Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: War Crimes

world-of-warcraft-war-crimes-coverWorld of Warcraft: War Crimes is a Warlords of Draenor novel tie-in written by New York Times best selling author Christie Golden. The main figure of this story is Garrosh Hellscream. After the events of Siege of Orgrimmar, Garrosh was taken prisoner and transported to Pandaria, where the Horde, and the Alliance expect him to face trial.

The story begins with Garrosh waking up in his cell after a vision of his brown-skinned father. He is kept prisoner in a cellar beneath the Temple of the White Tiger. Now this might not be much of a surprise, because recently there was a hint surrounding something big happening at the Temple of the White Tiger after the Siege of Orgrimmar. If you didn’t read the latest World of Warcraft short story “The Untamed Valley” by Robert Brooks — I recommend doing so; because The Untamed Valley is an epilogue to War Crimes.

All the leaders of the Alliance and the Horde have been summoned by the August Celestials to attend the trial of Garrosh Hellscream. There are others invited as well. Alexstrasza and Ysera have come to the trial; and Prince Anduin took the liberty to invite Wrathion.

Christie Golden pays homage with countless continuity nods to refresh our memory. We see flashbacks from past novels such as Rise of the Horde, The Shattering, Tides of War, and many others. And even in-game events such as Jaina’s negotiation with Lor’Themar Theron in the Isle of Thunder, or events spanning several expansions such as Wrath of the Lich King, the Cataclysm, and Mists of Pandaria. This novel is a ride through memory lane for any decent lore fan who has followed the World of Warcraft mythos closely.

Something interesting happens during the trial. I can’t think of any precedent in any printed media, short stories nor in-game. Sylvanas and Vereesa stand feet away in the same room. At the end of chapter 12 and in chapter 13 — your curiosity will pay off and make this novel worthy of reading.

world-of-warcraft-war-crimes-cover-2The August Celestials don’t play the role of judges in the trial of Garrosh Hellscream as one might think. They serve as jurors. Taran Zhu serves as the judge of this trial. Taran Zhu requested Varian and Vol’jin to choose wisely among some of the leaders of the Horde and Alliance whom to serve as defender and as accuser — according to Pandaren law. Christie Golden chose the attorneys very wisely. It might come as a shock to some fans.

The bronze dragons Kairoz and Chromie would serve as advisors for each side.

Both bronze dragons will use The Vision of Time (the artifact Kairoz created at the Timeless Isle) to display an accurate view of the past as evidence against or in benefit of Garrosh Hellscream.

The trial duly begins in Chapter Four.

There are spies among the audience, as well as a few twists concerning the plan to rescue Garrosh Hellscream. With that said, this only amounts the first 50 pages of War Crimes; and hopefully you have enough of a heads up on what to expect in this novel to wish to read it yourself to find out what happens next, and how it concludes.

War Crimes is the primer, the prologue toward the upcoming world event in Mists of Pandaria, and the Warlords of Draenor expansion. It is a must-read.

Pre-order World of Warcraft: War Crimes while you can. If you don’t wish to wait too long, grab the Kindle version for your PC/Mac or mobile.

Conclusion

More than Garrosh’s trial for his atrocities and crimes, Christie Golden shifts the weight of justice’s balance. Each leader of the Horde or the Alliance comes to the witness seat to be asked questions by the defender and the accuser. However, it feels at times that it is the actions of each leader at various moments in time that are put into question. Each will face their own demons. Their own regrets. Their own guiltiness in what transpired during Garrosh’s reign. This novel isn’t much about Garrosh. It is about each leader, their actions or … their inactions.

Christie Golden knows every corner of Azeroth, its people, its factions, their culture, their food, their festivities. It is all merged and cooked to make a believable, and breathing story full of emotions.

