Massive book recommendations!

I’ve tried to touch on different things here over the years, sticking with things that I love as a proud geek fanboy. 

Just like a ferret, I’m not consistent. I bounce all over the place. Ooh, shiny!

I’ll talk about WoW for a month, and then out of nowhere you get a post about John Ringo books, or World War II heist movies, or Top Chef.

This pays off for me, because invariably you folks offer suggestions for things I’D like that you enjoyed, and boom, my music collection explodes with awesomeness, or I hear about a new old movie I end up loving, or like the other day, I take the plunge and buy Jim* Butcher’s first Dresden book, Storm Front, and really like it.

I have gushed about John Ringo before, and I also wrote a post about some of the older books and series I really, really loved a long time ago.

That’s not really very complete. Not when reading is something I have done all my life, and when writing and fiction are among my greatest passions.

I was emailed by Averna a few days ago, asking if there were any other series I would recommend for someone looking for something to read.

Ahem.

I might have a few series of books I could suggest.

What I’m going to do is list the series that retain a permanent place on my bookshelf, regardless of genre.

Each and every one of the following series is a collection of books that I enjoyed so much that I went out and bought all of them, keep all of them on my shelf no matter how little space I have, and will forever retain no matter how many times I do a purge to clear out the stuff I know I’ll never read again.

In many cases, especially on out of print series, I’ve spent many an hour driving around looking in used bookstores or online or by phone for that scarce copy of Sten #4, or something.

Most of my searching was done before there was such a thing as an internet, when finding that one damn book meant networking with eclectic booksellers across the country for weeks, so all you youngsters that can click a button and find that rare book in three seconds? Yeah, you can kiss my butt.

Again, these are the series that I directly support by “voting with my wallet”, by buying new books when they come out with actual cash, and suggest and keep because I love them, in some way.

Many of them I don’t love in all ways, but there will be something that is amazing.

For example, the World as Myth series by Robert Heinlein, some people are turned off by his writing because of the interpersonal relationship issues within the stories, but for me, the concept and way he explores the heart of the subject, worlds of imagination existing as reality somewhere, is just flat out brilliant.

Since 95% of my reading comes for free from the public library system whenever I want, spending money on books, for me, is one hell of a luxury purchase and I have to really want that series to be sitting on my shelves to make it happen.

The great thing about doing this, is that even if you don’t see anything that might be interesting, you get to mock some of my choices,  agree with some others, or suggest your own. Score!

Science Fiction (general)
Space Cops – Three book series by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood
The ‘World as Myth’ books by Robert A. Heinlein
  Time Enough for Love
  The Number of the Beast
  The Cat Who Walks Through Walls
  To Sail Beyond the Sunset  
The Continuing Time by Daniel Keys Moran

Science Fiction (Military)
Posleen War/Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo
Sten series by Chris Bunch and Allan Cole
Northworld, RCN and Hammer’s Slammers series by David Drake
TimeWar series by Simon Hawke
Legion of the Damned series by William C. Dietz
Honor Harrington and Dahak series by David Weber
Empire of Man series by David Weber and John Ringo
Robotech novels/book series attributed to Jack McKinney

Detective/Mystery
Prey series and Kidd series by John Sandford
Matthew Scudder novels by Lawrence Block
Jack Reacher series by Lee Child
Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly

Fantasy
Anything in the universe by Terry Pratchet
Dragonriders of Pern and especially the Dragonsong series by Anne McCaffrey
The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny
The Vlad Taltos series, and the Khaavren romances by Steven Brust
The Deryni series by Katherine Kurtz
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
The Legion of Videssos series by Harry Turtledove
Doc Sidhe series by Aaron Allston
Lord of the Isles series by David Drake
War God series by David Weber

Honorable fantasy mention;
They’re not a series, but each is freaking brilliant; Talion: Revenant, Eyes of Silver, and Once a Hero by Michael A. Stackpole.
Personally, I don’t enjoy a lot of his other books or series, but I thought Talion in particular was one of the finest works of fantasy fiction I have ever read in my life. Oh, and his Star Wars books also kick ass. A LOT of it. Rogue Squadron? Pretty win.

