on June 17, 2010
For those who like brief sum ups, I'll explain this book in one paragraph, then work on a greater more detailed review:
If you find Knaak's depiction of women offensive, if you find his retcons and forced involvement of his own created characters irritating or simply find his constant obsession with teen power fantasy style fanfiction writting this is yet more of said content and should be desperately avoided.
In detail, no spoilers:
This book, Stormrage, is yet another piece from Richard A. Knaak specifically focused on the Kaldorei. The previous triology covered the War of the Ancients, this one is set in the current time period of World of Warcraft just before the arrival of the Catacylsm expansion.
Unfortunately thats nearly impossible to detect without it being spelled out. Both characters who are carried across, Shandris and Tyrande, continue to be depicted as helpless damsels, incompetant leaders and ineffectual women who have no place in politics. Tyrande is several times depicted as being unable of carrying out any decision or showing any of the bold, passionate leadership she presented in Warcraft 3 and its expansion.
Shandris, the chief General of the Sentinel Army is depicted as prefering to do girlie things than lead armies, because apparently in Knaak's mind thats how you show 'depth' in a character. By making a ten thousand year old warrior General want to plan weddings. The depiction of Malfurion comes across as simply a Mary Sue in all respects. The character is not characterised well, he doesn't come across aswell as he did in WC3 or its expansion.
The story of the book suffers very much from the same problems as Day of the Dragon, where a majority of the book is spent knowing what is already meant to happen and Knaak presents himself as incapable of filling in the middle of the book between realising who the badguy is and the ending epic battle.
The usual batch of Knaak's characters play, thankfully, a much smaller part in this book compared to his normal pieces. However he still seems uanble to resist having Tyrande break into a two paragraph long lament about how wonderful Broxigar is. Rhonin of course does arrive in the book, his part to play not only shows him taking part in the biggest, most ridiculous farce Knaak's books have ever depicted (See the spoiler section for information) but yet see him go further and not only perform something that can only be described as lore-rape while, I kid you not, actually shoving Rhonin's twin children Beckham style into the face of the book and screaming about how gosh-darn beautiful they are, (infact, in Knaak's words much, much more beautiful than your average half-elf child.)
A more detailed description of several areas of the the book that have led to many a laugh from wide sections of the community:
-Knaak makes use of hearthstones, not only in character but also to point out, needlessly, that hearthstones are infact made by arcane magic. Which Kaldorei are banned from using, but its okay to use this 'kind' of arcane because its apparently blessed by Elune. This hearthstone is used, probably, because Knaak seems unable to come up with an interesting way for the heroes to travel from Stormwind to Darnassus.
-Knaak has Malfurion and Tyrande wed at the end of the book. Lore has, up until this point, stated that they infact do not get married and simply pick mates out as an entirely private affair. This wedding not only breaks the lore previous, it has them wedded by the Queen of the Dragonflights, of which the entire race of dragons are entirely polygamus and the idea of a dragon marrying a pair when the Queen herself has several consorts barely makes any sense. This is followed by Rhonin appearing and shoving his children into the limelight, to announce how beautiful they are, note, this is Knaak's words, not even Rhonin's. Rhonin then performs a fireworks display, using arcane magic, again something that would and should have freely offended every Kaldorei present.
-Knaak introduces his own, next in line, mary sue to the mix in this book mainly as a plot device. This child, Lucien, is apparently the first human born in the Emerald Dream and is apparently capable of at will shifting between them. Something only Cenarius, a Demi-God, has been capable of in the past. This child frequently appears and teleports the heroes randomly around the Emerald Dream leading to two scenes in the book that are exactly the same. They are 'accidently' teleported to grand foe of the book and then.. run away again, twice.
If you like Knaak's male teen power fantasy, this is the book for you. Its stuffed full of Knaak's usual low standard writting quality, bad characterisation, bad environment description, retcons and lore-rape. If you like that kind of thing, good for you. For those who don't want to see the Kaldorei race beaten into a clone of humans with purple skin and pointy ears, or who dislike seeing female, previously powerful characters, beaten into being nothing more than trophy wives for the supreme men featuring in this book then this isn't for you.
In my recommendation, I'd give it zero stars if I could.