“Stormrage” Review

I just finished “Stormrage” by Richard Knaak. I wanted to finish it before taking my Druid through Mount Hyjal and I am so glad I did.

I’ve read a handful of WoW books by Knaak. I especially love The War of the Ancients trilogy. “Stormrage” suffers from the same slow start as the other Knaak books but it gets a lot better the further into it. It has a really great middle part and then the end drags a bit because you really want to know what happens but he keeps throwing stuff at you. The ending took too long to come to an end. There was a good 20-30 pages I would have cut out or at least condensed a little better. All in all, it does a good job at looking at the relationship between Tyrande and Malfurion and gives us a lot of insight into the Emerald Dream.  

!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!

The book opens with a dire vision from Elune to Tyrande that Malfurion is dying. This is confirmed by her and the Druids, especially Arch Druid Fandral Staghelm. Fandral sends for all the power Druids of Azeroth to come heal the world tree and then help out Mal. Tyrande and Broll Bearmantle are skeptical of Fandral’s plan. This starts them on a mission to enter the Dream on their own to save Mal. During this, people across Azeroth are falling asleep and not waking up. These people have horrible nightmares that never end. Every city from Stormwind to Thunderbluff is affected.

I love Knaak’s version of Tyrande. In game she says horrible clichés like “my love sleeps in the Emerald Dream”. It seems like she’s just moping around Darnassus, kicking rocks as she walks with her head down, so forlorn that Mal is away. But, in the books she never lets herself fall into this depression; sure, she misses him but she doesn’t agonize over him. She has a job to do – she’s the leader of the Night Elves and High Priestess of Elune. Knaak does a great job of seeing her daily life as leader of a people and when the time calls for it, she leaps head first into action. She’s no demure Priestess who’s content to stay in her temple; she gets out there with her glaive and kicks some major ass.

Malfurion continues to be a stick in the mud for me. He has to go the Dream “for Azeroth” but it’s never said why he must do this in the first place. Yes, the Dream became corrupted so he had to take action but what was he doing in there before the corruption? I’m pretty sure Ysera can handle her own realm with her own dragons most of the time. Mal will never be the most interesting of the Stormrage twins but that’s no reason to make him completely flat. I’m convinced that Tyrande chose Mal because he was the “not crazy one” as apposed to the much sexier and more interesting Illidan. Tyrande has never said why she chose Mal because I suspect this is true, at least during the time when the War of the Ancients was at its height. In the long run, I would much rather have the peace loving nature dude than the crazy, super hot controlling dude.

The other person we spend a lot of time with is Broll Bearmantle. I love, love, love Broll from the comics where he’s fleshed out pretty well. Here he’s a little flat and still plagued by the specter of his dead daughter. Which makes perfect sense because he has to steal the Idol of Remulos from Frandral before his adventure with Tyrande starts. I will be glad when he can forgive himself for her death and finally move on. He has such great potential. Perhaps we will see him when the new Hyjal area hits, possibly in Patch 4.2, or maybe he might even assist us in the Firelands raid, ala Tirion Fordring.

Which brings me to Frandal Staghelm, former Arch Druid of Darnassus. I remember when I first rolled my Druid I would go up to his tree house in Darnassus to visit him. He stood there with just his kilt and feathery shoulders on, his rippley muscles on display for all of us hot blooded fan girls. I envisioned my Druid going up to him and telling him that one day she would be worthy of him to call her a fellow Druid. He was the pinnacle of Druids in Malfurion’s absence so he was a good example for her to look up to, regardless of his horrible attitude. So imagine my surprise when it’s revealed that he was using Morrowgrain to poison Malfurion. I collected that stuff for you, you bastard! I even farmed it to get my rep up. Oh gods, I just contributed to poisoning and near death of the greatest Druid!

Poor Fandral has fallen on hard times in “Stormrage”. He’s the pawn of the Nightmare Lord and damn near kills Teldrassil, taking all Azeroth with it. The Druids are pretty pissed off at him right now, as am I. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, when I found out the extent of his downfall. I’m not sure if he can be saved from his madness or not, I’m sure we will find out for sure in The Firelands raid.

In closing, I really enjoyed the book despite its flaws. I love Nelf lore so it was right up my alley. I liked to see some of the background of the Hyjal questing area.

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