Military (general)
Rogue Warrior series by Dick Marcinko
Able Team series attributed to Dick Stivers

Adventure
Dirk Pitt books, particularly the earliest ones, by Clive Cussler

Series I once had all of (or almost all of) back in the day, and wish I still did, but I don’t want them quite enough to spend thousands of dollars rebuilding them;
Casca: The Eternal Mercenary series by Barry Sadler
The Destroyer (Remo Williams and Chium) series by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir
Doc Savage by Kenneth Robeson

EDIT
Damn it, I knew I was going to forget to include this one, I was driving around thinking to myself, “Gotta remember that series, don’t forget”, and sure enough, I hit publish? Forgot.
I heartily recommend for pure fun the Bureau 13 books by Nick Pollotta.If you have ever been a GM of any crazy fun role playing game, I dare you to read the first book, Judgment Night, and not kill yourself laughing. I shared these with Manny, and I thought he was gonna kill me. Seriously. At least try the first one. They are amazing.

EDIT 2

The list above came from my head while I was at work… so it’s not only the permanent ones, but also the ones that came readily to mind.

Now that I’m home, I look at my shelves and see that I had let slip from my mind a few other series, and so let’s bring in the sad and forgotten, but still cherished loves;

Suspense:
Jack Higgens’ series of Sean Dillon counterintel novels
Stephen Hunter’s multiple interwoven series of awesome sniper/counter sniper books spanning generations

Fantasy:
Robert Asprin’s Fool’s Company and Myth Adventures series
Raymond Feists’ Riftwar series
The Sword Dancer series by Jennifer Roberson
The Riddle Master series by Patricia A. McKillip
The Gandalara Cycle by Randal Garrett and Viki Ann Heydron
The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly

Science Fiction:
The StarWolves series by Thorarinn Gunnarsson

Funny how an entire series of books and stories can just fade from memory, only to rush in at once when you see them on the shelves.

John Ringo finally brings the payoff

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of the military sci-fi writings of John Ringo.

I like his books. He writes some great fast-paced military sci-fi, with a great sense of humor, AND is rare among similar writers by including geek-culture references everywhere.

Tell me, how many other military sci-fi writers do you know that would have continuous in-jokes from the webcomic Sluggy Freelance? Or write an entire section of a book (not in this series) poking fun at other well known sci-fi writers based at a convention?

I love serious military sci-fi, I really, really do. Some of my favorites are David Drake, David Weber and William C. Dietz.

John Ringo brings his own special touch to the genre, though. It’s good military sci-fi with a, well, he doesn’t take himself very seriously. Love him or hate him, he’s got a sense of humor and it comes through.

What John Ringo hasn’t brung in years is a serious payoff in the Posleen War saga.

I’ve been following his Posleen War saga for a long damn time now. Eleven books to date over ten years, each one a big read with lots of great stuff. The entire thing is more serious in overall tone than most of his other works. It’s nothing less than the absolute invasion and dominance of Earth by alien invaders, and the centuries long struggle for humanity to survive and fight back. Still touches of the Ringo humor, but very gritty.

I read ’em, I love ’em, but it’s been a struggle.

Why a struggle?

Eleven books, and the first ten built up more teasers, glimpses and plot hooks that I thought possible outside of The Wheel of Time. John Ringo created, developed and grew great main characters, then took them in different directions, never to meet again.

Time after time… everything kept spreading out. Just like the real universe, the story kept expanding, leaving all these damn things hanging there, unresolved for the reader.

I love the books, but I’ve been feeling battle fatigue. When the hell was he finally going to wrap some of these things up, PARTICULARLY the personal relationships, and everyone getting focused on hunting down and killing the true evil scheming manipulative bastards in the story?

Seriously. It’s been ten books of everyone killing alligators across the galaxy, but nobody really getting to grips with draining the damn swamp!

They’re great books, but after ten in the series, I was ready for some resolution.

I picked up the latest book, numero eleven, wondering what fresh hell this would bring, and finally… FINALLY it’s all coming together.

