Lord of the Clans by Christie Golden

Lord of the Clans book cover
Rating 6.6/10
I would recommend any fan of the series - game or book - check Lord of the Clans out.

In the second novelisation for the Warcraft series, bestselling author Christie Golden returns to the world of Azeroth and the raging battle between good and evil. Slave. Gladiator. Shaman. Warchief. The enigmatic Orc known as Thrall has been all of these. Raised from infancy by cruel human masters who sought to mould him into their perfect pawn, Thrall was driven by both the savagery in his heart and the cunning of his upbringing to pursue a destiny he was only beginning to understand - to break his bondage and rediscover the ancient traditions of his people. Now the tumultuous tale of his life's journey - a saga of honour, hatred, and hope - can at last be told...

Licensed properties have a bit of a stigma attached to them which is not always wholly deserved. Maybe as a fan of the franchise in question, my opinion is biased, and needs someone from outside to come in and properly review this book, but as it stands, I’m the one who has read Lord of the Clans, the second Warcraft book, this time written by Christie Golden who has made a name for herself writing Star Trek novels.

Lord of the Clans tells the tale of Thrall’s life up to the point where he acquires the title of Warchief of the Horde. Set after the second Warcraft game, this is actually a novelization of a defunct game that Warcraft makers Blizzard had developed, but failed to release.

I’ve never been a fan of the Horde. I have this problem, when playing video games, that I don’t like playing the “bad guys” and the Horde have always, in my opinion, been the bad guys.

If nothing else, this book has seriously intrigued me into playing some Horde characters and learning more about their side of the story. Thrall is a fascinating character, and he sheds light on the orcs that I didn’t know existed. They aren’t the mindless killing machines I had first thought; diametric opposites of the humans. They’re as intelligent, crafty and skilful, honourable and brave, and big and green too!

The story told here is quick, like many of the licensed property stories. There is no hanging around to understand the underlying emotions which lead a character to do this or that. Thrall is born, captured, raised, escapes, and finds his people in short order.

Which is not to say that the story isn’t good; it is. It isn’t brilliant, but that comes with telling a story quickly and in a small amount of pages. I ploughed through this book, really enjoying aspects of the world that I already knew about and learning about other parts which I didn’t. And in the end, it was fun to read a book that was stereotypical fantasy; orcs fighting humans. All I needed was an elf to walk across the page and I would have been perfectly happy.

You don’t need to have read the first book in the Warcraft series; they appear to be very individual this early on in proceedings. But I would recommend any fan of the series – game or book – check Lord of the Clans out. It makes for a fun, albeit quick, read, and sheds some light into the back-story of one of the more impressive video games out there.

Christie Golden has written for several SF and Fantasy tie-in series. A massively popular author with Star Trek Voyager fans, her Voyager novels include the Dark Matters trilogy, The Murdered Sun, Marooned and the top-selling Seven of Nine. She lives in Colorado.

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