Review of Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde

September 10, 2013
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

VoljinVol’jin: Shadows of the Horde (World of Warcraft)By Michael A. Stackpole; Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Publication Date: July 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 42 minutes

Themes: / world of warcraft / trolls /

Publisher summary:

That night, visions mocked Vol’jin. He found himself in the midst of fighters, each of whom he recognized. He’d gathered them for that final assault on Zalazane, to end his madness and free the Echo Isles for the Darkspears. Each of the combatants took on aspects of a jihui cube, faced to be at their maximum power. Not a fireship among them, but this did not surprise Vol’jin.

He was the fireship, but not yet turned to display his maximum power. This was not a fight, though desperate, in which he would destroy himself. Aided by Bwonsamdi, they would slay Zalazane and reclaim the Echo Isles.

Who be you, this troll, who be having memories of a heroic effort? 

This is my first book by Michael A. Stackpole, who is probably best known for his Star Wars books. From the dedication at the beginning, it sounds like he is/was a WoW player at some point. This is book #12 in the World of Warcraft books. As far as I know/could tell it is unrelated to any of the others. I didn’t find myself lost or confused.

As the title would indicate the protagonist of this book is Vol’jin, the Shadow Hunter, leader of the Dark Spears and high general in the Horde.

I would say having quested in Pandaria is almost a pre-requisite. The other main character of this book is Chen Stormstout

I really enjoyed his questline as I leveled this expansion, so it was nice to get more with him. His niece Li-Li also makes an appearance. I haven’t played Horde in awhile, but there looks to be a quest related to this book. Chen finds Vol’jin nearly dead and takes him to the monastery of the Shadow Pan.

The first half of this book is really slow, which is bad considering it’s only about 12 hours long. I was really hoping for more action. There is a lot of self-reflection as Vol’jin tries to heal. The second half of the book has a bit more action and was a slightly faster pace. I did end up listening a little longer than yesterday just to finish it up.

The book made me to want to start playing again, which is probably a large part of the point of these books.  However, I would say if it WASN’T about a world/characters I already really like, that it probably would have gotten an even lower rating.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by Scott Brick. Mr. Brick has a good clear voice. He also does a pretty good Cajun accent for the trolls. My big problem is apart from that everyone sounds the same. The Trolls (both male and female) sounded the same. I couldn’t really tell apart the human character from the Panderan either. It could make some conversations very hard to follow unless it was between Vol’jin and a non-troll. That said, I’d probably listen to something read by Mr. Brick again.

My other gripe with the audiobook was my digital copy had music at the end of EVERY chapter. I’d have been fine with it if it was in-between chapters, but I hate when audiobooks have music while the Narrator is reading the book.

Overall this is just a so-so book, 3 stars.

Review by Rob Zak.

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