As a reader, I laughed, and as usual, Christie Golden also makes you as a reader reach your sensitive and emotional side. Christie always manages to have a scene in her novels that spontaneously sheds a tear out of my eye. There is a moment in chapter 14, right at the end of that chapter, that floored me. Something I never thought would ever happen in Warcraft. I think this will be a very memorable scene in the heart of lore fans. A sense of a long-lasting closure we sought after, and never happened, and this novel wraps it up for us omniously.

There are many twists in this novel. One moment you might think the plot is heading to a decisive direction, and out of the blue you are smacked in the face, and the true direction changes where you never ever ever thought it would be heading to.

Long known respectable characters have hidden agendas. Even unholy partnerships. There is betrayal in different fronts. Within the Alliance and within the Horde. And beyond those two factions.

As my final word on World of Warcraft: War Crimes — I have read for many months the speculations. I have had my own, too. One of those speculations rang true. Who is behind Garrosh’s escape?

Everyone knows in the heart who it is. However, things are not as they seem, and there are more people involved. And for every speculation, maybe one speculation was not fully the truthful one. There was more than one speculation ringing truth at once. Such is the complexity of War Crimes.


Characters

Garrosh Hellscream wowpedia-icon-18x18
Jaina Proudmoore wowpedia-icon-18x18
Kalecgos wowpedia-icon-18x18
Ranger-General Vereesa Windrunner wowpedia-icon-18x18
King Varian Wrynn wowpedia-icon-18x18
Queen-Regent Moira Thaurissan wowpedia-icon-18x18
Warchief Vol’jin wowpedia-icon-18x18
Go’el (Thrall), leader of the Earthen Ring wowpedia-icon-18x18
Aggra wowpedia-icon-18x18
Durak (Go’el/Aggra’s baby) wowpedia-icon-18x18
High Chieftain Baine Bloodhoof wowpedia-icon-18x18
Lor’Themar Theron wowpedia-icon-18x18
Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix wowpedia-icon-18x18
Aysa Cloudsinger (Alliance pandaren) wowpedia-icon-18x18
Xuen the Celestial (tiger, in the shape of a blue-skinned Human) wowpedia-icon-18x18
Ji Firepaw (Horde pandaren) wowpedia-icon-18x18
Prince Anduin Wrynn
High King Varian Wrynn
High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind
General of the Sentinels Shandris Feathermoon
Prophet Velen
King Genn Greymane
High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque
Muradin Bronzebeard
Falstad Wildhammer
Eitrigg
Varok Saurfang
Sylvanas Windrunner, Dark Lady of the Forsaken
Kador Cloudsong (Horde shaman)
Perith Stormhoof (Tauren Longwalker)
Chi-ji, the Red Crane (in the shape of a blood elf)
Niuzao the Black Ox (in the shape of a Tauren)
Yu’lon the Jade Serpent (in the shape of a pandaren cub)
Lord Taran Zhu, Leader of the Shado-Pan monks
Kairozdormu (aka Kairoz the bronze dragon – Timeless Isle)
Yu Fei (pandaren mage who opens portals for both faction leaders)
Cordressa (Darnassus night elf Sentinel) wowpedia-icon-18x18
Chronormu (aka Chromie)
Alexstrasza the Life-binder
Ysera the Awakened
Wrathion
Zaela, Warlord of the Dragonmaw
Snowsong (Go’el’s wolf)
Kor’jus (Mushroom vendor in Orgrimmar, Cleft of Shadow)
Zazzarik Fryll (goblin transcriber at the Trial of Garrosh)
Shokia (orc sniper from Jade Forest questline)
Adegwa (tauren innkeeper, Hammerfall)
Jia Ji (pandaren courier)
Mi Shao (pandaren cook)
Mu-Lan (Mi Shao’s sister — who prepares Garrosh’s food)
Li Chu (Garrosh’s Shado-Pan jailor, Lo Chu’s twin brother)
Lo Chu (Garrosh’s Shado-Pan jailor, Li Chu’s twin brother)
Nelphi (Dalaran apprentice)
Thalen Songweaver (creator of the Theramore mana bomb)
Harrowmeiser (goblin captured by the Alliance for years since the defeat of the Lich King, forced to use zeppelin to defend Westguard Keep from pirates)
Bluebell (female dwarf, Westguard Keep/Howling Fjord)
Gakkorg (Kor’kron)