Not just one or two things getting resolved, either. I’m halfway through Eye of the Storm, and he’s already nailed down and brought to fruition the plot hooks left dangling from damn near all ten previous books. All of it.

We’re doing nothing but going forward now, and I for one am nothing but happy for it.

I know it’s silly, but after a while of reading any series, much like watching a TV series, no matter how good it is, I want some things to wrap up, I want things to change, I want the entire story to move forward.

I don’t want Star Trek, I want Babylon 5. I want growth, change, and a journey. And, eventually, I’d like to see a destination get reached.

There it is.

Now that there is finally a book that wraps some of the deepest emotional issues up and advances the story in cool new directions, I’m once again delighted with it. I feel like I held in there, and now I’m being rewarded.

Here’s hoping the books continue to deliver, ’cause so far, they’ve really kicked butt. And just knowing that, yes Virginia, there is an eventual payoff, makes the whole thing better.

If you’re looking for a new (old) military sci-fi series to get into, I invite you to check these out.

Posleen War by John Ringo
1. A Hymn Before Battle (main story 1: war)
2. Gust Front (main story 1: war)
3. When the Devil Dances (main story 1: war)
4. Hell’s Faire (main story 1: war)
5. The Hero (side story elsewhere in same universe) (with Michael Z Williamson)
6. Cally’s War (main story 2: black ops)(with Julie Cochrane)
7. Watch on the Rhine (side story set in Europe during main war storyline)(with Tom Kratman)
8. Yellow Eyes (side story set in Panama during main war storyline)(with Tom Kratman)
9. Sister Time  (main story 2: black ops)(with Julie Cochrane)
10. Honor of the Clan (main story 1 and 2 brought together)(with Julie Cochrane)
11. Eye of the Storm (The payoff! Brings together all stories from 1, 2, plus characters from Europe and Panama)

Getting into the Lore… a teeny bit

No, I’m not going to pontificate about lore.

I did want to say that, after reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King (during that whole contest thing for the book release, remember?) it inspired us to go seek out more of the books.

Cassie and I both read and enjoyed the Arthas book. This is kind of amazing, since Cassie, as a rule, does not like fantasy novels. I can’t speak for her, and maybe she’ll let us know what encouraged her to read it, but she did tell me she enjoyed it.

She enjoyed it enough that she tried to find Christie Golden’s other Warcraft novels through our local library system.

It took some cross-library requests to get it, but we got Rise of the Horde through the inter-library transfer system, and bought Lord of the Clans at a local used bookstore, along with (since what the hell, we were there anyway) The Last Guardian and Beyond the Dark Portal.

Edit… the spoiler section talks about a book due this month that, apparently, I am totally wrong about as to what the subject matter is and such. Can’t update it with good info yet, so just follow the link and check out the comments. There is no way for me to track down the truth, and figure out what book is about Varian Wrynn and what the Ashbringer graphic novel is about. Working Bear is working as intended.

Spoiler alert!
The collected graphic novel of the King of Stormwind comics, World of Warcraft: Ashbringer is due out later this month, and I’m hoping to get a look at that, because I’d like to see how they resolved “The King is Missing, Oh Noes!” quest chain from Alliance side into “The King is Back and Cranky!” that we see from doing the Dragonblight quest chain tand storming Undercity with the King, and being pissy with Thrall.
Spoilers over

Anyway… so we got these books, and Cassie read the Rise of the Horde, followed by Lord of the Clans, and then said I should get busy with them, that they’re very good.

I have been reading the Ian Rankin “Inspector Rebus” novels from 1 to whatever based on the recommendation of our friend Daak, so I’ve been distracted (I’m on The Black Book now, with four more in the series lined up on the table at home) but I took time out to read those two Warcraft books, plus The Last Guardian since I lived for so long in Karazhan that I wanted to read about it a bit.

I don’t know what Cassie’s thoughts on them are, but I have to say that I loved both books about the Horde. The Rise of the Horde was, obviously, a little richer in the lore of the Orcs, not surprising considering how many years of development passed between the two books, but Lord of the Clans kicked ass too.

Makes me want to run Escape from Durnhold again for old times’ sake.

