40 SHARES Share on Facebook Tweet Follow us Save Share Share Share Share Share Share Share Share Custom Custom Custom Custom Custom My Shadows Rising review is finally here. There were a few bumps in
My Shadows Rising review is finally here. There were a few bumps in the road. Initially, I’d planned to have my review posted the week before Shadows Rising was released. Technical difficulties and postal delivery delays contributed to me not receiving the novel until August. Additionally, I’ve been dealing with personal health issues. Also, I promised to write a Shadows Rising review and I wanted to keep my word. It’s better late than never, right?
Shadows Rising Review (*will contain spoilers*)
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Shadows Rising Review, Book Overview
An all-new official prequel novel to Shadowlands, the next expansion for Blizzard Entertainment’s legendary online game World of Warcraft
“The Horde is nothing!” With those infamous words, Sylvanas Windrunner betrayed and abandoned the Horde she vowed to serve. The Dark Lady and her forces now work in the shadows as both the Horde and Alliance, including her own sister, Alleria, race to uncover her next move. Struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of leadership, King Anduin entrusts the void elf and High Exarch Turalyon to uncover Sylvanas’s whereabouts.
The Horde now stands at a crossroads. The various factions form a council, leaving the mantle of warchief to rest. Thrall, Lor’themar Theron, Baine Bloodhoof, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and many other familiar faces rise to this new challenge. But the threats are numerous, and the distrust runs too deep.
When the council is derailed by a failed assassination attempt on Talanji—the Zandalari queen and a key ally—Thrall and the rest of the Horde leaders are forced into action. They empower the young troll shaman Zekhan, still grieving the loss of Varok Saurfang, with a critical mission to aid Talanji and help uncover the rising threat against her.
Meanwhile, Nathanos Blightcaller and Sira Moonwarden have been tasked by the Dark Lady with a terrifying gambit: to kill the troll loa of death himself, Bwonsamdi.
As Zekhan and Talanji work to save Bwonsamdi, their journey will be a key turning point in bolstering the Horde against the coming darkness and finding themselves along the way. Failure to save their allies and the trickster god will surely doom them—but through success, they may rediscover what makes the Horde strong.
Author Overview (Amazon.com)
About the Author
Madeleine Roux is the New York Times bestselling author of the Asylum series, which has sold in eleven countries around the world. She is also the author of the House of Furies series, Salvaged, Traveler: The Shining Blade and the Allison Hewitt Is Trapped series, and she has contributed to anthologies such as Resist, Scary Out There, and Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View.
Shadows Rising, Book Overview Continued
A Quick Summary
Shadows Rising by Madeleine Roux is the prequel novel to the Shadowlands expansion. The book takes place right after the events of Battle for Azeroth and leads right into the moment where Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner destroyed the Helm of Domination.
During the story, the focus shifts from hero to hero. Each chapter is divided into zones from Azeroth. The main conflict involves a group of assassins called Widow’s Bite as they attempt to kill Queen Talanji and take over the Zandalari empire.
Ultimately, the Widows Bite’s goal is to destroy Bwonsamdi, the loa of death. Queen Talanji was in Orgrimmar when an assassin slipped poison in her drink. Zekhan (Zappy Boi) knocked the drink out of her hand saving her life.
Throughout the story, we follow both the Horde and the Alliance as they try to find Sylvanas. But, Sylvanas loyalists, Nathanos Blightcaller and Sira Moonwarden are working with Widows Bite to kill Bwonsamdi.
The loa of death has been stopping trolls who die from ending up in the Maw. But, clearly, the loa is a threat to whatever Sylvanas has planned, and their goal is to destroy him at all costs.
Shadows Rising gives us an exclusive glimpse into the hero’s lives. We see King Anduin as he struggles with the weight of his crown and the guilt of Teldrassil. Then there’s Thrall, a tired but strong Orc, who’s left his family behind in order to preserve and protect the Horde he created.
We’re also allowed to see more of Queen Talanji’s grief from losing her father, and how the pressures of being a new queen are taking its toll.
Shadows Rising Review
Examining Character Development And Plot
A story as epic as Warcraft is going to be difficult to tell in a 300-page novel. But, Roux rises to the challenge expertly. We begin our journey with a prologue.
King Anduin Wrynn is horseback riding with Master Mathias Shaw in Westfall. During this important prologue, we’re reminded of the Armistice the Horde and Alliance have signed.
Anduin is also dealing with his own regrets regarding the Burning of Teldrassil. The young king feels he should’ve done more to help High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind and the Night Elves.
Being the leader of the Alliance is taking a toll on the boy king. Anduin is mostly concerned with finding Sylvanas. He wants to make her suffer for her crimes, and he wants to atone for his own mistakes.
Once the prologue ends, we’re thrust right into a Horde council meeting. The meeting is being experienced through Thrall’s eyes. In a way, it’s almost like another part of the prologue because we’re being introduced to the key conflicts. The new Horde council is finding it difficult to see eye to eye on important issues.
Examining Character Development And Plot Continued
Not everyone on the Horde council agrees with the Armistice. The biggest dissenter is Queen Talanji who’s seeking revenge on Lord Admiral Jaina Proudmoore for invading Zuldazar. Talanji’s father was killed in the ensuing battle, and Talanji was still licking her wounds.
Talanji is as angry with the Horde’s decision to sign an Armistice as Tyrande is with the Alliance. Both women are impressive and strong leaders of their people, and both are feeling the righteous fury of not doing enough to protect their own.
Despite the novel beginning with King Anduin, the story spends more time on Horde matters. As an Alliance player, I will admit the beginning portion of the novel did drag for me. But, once the hunt for Sylvanas kicked into gear on both factions then the story began to increase my interest.