Locations

Temple of the White Tiger (Kun-Lai Summit, Pandaria)
One Keg (small village in Kun-Lai Summit).
Grim Batol
The Howlingwind Trail (near One Keg)
Drywhisker Gorge (east of Hammerfall)
Hammerfall (Arathi Highlands)
The Ghostlands
The Dead Scar
Windrunner Spire
Violet Rise (Dalaran)
Temple of the Moon (Darnassus, Teldrassil)
Shadewood Thicket (Isle of Thunder)
Dreadmurk Shore (Isle of Thunder)
Silvermoon City
Royal Exchange
Howling Fjord
Westguard Keep
Brightwater Lake (Tirisfal Glades)
Undercity

 


Mentioned

Rhonin | wowpedia-icon-18x18
Galadin wowpedia-icon-18x18 and Giramar wowpedia-icon-18x18 (Rhonin/Vereesa’s twin sons)
Mor’ghor (fel orc who ruled the Dragonmaw) | wowpedia-icon-18x18
Restalaan (draenei, Captain of the Telmor guards) – wowpedia-icon-18x18 | World of Warcraft: Rise of the Horde
Drek’Thar | wowpedia-icon-18x18
Durotan wowpedia-icon-18x18
Orgrim Doomhammer wowpedia-icon-18x18
Ner’zhul wowpedia-icon-18x18
Gul’dan wowpedia-icon-18x18
Aedelas Blackmoore wowpedia-icon-18x18
Iskar (Warsong orc, Grom’s advisor – wowpedia-icon-18x18 Warcraft: Lord of the Clans)
Master Lao wowpedia-icon-18x18
Black Arrow – Grummle blacksmith wowpedia-icon-18x18
Malkorok wowpedia-icon-18x18
Captain Frandis Farley (Forsaken) – wowpedia-icon-18x18 | World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
Kelantir Bloodblade (Blood Knight) wowpedia-icon-18x18 | World of Warcraft: Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
Grosk wowpedia-icon-18x18
Shokia wowpedia-icon-18x18
Rehgar Earthfury
Ishi (Garrosh’s loyalist at the Mogu’shan Vaults | Divine Bell questline)
Lirath Windrunner (youngest brother of Alleria, Vereesa and Sylvanas)
Sky Admiral Catherine Rogers
Rak’gor Bloodrazor (who slashed Vol’jin’s throat in the scenario)
Taretha Foxton
Stormsong (Grimtotem shaman who alerted Baine Bloodhoof of plans to kill him – World of Warcraft: The Shattering)
Jorn Skyseer
Hamuul Runetotem
Captain Wymor (Theramore)
Pained
Admiral Aubrey
Marcus Jonathan
Kinndy Sparkshine
Overlord Krom’gar (orc who decimated a druid village in Stonetalon Mountains. Garrosh killed him for his atrocities)

 


Pandaren words

Chu’shao = Counselor
fa’shua = Judge

 


SPOILERS

There is a bounty on Zaela and the dragonmaw throughout the Twilight Highlands
Zaela and The Dragonmaw are hidding in Grim Batol.
Shokia and other Garrosh loyalists are hiding at Hammerfall in Arathi Highlands
Prince Anduin is 15-years-old (according to Vereesa) page 131
After a long hiatus, Kalec and Jaina resume discussion about their relationship. Will they finally break up, or will they strenghten those binds? – page 169-170.
Thrall’s inaction during the Cataclysm to force Garrosh to step down as Warchief will bite him when he takes the witness seat at the trial.
Not many Kor’kron exist anymore. Most are in prison.

 

Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003 posting news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Next-Gen MMO, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film.

Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers.

I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com)

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