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  1. #1
    Immortal KrazyK923's Avatar
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    Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde Review [Spoilers]

    So now that the book finally came out, I can release my review of it. I've had it for about a month now as a review copy, and I've been itching to let other people see it. There are obvious spoilers in the video, so beware! There isn't much I can actually discuss in a thread other than linking the video:



    Ah, I know what I can discuss in the thread:



    Score: 3/5

    Pros:

    - Mo' Loa, mo' betta
    - Expanded look at Pandaren philosophy
    - Connection to 5.3 (however small)
    - Taran Zhu. Best thing evar.
    - Chen is awesome.

    Cons:

    - Story is irrelevant, forgettable, and has no lasting impact
    - Simply another "power up" book
    - Dramatic Tension sapped
    - Tyrathan sucks
    - Antagonist's plan is nonsensical
    - Story "reveals" fall flat


  2. #2
    Good review. Seems like a minor book, but not a bad Vol'jin bio-book. After listening to your review, It also kinda sucked listening that plots are sorta just like "techniques" you use to somehow hook people in to the book for what ever benifit rather than writing with the best most logical and intricate sense using interesting things and characters that if put together would actually make something that would be worth our attention. Society should really move away from this, it's not good to have a bar thats getting lower and lower just for some quick "faddy" satisfaction, which if you dedicate yourself to, it'd make you more shallow as a person cause you'd have to ignore a whole bunch of logic, not that saying the book is a completely like that but for everyone in general.
    Last edited by Korgesh; 2013-07-03 at 07:06 AM.

  3. #3
    Immortal KrazyK923's Avatar
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    Yeah it isn't bad, its something that people I've been talking to seemingly aren't getting.

    Mechanically the book is fine.

    The story is just...

    Doesn't matter in the slightest.

    Still I can't figure out why people gave it such high scores.

  4. #4
    Brewmaster Kae's Avatar
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    I just finished reading this and... yeah. I really didn't like it. Pretty much agreed in that the writing style and such was more than fine, but the actual story depicted just did nothing for me.

    Usually when one of these big novels gets released we get a lot of nice lore information, some explanations of the thoughts and feelings and justifications of ingame events, and we even get some new plot points that haven't had time to be covered in game. From the title Shadows of the Horde I was expecting it to be largely about the rebellion storyline and maybe give us a lot more info about how Vol'jin had launched the civil war campaign that led to the events in patch 5.3. Maybe there would be the first act where Vol'jin recovers from his injuries and rediscovers his purpose, sure.

    Instead the entire book was Vol'jin's recovery and ended before he even rejoins the Horde. The plot was completely uninteresting and irrelevant to major events and could have been summed up in a chapter or two instead of soooo much dwelling on Vol'jin slowly realising his nature. The actual events that did happen have very little relation to anything we've seen portrayed in-game at all and had no wider ramifications. Not sure why 'The Horde' was even mentioned in the title. We didn't get to see them and the Horde was maybe mentioned like 3 times in Vol'jin's thoughts and that's about it.


    All in all, very disappointed in this one. Felt more like a leader short story from the website than a full release novel. If it had been the former, I would have said it was very good.

  5. #5
    The Insane Trassk's Avatar
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    The impression I'm getting from this is, and well I've ordered the book I don't mind reading reveals on it, is that this book would have worked better as a short story.
    Maybe it was blizzards way of testing the writer to see if he could pull off a full book, or maybe they wanted to give more depth to vol'jin that a short story may not have... yet if from what I hear, its less about character development and understanding and more about context about here and now.

    hardback books should be reserved for having some real meaty moments in the story, like the shattering with the death of cairne and diamondation of magni and thrall leaving as warchief, or tides of war with theramores destruction, jaina going insane, becoming leader of the kiron tor.

    from the sounds of it, shadows of the horde is more a character study of several characters without some major event tied into it. Don't get me wrong sometimes to don't need big massive events in a story to make it flow, sometimes just getting down with the characters is enough, but.. well, I'll reserve judgement until I read it.