I don’t know how many of you out there have read the books that have come out, but if you haven’t… I suggest you give them a try. They really are very good, and they tie into our game play events really nicely.

It does add an extra dimension to the game when you know so much more about the world and the people in it.

Hopefully Cassie will have the time to mention her thoughts about them as someone that only plays the game and doesn’t usually (okay, ever) read fantasy novels.

And let me know if you enjoyed these books too, or if they inspired your creation of a guild or changed how you did quests. I’m curious, because I can see how, if you played on the Horde side, these books could inspire all kinds of fun RP events and activities to flourish!

The BBB Arthas book contest – the winners announced!

The decisions were difficult to make. I want to be very clear about this. We received a lot of great entries, and every single one of them was very well written, and in almost all cases it was easy to tell that a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm, and a lot of your personal thoughts and imagination were caught up into your stories.

In choosing the winners of the contest, we tried to pick the stories that we loved the most that embraced and ran with the concept of bringing your own character into a personal moment with Arthas, as we defined in the original post.

There were a great many stories that were extremely well written and imaginative, that we felt were great… but just did not fulfill that one rule, that it be about you interacting directly with Arthas.

In the end, however, we could not simply disregard every entry because they chose to write about or around arthas rather than face to face. It was also about imagination, after all.

So we chose four winners from the group that wrote a story of their character directly interacting with Arthas, and one winner that wrote an extremely imaginative story weaving their in game activities with the recent patch shenanigans, into a story where the presence of Arthas was there, but there had been no true interaction between them.

So here we go, the list of winners who will be receiving a book. Over the course of the weekend, I will be sharing those stories with you, one story per post. I think their work deserves it.

A huge thank you to everyone that entered. I only wish I could give every one of you a book, because you far surpassed my wildest dreams with your creativity, your ingenuity, and your passion.

In no particular order the winners are –

Malphailuron of Eredar (also known as Warriorpanda) with a story about the desire of preventing the evil that would be the Lich King… tempered with a love and trust in the faithfulness of the Light.

Hannelore with a story that, while short, invested an incredible amount of emotional power, of passion and dread into her brief encounter with the Lich King that made me want to see a lot more of her adventures.

Cowsareus of the Twilight Hammer EU, who wrote a stirring story of a Druid seeking to work in the way of nature, preparing for a future spring right at the start of the most brutal winter.

Kraggette of Anvilmar with a story of intrigue and betrayal on the very eve of war against the Banshee Queen.

And, last but not least, Ærynn Lómëhtar with the entry that, as I said, may not have quite fulfilled the concept of a face to face encounter with Arthas… but was our choice to represent all those that went nuts with great stories that just didn’t follow the rules.

Congratulations to all of you, and to everyone that wrote such stirring stories.

All of the entries will eventually be posted in an archived format later, so that all of them can be enjoyed as they should. Just because these five were the winners in no way means the other stories were bad. Far from it. Some of them were just incredibly wonderful, including the POEtic efforts of Krizzlybear, and the explosive fun of Honorshammer. Those stories certainly should NOT just vanish into the darkness.

But in the meantime, the winning five will be here on the blog this weekend!

Grats!

Contest is closed… thank you for your entries!

As of now, every entry in my inbox has been properly filed, and the contest is closed.

I had a much stronger turnout that expected, and each and every entry was of exceedingly amazing quality. There are a LOT of excellent writers out there amongst you, and to be honest I didn’t expect to only get great entries. I had thought that at least a few of you would have tossed in a lame entry. No such thing occured, they are great one and all.

Which is a big pain in the butt, since they are so well done and imaginative. It’s gonna take me a bit longer than I expected to read through them all, and take notes, and compare with Cassie, and make the final decision.

Sooo….. it’s probably going to be late Friday afternoon/evening before we announce the winners. Sorry about that.

Still…. great job to everyone that submitted an entry. Just amazing. You folks are amazing.

I’ll be back with your update Friday!

Contest rules update

Just to clarify one thing… you are not limited to two paragraphs, and if you go longer you will not be disqualified.

However, this is meant to be your story about one short encounter, five minutes or so, a brief moment in time.

