from chapter to chapter, and a lack of tension, which doesn't allow us to tear ourselves away from reading. Instead, I kept catching myself counting the pages I had left until the end of the chapter. 

However, the novel has its merits. The biggest is the character of Bwonsamdi, who was portrayed very well, as the atmosphere presented by him in the game was maintained. I really enjoyed the part where Alleria and Turalyon use the powers of the Void and Light to extract information from a certain horcrux. Turalyon's acquiescence and mere participation in such a practice was quite a surprise. 

Unfortunately this was one of the worst stories in Warcraft lore in my opinion. It has no approach to items like Arthas, Malfurion, Illidan, and Ancient Wars. It's definitely worth reading to learn some important facts that will be important in Shadowlands. All in all, this is practically the only reason to reach for it.