War Crimes by Christie Golden
Reviewed by Kevin
Christie Golden’s War Crimes brings to conclusion the story arc of Garrosh’s influence over the Azerothian Horde and bridges the gap in lore between Garrosh’s fall from Sha-touched awesomeness to his escape into the non-fel tainted world of Draenor.
The scope of the novel covers the trial of Garrosh for crimes against the races of Azeroth and, more importantly, the struggle of each faction leader as they personally come to grips with the aftermath of Garrosh’s atrocities. The whole trial takes place in the Temple of the White Tiger under the watch of the Four Celestials.
Golden does an excellent job of giving us insight into the hearts and minds of many of the faction leaders that we have grown to love (or love to hate) over the history of Warcraft.
The two main leaders that we gain the most insight from are Baine Bloodhoof—who is almost peer-pressured into taking the role of defense attorney for Garrosh—and Prince Anduin—who is the only person Garrosh will speak to between the trial hearings.
Golden masterfully keeps the trial and external events intertwined in a way that insures the pacing of the book is consistent. This also allows readers time to contemplate their own feelings about evidence presented against or for Garrosh.
The selection of Tyrande as Garrosh’s prosecutor is a perfect counter balance to Baine’s defense. Golden showcases Tyrande as a brilliant, strategic prosecutor who is able to use her personal feelings to build her case against Garrosh and not become victim to those same emotions. Baine is forced into highlighting the flaws in everyone questioned, including himself, and so remains the noble but humble character that many players love.
Two bronze drakes, Kairoz and Chromie, aid Baine and Tyrande through the use of a device called the Vision of Time, casting new light on past events experienced by players in-game. These scenes span the history of Orcs and the Horde, going as far back as the first battles between the Orcs of Draenor and the Draenei.
This novel is Golden at her finest. Her brilliant storytelling represents both Horde and Alliance in a different light and delves into the motivations of the many faction leaders. Players who enjoy deeper character development will particularly rejoice in Golden’s portrayal of Sylvanas and Anduin.
However, the novel is not ideal for those desiring a casual read or who are new to the Warcraft universe, and the only true disappointment is that players know how the story ends before they open the cover. (But this is also inherently true for many tie-in novels.)
In conclusion, fans of Golden and Warcraft novels should not pass up adding this novel to their collection. War Crimes is a great book for lore historians or those gearing up for Warlords of Draenor, as it provides insight and clarity into the events involving the Alliance, Horde, and Garrosh during Mists of Pandaria.