Reading: World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal

I just finished the latest novel in the Warcraft universe, World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal. This one picks up where the last one left off. The orcs once again open the Dark Portal from Draenor to Azeroth, mainly to steal some magical artifacts so that they can escape their dying world, and build a new, more powerful Horde somewhere in the multiverse where there isn’t an Alliance there to stop them. Meanwhile, the Alliance sends some angst-ridden hero types over to Draenor to try and stop them.

World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal
World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal

It’s a pretty good read. The character motivations are interesting, if simplistic. But I think you have to expect that in novels based on properties like WoW (or Star Trek, or Star Wars). The plot moves along pretty briskly, and if you’re into exciting battles, you’re going to enjoy it. I have to say, Christie Golden is my favorite WoW author, so I’m glad she’ll be writing more novels in the universe. Aaron Rosenberg has also done quite good work, and their styles seem to mesh well in this book.

I sort of wish for more character development here. There’s a love story between and elf and a human, and it’s just one of those sort of teen-age angsty sort of stories that doesn’t seem very adult. And also seems to totally ignore the elves seemingly amazingly long life spans. It’s just a bit too pat. But, admittedly, it pretty much reads like the love stories in most action movies. If you’re here for a chick-flick, you’re in the wrong universe.

One other comment I could make on the series is I really could wish for more of the comedic flavor of the game. I really like the Gnomes and Goblins in the game because they tend to lend a bit of comedy to something that could otherwise become dark and serious. I think the novels could benefit from a bit more humor. Everyone is always tied up in the apocalyptic stuff going on. A little lightness would be welcomed. Not that the book is depressing, I just like the occasional heroic wink, or the bickering between characters like R2-D2 and C-3P0 in Star Wars.

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