If it takes you 3 pages to get your encounter described the way you think it should be, go with it, it’s your writing. You won’t be excluded.

Give it a shot; creativity, imagination and fun will matter a lot more than how many words or paragraphs you use.

Good luck!

Contest – Win your own copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King!

The contest is a go, I say again, the contest is a go!

We have five hardcover copies of the new World of Warcraft novel, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden, and they are going to go to you, my wonderful readers!

Here is the good news; the contest is open to anyone, anywhere in the world to enter. It will be open to everyone who reads my blog, irrespective of where you live. The one stipulation; you have to actually be able to receive mail. Gotta have what they call an ADDRESS

The nice lady who is providing these books for the contest is working with me on this… she will mail the US copies directly to the winner, and she will send the copies for international winners to me to mail out.

So, five books. Five wonderful, glorious books.

I will now proceed to make you jump through hoops. Because I can.

I, of course, am full of imagination, wit and wisdom. So, when presented with the need to come up with an appropriate contest for these wonderful books, I came up with the most brilliant idea ever.

I asked Cassie to come up with the idea.

And she delivered, boy, did she deliver. You think I’m kidding, but nope, this was all her idea, and it’s certainly better than the crap I was coming up with. 

The Contest!

You are to email me a written interaction between you and Arthas, a little creative writing project describing a five minute encounter. It should take you no more than two paragraphs.

EDIT: You can certainly go over that length… you will not be disqualified in any way. If your idea takes longer, take as long as you need. Just, try and remember… it’s supposed to be one scene.

The Challenge!

Choose any point in the life or transformation of Arthas, from as early as his childhood, to as late as his full transformation into the Lich King, or anywhere in between, where you would like to meet Arthas as your character for just FIVE MINUTES… and describe the encounter, what you would like to ask of him, say to him, or DO to him. 

Be imaginative.

I love the idea. For one thing, it works for both Horde or Alliance of any level… and Cassie hit the nail on the head, what better contest to hold when the prize is an original novel delving deep into the history of Arthas and the lore of the World of Warcraft?

So you are to perform a little creative writing, and knowledge of or at least enthusiasm about the lore or story of Arthas is what it’s all about.

Write up your encounter, and email it to me (with your name and address where you want the book mailed) to tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com no later than the evening of Thursday, April 16th, with the subject header “BBB Arthas Contest“.

Cassie and I will read all of your entries Thursday evening, and choose the winners Friday morning, April 17th.

You hear that? You’ve got until the night of Thursday April 16th to email me your contest entry! So don’t delay!

A break for station identification.

Now, I’d like to take the time to seriously thank Marni and the fine folks at Simon And Schuster Publishing, who are making this contest possible, who are offering these books as prizes for this contest, and in general are being really awesome.

I’d also appreciate it if those of you who are choosing to compete in this contest (and anyone else interested in book news) would do me a favor, and sign up to receive Simon & Schuster book news, videos and more at Simon And Schuster’s Preference Center.

Hold on, put down the damn pitchforks… give me a chance here.

You don’t have to buy anything or anything like that… but, you know how these things work. They want to get the word out about their new book, and are offering advance copies for people like me to review, and copies as prizes for contests.

It’s all about getting the word out.

So, as far as I’m concerned, if you could take a few moments to confirm for them that promotions like this actually reach people who like the books and contests by signing up for email news… well, it helps convince them these kinds of promotions are good ideas.

Hey, they’re the ones nice enough to publish the books I like to read, so you’re damn right I’m going to support a mail opt-in. You can choose to sign up or not, as you prefer.

If it increases the possibility I will someday see an advance copy of a novel about Sylvannas Windrunner, you best be believing I’m going for it.

Thank you for your time, and seriously… good luck in your entry, I can’t wait to read them!

And you know… you KNOW I’ll be posting the winners, so make sure you also include, along with your mailing name, your chosen nom nom de plume.

BBB reviews Arthas: Rise of the Lich King!

arthascoverHello, and welcome to my impressions of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden, due to be released in stores on April 21st.