Character-wise, Queen Talanji has the most development. She’s still learning how to put aside her pride. Being a great monarch involves placing the needs of her subjects before her own.
After the assassination attempt on her life, Talanji exits the Horde council and returns to Zuldazar. The Horde sends Zekhan to be their ambassador because he’s the one who saved her life.
Despite the Horde’s repeated attempts at offering aid throughout the novel, Talanji refuses to accept their help. Her kingdom is falling apart due to rumors spread by her enemies, an assassin attempts to take her life in the very room where she lost her father.
Bwonsamdi warns her that his power is weakening due to the efforts of her enemies. She eventually realizes that allying with the Horde is best for her people, and despite her disagreements with the armistice, she agrees to rejoin the council.
An Examination Of Writing And World Building
Roux divides the story by zone. Basically, you could tell the story was shifting to Horde or Alliance based on what zone was on the chapter.
The writing flowed nicely, but there are long sentences. Shadows Rising is easy to read and understand. The tone of the novel is dark but is punctuated by light-hearted moments.
Shadows Rising is written in a descriptive style. A great example of this is when Thrall was thinking of his children playing to illustrate how he misses his home.
Thrall found himself longing for the cool, shaded pools dotting the land on his farm in Nagrand. He could almost hear the laughter of his children splashing in the water…
Shadows Rising, Madeleine Roux
An Examination of Writing and World Building Continued
Also, another example is when Anduin is imagining a coin purse becoming too heavy. The coin purse demonstrated the amount of responsibility heaped on the young king’s shoulders.
Both examples were great visuals that Roux used to emphasize how the characters were feeling at that moment.
Sometimes he (Anduin) felt like a coin satchel, and every worry….was another fat, heavy coin falling into that bag… when the coin spilled, Anduin found himself before the great carved fireplace in his bedroom on the floor, legs tucked up to his chest, catatonic, eyes unable to close, mind unable to clear, the flames just inches before him searing into his vision until tears poured down his cheeks.
Shadows Rising, Madeleine Roux
World-building is okay. The book is clearly written for Warcraft fans. So newcomers to the series may not be as familiar with the zones. Each chapter only gives a brief description of a zone and launches into action. So if you’re not a WoW fan you may not be aware that certain zones are related to certain factions. The same rules applied to character backstories. Obviously, the novel is assuming you understand each character and their history.
Overall: My Thoughts And Opinions
Overall, Shadows Rising is a good book. The beginning was slow, but once the story picked up steam I was hooked.
I’m pleased we got to see Alleria and Turalyon together. Ever since Alleria had begun using the powers of the void I’d wondered what their marriage was like now. Their relationship is dynamic, beautiful but complicated, and it’s a mix of light and darkness amidst a sea of chaos.
Another character I was excited to see more was Zekhan. The troll became a fan favorite during BFA. We’re able to see him still processing his grief over Saurfang’s death. It was also nice to see the Horde place so much faith in the young troll. Saurfang would’ve been proud to see him doing what’s right.
Gaining more insight into Talanji and her feelings were important. She’s not my favorite character, but Shadows Rising gave the reader a chance to identify with her. Most of the book she came off as angry and difficult. Neither of those things was appealing to me, but understandably Talanji was still grieving her father’s death. So her actions always stemmed from pain.
Overall: My Thoughts And Opinions Continued
World of Warcraft also gained it’s first LGBTQ couple. Master Mathias Shaw and Flynn Fairwind are now an item. The two men had easy chemistry. Their bond was made stronger due to their voyage at sea where they shared stories of their past.
Shaw is a hardened assassin with years of experience under his belt, and Fairwind is a former pirate who’s turned away from his swashbuckling days. They’re a unique pairing, but one which World of Warcraft can shine more of a light on in future content.
My favorite moment in the story was when Anduin disguised himself as a peasant and visited the Goldshire Inn. Usually, Anduin is so mature and reserved. So seeing Anduin sneaking out, drinking, hanging with other young men, and flirting with a barmaid was interesting. We hardly see Anduin allowed to act his age, and Shadows Rising displayed that Anduin misses being able to do that too.
He let himself sink into the delirious joy of anonymity. When the barmaid stayed a little and flirted, asking his name, he winked, still swathed in the hood, and said, “Jerek. And what do I call you?”
Shadows Rising, Madeleine Roux
As a standalone novel, the book conveys enough rising tension to keep you entertained. As a bridge between BFA and Shadowlands, the novel does a fantastic job of connecting the two expansions. We’re also able to see how much of a threat the Jailer has become.
The book mentions how the spirit realm doesn’t feel right. Bwonsamdi tells Talanji about how he’s been rescuing trolls before they fall into the Maw.
By the novel’s end, it was clear that our next move is to follow Sylvanas into the Shadowlands and to put a stop to her and the Jailer’s plans.
Shadows Rising kept me glued to my seat. Honestly, if you’re planning to play Shadowlands then you might want to read this book. Important background information on the current conflict is provided. Shadows Rising would also make a great gift for any WoW fan that loves the story.
Share Your Thoughts
I hope you enjoyed this Shadows Rising review. Have you read Shadows Rising? What did you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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Thank you for hanging out at my hearth.
I received this product for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Spyells is a published author and blogger. She’s played World of Warcraft since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Geeking out over Warcraft, Disney, Kingdom Hearts, and Harry Potter is her favorite thing. She enjoys traveling and loves to cook. On most days you can find Spyells in Azeroth exploring it’s many wonders and protecting its ancient lands.
Learn more About Spyells Here.