Skull of Gul'dan lorecorner - War of the Ancients trilogy

Now with the recent patchnotes for 4.3 were released containing information from the End Time, Hour of Twilight, Well of Eternity, and of course the Dragon Soul, I thought I'd get this started. And I'm talking about hc lore. Even when my guild mates tease me with comments like "make sure you don't watch the rp during the quest line, we won't wait", I'm the kind of player that enjoys the story part of World of Warcraft as well.

I've actually read around 80% of all quest description texts, watched most of the cinematics with a tear in my eye when Alexstrasza battles Deathwing in Twilight Highlands, and read on about the important characters and their past from the internet. And then I've of course read a few books. I counted all the World of Warcraft books in our bookshelf and it actually surprised me that there are as many as eight books and one manga there. Most of them have been bought by arx a couple of years ago for travel reading, and in the beginning I wasn't interested in reading them at all. But it changed big time.

We went to Tenerife a few years ago with arx and he had the War of the Ancients trilogy with him there. We ended up reading all the books in there, and enjoying the sun and the beach little less. And I tell you, reading these books causes serious problems like wanting to go and rp with Tyrande. Too bad she wouldn't be that happy with my troll's presence and just kill me on sight, even when I'm a fellow priest.

Myself I've never rp'd in the game, but I love to read the fantasy books that are situated in the Warcraft universe. It makes you see the whole thing on a different scale, and to understand why, when, and where while questing around Azeroth and Outland. So now I'll start a Warcraft universe book review series, that I'll update with the books I've read, my thoughts on them, and how they are related to the actual game. I'll give each book x/5 skulls of Gul'dan. Please keep in mind, that I'm not comparing these books to the masterpieces the world has, but rather to an average fantasy book that can be found from the stores. And it's completely from my perspective. I hope that with these I might be able to get a few more people interested in expanding their knowledge of World of Warcraft and enjoying reading overall!


My copies of the trilogy


I'll start with the book (trilogy) which is the first one on the Azeroth time line. If you want to start reading, or want to know more about Warcraft books, head to wowinsider and this article, it's excellent.


War of the Ancients trilogy - The Well of Eternity

by Richard A. Knaak - Disclaimer: I haven't read any previous Knaak books.


Alexstrasza and Krasus at the top of Wyrmrest temple, Northrend


Without too much spoilers, the trilogy starts with a mage Rhonin and a dragonmage Korialstraz/Krasus traveling to Kalimdor to learn more about an anomality Nozdormu, the Aspect of Time, has warned Krasus about. Trying this, they get sucked inside a wormhole in time with an orc called Brox, and find themselves 10000 years into the past in the night elven realm ruled by the radiant queen Azshara. This is the time when the Burning Legion attacks Azeroth for the first time. In the past, during the beginning of war of the ancients their destinies become entangled with theirs of other famous Warcraft characters, such as Tyrande, Malfurion and Illidan Stormrage, the dragon aspects, the terrible members on the Burning Legion, Queen Azshara's court, and other members of different races.

Sargeras has found out about night elves' usage of Well of Eternity, and with his demon assistants persuades the Queen and his Highborne to open up a portal for his entrance into Azeroth, which would mean the destruction of all life.

I've liked the trilogy the most of all the Warcraft books I've read, and in my eyes they represent the above average caste of fantasy books. When I'd give Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) 5+/5 skulls, and Lord of The Rings 5/5, I'll still give the first book of War of the Ancients 4/5 skulls. Compared to other great fantasy books, it maybe might be 3.5/5, but the wow part adds the last 0.5 to bring it up to 4/5. The plot is complex and believable enough, and keeps the reader excited about how things will turn out, even when she /he knows what the "future" is like in current World of Warcraft. The characters of the book have their own personalities with flaws, desires, and temperament and they keep growing directed by these forces. The book succeeds in demonstrating how the characters are often blind to what their choices cause before it's too late, just like real people. The first book so sets up the game, moving all pieces to their places and sets up the motion for the following two books in an absorbing way.

The first book introduces a great deal of heroes of Azeroth, and gives souls to the pixels. Read more about Malfurion's, Illidan's, Tyrande's, Korialstraz's, Rhonin's and Queen Azshara's past.

The book also explains the night elven society and the pasts of many elven characters in great detail. You can't help but having the need to go check the Darnassus after this.