Let me start by pointing out that there are lots of different types of reviews out there. To use film reviews as an example, you’ve got the coldly analytical (“The film runs 128 minutes, and stars Denzel Washington and Carrot-top in a film featuring the launching of a Presidential election”) all the way down to what you see on Ain’t It Cool News (“Before going to the theatre, I had chili con carne for lunch and beat my little brother with a foam baseball bat to get in the right mood”.)

I’m going to give you some of the background about the review, then share with you some of the facts about the book in question, and then give you some of my personal opinions from reading it. No spoilers, of course. So, a bit from column B, some from column A, and then back to B.

Allow me to repeat that one bit, I think it’s important. No spoilers shall appear in this review. Aside from the fact that, you know… Arthas turns into the Lich King. If I ruined that for you, I deeply apologize.

Now, a bit about how this review came into being.

I received an email completely out of the blue from one of the advance publicists, wondering if I would be interested in reading the book, and perhaps talking about it on the blog. Maybe, if I liked the idea, we could hold a contest on my blog and give away a few nice hardcover copies of the book. What did I think?

Well, I liked the idea in general, but I wanted a few specifics.

First, is the book an approved part of Blizzard’s lore? Well, of course it is. Christie Golden has written quite a few other books in the World of Warcraft official lore, and on top of that she has written quite a large number of Star Wars novels (which I haven’t read), and above all else she wrote one of the greatest D&D novels out there ever, Ravenloft: Vampire of the Mists, a book that still sits on my book shelf to this day, a GREAT freaking book, btw. Vampire elves, ftw. The whole flower thing really touched me deeply at the time. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read the book, dammit!

Second… you do understand I’m going to actually READ the whole book and write my honest impressions about it, right? Okay, just wanted to get that out of the way. I gush out of love for the game and enthusiasm for this hobby, but I ain’t nobody’s dancing chicken.

She still sent me a copy of the book. What a nice lady. Crazy, but nice.

So, I said sure. And lo and behold, there in the mail arrived a beautiful copy of the novel, addressed to The Big Bear Butt. I tell you, it sent shivers down my spine.

Allow me to take this opportunity to encourage this behavior of people sending me stuff. I’d like a little more of that, thank you. If you believe in your product and are willing to accept my honest opinion in a review here, be it about a book, a mouse or keyboard, a computer system, or a Lexus… hey, I’ll be happy to write a review of what I thought about it here. Not a problem!

Okay, so the book itself.

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King is a beautiful hardcover book, take a look at that image of the cover up there, I think that’s pretty nice. It weighs in at 320 pages total. It has a few full color high quality image plates in the front showing Arthas and then the Lich King in all his glory, followed by a few maps of Lordaeron as it was in Arthas’ time, and of Northrend. The next 311 pages are story, followed by an ‘About the Author’ section, and then by something I found extremely useful, a 3 page section on Further Reading, specifying where you can read in greater detail the different stories touched on briefly in the book. 

I want to talk about that a little more.

Often, I’ll start reading a book, and something will be mentioned in passing, some event perhaps, and I’ll get the feeling that I just read one sentence used to mention an event that covered hundreds of pages somewhere else. And I have no idea where to find out what I missed. The novels of Robert Heinlein are like that in spades. The only answer for me there, for course, was to read them all. Eventually, I read the Lensman books because of the Number of the Beast. It got real crazy out there.

In this case, the story of Arthas spans the entire history of the World of Warcraft, and has been told in novels, video games, manga by Tokyopop, comic books that are still going on now, all approved by Blizzard and written by many different authors.

It was really nice to see not just a list of books about World of Warcraft, but a specific list of what parts of the story from Arthas: Rise of the Lich King that I could find covered in greater detail somewhere else.

And it left me wishing someone would do a very detailed novel starring Sylvanas Windrunner, ahem ahem.

Finally, to round up the facts, the story told in Arthas: Rise of the Lich King is that of Arthas himself, from his point of view mostly, from the age of about 9 all the way to the kickoff of the WoW expansion.

It focuses exclusively on Arthas himself, his beginnings, the forming of his character, what events in his environment and his own weakness helped to lead him along the path he eventually followed, and what other, more sinister forces were at work to influence his decisions.