    Let me just ask, the writer and his style, regardless of the plot, do you think he was a good writer?
    Last edited by Trassk; 2013-07-05 at 12:10 AM.

  6. #6
    Brewmaster Kae's Avatar
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    I'll give my own opinion while I'm here

    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post

    hardback books should be reserved for having some real meaty moments in the story, like the shattering with the death of cairne and diamondation of magni and thrall leaving as warchief, or tides of war with theramores destruction, jaina going insane, becoming leader of the kiron tor.
    I agree with that statement, and this book just had nothing like that in it. Not even one thing with significance beyond this story, except maybe the Chen romance, but who knows if that'll ever be mentioned again beyond the book or not, and it's hardly earth-shattering when his partner was hardly developed to begin with.

    from the sounds of it, shadows of the horde is more a character study of several characters without some major event tied into it. Don't get me wrong sometimes to don't need big massive events in a story to make it flow, sometimes just getting down with the characters is enough, but.. well, I'll reserve judgement until I read it.
    Pretty much. And it's most definitely a study of the characters as they are here and now. There's very little actual development of them. There's some philosophical rambling and you're told Vol'jin is a better person now (not entirely helpful as we don't know him very well before the story anyhow) but very little actually happens. The most character development comes from the token human character, and like the OP's review said... you basically don't care for him at all, he's a throwaway plot device.

    Let me just ask, the writer and his style, regardless of the plot, do you think he was a good writer?
    If you gave him something better to write about, I actually think the writer himself was pretty decent. I liked his style a lot better than the likes of Knaak. As OP said, mechanically the book was sound. I think if Blizzard gave him a bit more free reign to explore other characters and more interesting events he could make for a good read. But the scope of this book was just so limited and uninteresting it didn't really show. Presumably it was him being kept on a tight leash more than a lack of creativity on his part. Presumably!

  7. #7
    Perhaps blizz overcompensated to complaints that the books are TOO essential to follow the in game lore by making it too detached from in game events.

  8. #8
    Bloodsail Admiral Nillah's Avatar
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    Boo. I was really looking forward to this book, too. Several of them have been good so far and with my love of trolls I was hoping this would be one of them.
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  9. #9
    I prefer that the books remain as supplementary sources of lore rather than providing content that should be in the game. Chromatus is a huge example, a being with huge in-game potential but was ultimately thrown in a book in spite of almost rivaling Deathwing in power.

  10. #10
    I have a feeling this will be the new standard. For many years non-book readers complained about the lore being in the novels and not in-game. So this was a concious decision to make the story have no big impact.

    In the future, I imagine the only big impact novels will be the prequel novel for the expansion like The Shattering or Tides of War as they are tied more to the game.

  11. #11
    Brewmaster Kae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florena View Post
    Perhaps blizz overcompensated to complaints that the books are TOO essential to follow the in game lore by making it too detached from in game events.


    Maybe, yes.

    It's just that... even as a standalone story I didn't really feel like anything much happened. There was really just one major event in the whole story and the rest was pretty much a long drawn-out (but somehow still surprisingly shallow) character study. I also felt it suffered from only ever giving three points of view in the whole book, and all three of them involved in the same event(s). Could have benefited from some sub-plots or finding out what other characters in other parts of the world were doing or... I dunno, something to actually happen

    I'd like to think they could do a novel which is a separate story from ingame events but still actually make it an interesting story.

    All that said, it might have felt more interesting if it had come out right at the same time as 5.1 or something. If we didn't already know who the Thunder King was and everything about how all that story plays out ingame, it might be vaguely more of an event when, for example, Vol'jin discovers the Thunder King has returned. It might have that aspect of "Oh wow, a new villain. Can't wait to meet him in a future patch." Then again, the Thunder King himself wasn't in the book and only got a passing mention... so I'm not sure that'd have worked very well even then.

    Ugh, I'm just awfully disappointed.

  12. #12
    I think, as mentioned above, this should have been a book where Vol'jin rediscovers who he is in the first act and then have the meat of the book be the starting of the Horde Rebellion, perhaps having the last arc or few chapters being a more in depth version of 5.3's events.

