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Slightly different then other titles...
on 17 September 2013
Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde is from an author who just got into Azeroth, and much like Christie Golden's "Lord of the Clans" and Knaak's "Day of the Dragon" novel has a different tone then the later novels would have.
Stackpole's novel is a different beast all together because it is pretty much like a kung fu movie. Elements such as Meditation, Foreign ways of thinking, Parabels and of course action are all in this title. If you are a fan of those, this will be right up your alley.
The problem for fans who liked the previous novel and its larger cast and world building, it will be dissapointing. Despite it being called Shadows of the Horde, Vol'jin ( and Chen Stormstout by a stretch) is the only Horde character here and it deals with him trying to find out where he belongs in a Horde after its current Warchief would try to have him killed. And the events of this novel are mostly on Pandaria, save for a few flashbacks here and there.
Now for Vol'jin fans this is a good novel because it deals with him in greater depth then in Golden's "Tides of War" novel. His relationship with the Darkspear's Loa Bwonsamdi is very cool ( he worships the god of death, that is Crom level of awesome) and his strategic mind is pretty much like we see him in the game where he is the strange yet very effective General.
This Machivilian attidude persists throughout the novel and most of his interactions with the other cast members.
The other cast members are good enough for what they serve to do, Chen Stormstout being the one that pops out the most for being the odd fish out despite the fact he is the same race as most of the other monks. And of course him finding a lady panda to spend the rest of his life with does raise the stakes for him in the climax of the novel.
This novel deals mostly with Pandaren and Mogu backstories, but there is a decent amount of Troll history here as well so for troll fans this is a must buy title.
In conclussion: If you love Vol'jin and Kung Fu style cinema with a healthy mix of Voodoo elements, this is the novel for you.
For those who prefer the grand scale of epic battles of thousands of humans fighting orcs and with a large cast of several races, this might not be the novel for you.