Since it does follow Arthas, there are may times when he walks on scene in the middle of high drama or interacts with other characters in lore that have, themselves, some pretty awesome tales. You see Arthas come on, do his thing, and then move off to make history somewhere else. Since these events can themselves be huge stories waiting to be told, knowing where else to go to read more is pretty handy. I did mention how much I liked that part, right? Just checking.

My thoughts on the book, or, “Hey, wasn’t there supposed to be a review?”

I finished the book earlier today, in two very long sittings.

Normally, I let a book take as long as I feel it needs to for me to wring subtext, deeper meanings and interesting concepts out of.

Believe it or not, the Discworld books by Terry Pratchett are wonderful for this. There are a LOT of wonderful treasures to uncover in each page of his writing. 

For this book, I read through it so fast mostly because I really wanted to have finished it before writing anything about it. So I sat my happy butt down and focused.

The book is excellent. It really is. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

I personally enjoyed it a great deal, because I felt that it brought a great deal of lore to life in a very exciting way, lore that is vital in the game right now, and did a nice job of bringing deeper meaning to events that I am very familiar with from playing all the video games. It’s a lot of fun imagining those scenes, after playing through supporting events in game.

I particularly found the story of Arthas’ early years really inspiring me to want to break out the first two Warcraft games to play all those epic events over again. The Orc versus Human battle of Warcraft really need to be refreshed in my mind. That was fun stuff. 

She does a great job at every step of bringing to life what we remember having lived through in the game, I got lost in it quite a bit.

All told, the book is a great read and I had a blast.

But. And there has to be a but.

No book is perfect.

If there is a flaw in the book, to me it’s not in the writing quality, it’s the subject matter itself.

And it’s strictly my opinion here, so here is where you are welcome to read the book and come back and vociferously disagree with my thoughts on this.

Here we go… Arthas and the Lich King are epic figures in the lore of Warcraft, but in the end, the story of Arthas does not truly feel like a tragic tale of fallen pride and lost innocense, which was always how I felt that it was intended. A man-child, a Prince, that had all the world before him, all the promise, all the hope for the future, a golden age of the kingdom to inherit, who fell from grace and ended up as one of it’s greatest villains.

I just don’t really feel like the lore fulfills on that promise. And that is not, I feel, through any fault of Christie Golden. She did a great job, and shows… what she reveals of Arthas actually rings very true from what we know of his actions.

My disappointment stems from the feeling that the choices that Arthas makes, as revealed in the lore and as faithfully represented here, are those of a spoiled boy that was afraid of owning up to responsibility, and yet was shown as somehow having the strength of character and determination to impress such trainers as Muradin the dwarf and Uther the Lightbringer himself. 

In the end, as great as the book is, it left me feeling that the lore itself let me down just a little, in making me wish that Arthas was a little more worthy of his great power, a little more of the hero that could stand and face down Uther at the gates of Stratholme, truly believing he was in the right, and have Uther back down in confusion. That his fall from grace felt like the actual fall of a great man-child, and less like a gradual insolent slouch in a generally downwards direction.

Seriously though, my fanboy discussions of WoW lore aside, the book is great, so don’t let my yakking get you down.

If I had a favorite part of the book, it would be everything about Uther, all of the stuff about Sylvanus Windrunner, and the dialogue of Kel’Thuzad. That was all very cool. Okay, and Thrall rocked. 

Hmmm, and Jaina training as a Mage, taht was great… okay, I better shut up now.

I know our pal Ratshag is gonna read the book, because it tells us a LOT about just what exactly Jaina Proudmoore loves in a man. Or Elf. Or Orc. It shows a lot! (So Maurice, pay attention!)

I will certainly read it again, there is a ton of great stuff throughout the book that deserves a second read. 

Want to preorder it? Here is one link right here, and here is another

No, I don’t get any monies from those, either.

Oh, and one last thing. I mentioned a possible contest?

Yeah, that might still happen, I’m still working on it. If at all possible, I’d love to give away a book or two to you folks, and as soon as I know what the plan is, I’ll be letting you know in turn.

I hope you liked the review. Or at least got a feel for whether the book is something you’re interested in.

Take care, and have fun!