  13. #13
    I am Murloc! Wildberry's Avatar
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    It was an alright book, but it was definitely lacking imo. The Chen-Yalia Story might be interesting to see in the future, and it was cool to see Taran-Zhu not act like an asshole 24/7. However, Tyrathan Khort really wasn't really an interesting character in my opinion, However, he is certainly better than any Knaak character. The Overall story felt detached from the game, so much so, that you could change names and it wouldn't be recognizable as warcraft at all. The Expanded Pandaren Culture presented in the book, was not really my thing, I can see how it might interest others, I've just never felt anything special about the Pandaren.

    Honestly, Garrosh should've been brought up more, Tyrathan could have been axed from the cast, The Thunder King could have more of a presence, they could pull back some focus on the shallow-yet-in-depth introspection of Vol'jin, and instead picked up a few smaller stories from around Azeroth that would tie in to the assassination attempt of Vol'jin somehow.
    Last edited by Wildberry; 2013-07-05 at 02:13 AM.

  14. #14
    Stood in the Fire
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    Finished the book and I agree with you 100% on all your points. Not only did I think the book was pointless-but also saw no relevance to the Horde's story besides building on Vol'jin-who they are morphing into the next Warchief. Anyway-agree with you 100%-Hopefully you guys talk about this on BWTL on Friday-cause I can't wait to see what you and the others have to say debate wise. Thanks for being awesome!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Therougetitan View Post
    I have a feeling this will be the new standard. For many years non-book readers complained about the lore being in the novels and not in-game. So this was a concious decision to make the story have no big impact.

    In the future, I imagine the only big impact novels will be the prequel novel for the expansion like The Shattering or Tides of War as they are tied more to the game.
    From what I'm hearing, this is the impression I get as well. It's a shame, too, since I feel they could still tell compelling stories in the books without making the game players feel like they missed something. I think Tides of War might be the best example. It tells some important stuff, but the most important parts are still available in game (although very sloppily). The Shattering is the worst offender. It changed the status quo in almost every way imaginable, and the game simply just flipped those changes overnight.

    This book could have fleshed out Vol'jin's character and the details behind the forming of the rebellion. It wouldn't be a necessary read, but it would give the more dedicated fan details that are otherwise not crucial to understanding and enjoying the overall plot.

  16. #16
    Personally, I feel this is exactly the type of story that should be picked up by the "Book Team." It builds on events we saw in the game, elaborates but does not dominate the lore. If anything, they could have developed more backstory in this novel... as long as it did not take away from the narrative players experience in the game.

  17. #17
    Pit Lord Knadra's Avatar
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    Books shouldn't dominate the lore. The last one I read was Tides of War and MoP lore would have made no sense without it.

  18. #18
    I am Murloc! Airwaves's Avatar
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    60% though and it's rather boring. Called shadow of the horde yet there has been no horde in it what so ever just the shado-pan. Just glad they released this one on kindle. I don't bother with hardcover books anymore.
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  19. #19
    Over 9000! Combatbulter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knadra View Post
    Books shouldn't dominate the lore. The last one I read was Tides of War and MoP lore would have made no sense without it.
    The Game cannot compete with a book, it can be so much more detailed and shows us the inner workings of characters, while the game is just superficial with very limited amount of time and resources avaliable to develop lore.
    He who sees his own doom can better avoid its path. He who sees the doom of others can deliver it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Combatbulter View Post
    The Game cannot compete with a book, it can be so much more detailed and shows us the inner workings of characters, while the game is just superficial with very limited amount of time and resources avaliable to develop lore.
    exactly
    Novels and games have different focus. Namely a novels main purpose is story, a games main purpose is gameplay.

    Look at a comparison between the Tides of War novel and the Theramore's Fall scenario, 2 different experiences of the same event from 2 different medias.
    We have faced trials and danger, threats to our world and our way of life. And yet, we persevere. We are the Horde. We will not let anything break our spirits!"

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