Video Games Can Have Plots Too! Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden

I have played the massively multiplayer role playing game World of Warcraft (WoW) since I was a teenager (thanks to my mom who got me into it, ha) and decided a few months ago that I’d love to learn more about the lore of all the stories that my character has been a part of. There are a whole lot of WoW based books out there, and I wanted to start with one that was decently written, and so I got advice from WoW bloggers who also liked the lore and was pointed towards this one as one good starting book. And now I know all about the big bad Lich King who I never actually got to go kill (took a WoW break just before my guild got him down….).

Title: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
Author: Christie Golden
Pages: 383 paperback
Genre-ish: Fantasy
Setting: Azeroth, the world that the WoW game takes place in, which is a pretty typical fantasy setting with magic and orcs and dwarves, but it also gets visited by a demon dimension a bit too frequently and has a lot of ornery Old Gods and higher beings always fighting over the mortals, who thankfully have a lot of powerful heroes to defend them :D (and some awesome dragons!).
Premise: Anyone who has played WoW in the last couple of years knows about this group of undead (ie raised skeletons and corpses and icky stuff) that went through and trashed a whole bunch of the world and are controlled by this semi-undead being called the Lich King. This is the story about how a noble paladin named Prince Arthas tried to save his people from a horrible plague and got caught up in his lust for power and turned into the Lich King.

Strengths:

  • Heroic story, even though you know how it’s going to end… :(
  • Even though it’s based on a video game, the characters in this world have a whole lot of depth, and so the tragic story of the Prince Arthas really makes sense when you read it, he really did think he was doing the right thing in the beginning
  • Gives you a nice introduction to a lot of the other lore of the world and background about who other major characters in the world are
  • Stays very true to the lore and magic rules etc of the games which is fun for a player to read about
  • Well written given the sort of caliber I would first expect from a book written based on a video game, goes above expectations, which is nice

Weaknesses:

  • Despite what I wrote above, it isn’t one of the best written books I’ve read, which is understandable, but it took me a while to get through simply because the writing wasn’t that compelling
  • Given that main character is evil, its kind of hard to get that attached to him, I would love a book written from his friend and once lover’s perspective instead
  • The book tries to cover all the major events in Arthas’ life, which leads to it getting a bit jumpy at times because there are a lot of them, so the plot doesn’t feel nicely fluid at all and it can be a bit disorienting
  • I had trouble getting my footing a little bit despite having played the games, so if you haven’t, then the background lore could get a little bit overwhelming

Summary:
Not the easiest book to get through, and I’m going to wait a bit before starting on the next lore book that I got, but I am glad that I decided to start these books. It’s a lot of fun to learn more about the stories in the game that I play, and its made me more excited to get back into the game and stories. I don’t think it would be very much fun for people who don’t play the games, however, simply because it would be hard to keep characters and plots straight without some background knowledge of the events. I mean, I played for six years in these places and experienced these events and I had trouble remembering everything. If you play the game however and have wanted to learn more about the lore, this does seem to be a good place to start (from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read any of the others, ha!).

So any of you play WoW (I’m looking at you Angelya!) and have any of you read any of the WoW books? Are there any other games that have such a rich lore that books are based off them? (No Star Wars doesn’t count since it had the movies before the games!)

-A

Footnotes: I’m trying out a new headline style to be a bit more eye grabbing but still include the title etc, is it too long?

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About Anya

Book blogger at http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/ who loves Sci-fi and Fantasy!
This entry was posted in What A Story - Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Video Games Can Have Plots Too! Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden

  1. Pingback: Game Testing Interview Questions And Answers | Games Testing Ground

  2. Whats up I saw you had a wordpress website and wanted to tell you that your RSS reader is giving a 404 i hope you can get it working

  3. Pingback: WWW Wednesday #7 | About The Story

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