War of the Ancients trilogy - The Demon Soul

by Richard A. Knaak

The game is set, the pieces are moving and the fight about Azeroth's destiny rages on. The book focuses on the night elves' struggle to defend their land from the Burning legion, and how the desperate times affect the "young" heroes. All of the three: Malfurion, Tyrande, and Illidan, keep doing what they believe is right to fight the Legion and follow their chosen paths of druidism, sisterhood of priestess of Elune, and spellweaving, and to improve. The love triangle between the three also gets deeper, and the choices each make have enormous consequences to the outcome of the battle, and of course the future. The time travelers of the past: Krasus, Brox, and Rhonin, do their best to aid night elves, but the Burning Legion isn't standing idle either. When the two sides clash against each other, Krasus pleads for the help from the dragon aspects, which the dragons answer with Neltharion's plan to create the dragon soul to decide the outcome of the war once and for all.

The second book focuses on the personalities and decisions of the heroes of the trilogy, and keeps on building up the setting for the final book. At certain places the book feels a bit like it's not going anywhere with the constant battles, negotiations, and despair, to the point it feels a bit dull. Everything that happens, happens for a reason though, and some of the actions book two takes, become more important when moving on with the story. The storytelling in the aspect how believable the things that happen are (thing a leads to thing b) isn't quite as interesting as in book one, but Knaak still succeeds in keeping the interest of the reader up almost the whole time. 3/5 skulls of Gul'dan

This book takes a closer look at how Illidan's ambitions grow together with Malfurion and Tyrande. It also explains the history and origins of dragon race in greater detail, as well as takes a look closer look at the different colored flights and their respective aspects.

The book also drills deeper into the night elven society and Queen Azshara's stature. It also gives the reader a look at what the corrupting fel energies start doing to the night elves that welcome and embrace it.


War of the Ancients trilogy - The Sundering

by Richard A. Knaak



The ragged shoreline of Azshara in present World of Warcraft


The battling has moved to the point where both of the sides know that it all needs to be ended now. They make their own plans and set them into motion and hoping they prove be the winners of the grand prize - fate of Azeroth. Sargeras attempts to open up the portal for good, to fill the deepest wish of Azshara and the Highborne: to enter the world. At the same time the night elven host, reinforced with the time travelers and others makes their final stand against the legion, to end it all for good. The last book gathers all the pieces and clashes them together for the final acts of darkness, friendship, bravery, and epic rumble with night elves, demons, dragons, battle prowess, magic, and even more.

The book is at least as capturing and well written as book one. It doesn't let the reader off with the happy turning of events, but includes the deepest desires and hopes of all the characters into the atmosphere and invites the reader to question the choices of the heroes and anti heroes. The epic trilogy gets a worthy ending, 4/5 skulls of Gul'dan.

Want to find out who Peroth'arn and Vero'then really are, and what happens to Neltharion during the struggle? What happens to Queen Azshara, and what are the forces that have turned Neltharion into Deathwing. With 4.3 around the corner, the ending of this book is a must read to everyone who is interested in learning how the story of Deathwing began, and how it will end in the Demon Soul raid.

This book has it all about the current state of the world starting from the races of Azeroth to the very landscape the world has. It sets the heroes on their epic journeys of which the whole Warcraft story echoes about each and every day.

Needless to say I was quite overwhelmed after reading the trilogy for the first time. And now with 4.3 it lets me have that knowledgeable smile about the instances and the raid. And it makes me hold my breath even more for the fate of the pure black dragon egg (the best quest chain in World of Warcraft, Blasted Lands, Cataclysm), and how Deathwing will finally meet his maker.

Got interested? In Finland War of the Ancients trilogy is available at Fantasiapelit, but I checked and you can for sure order the books from




I can recommend other books by Knaak too. Read the Dragonlance ones some years back (ye, they're old) and they're a good read if you like the genre and want some harmless fun to pass time. Nothing fancy, but a good read nonetheless.

The trilogy as a whole is a great read, perhaps alongside Night of the Dragon which gives a lot more story on present times, Twilight Drakes and Sinestra as very worthwhile reads.

Now to finally get a copy of the more recent books...

Nice article Xeno. I read these books a few years ago. They are really enjoyable.

If you played Warcaft 1, 2 and especially 3, you will instantly be able to jump into these books.

They really give a good insight into the lore in WOW. If you enjoy the lore in WOW you should read these books as they underpin almost everything in the game: Why Illidan is called "The Betrayer", the relationship between Malfurion and Tyrande, the signifance of Jarod Shadowsong, the plight of the Demigods, the creation of the Demon Soul, the arrogance of Ashzara and how the Burning Legion came to Kalimdor, the betrayal of Deathwing and the fate of the Black and Blue Dragonflights - and so much more.

The story is massively relevant to WOW and gives you insight into so much stuff you see in game. I would recommend them to anyone who loves the vast and inspiring story in WOW. :)