World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 21, 2009 - Fiction - 320 pages
22 Reviews

It was caught in a hovering, jagged chunk of ice, the runes that ran the length of its blade glowing a cool blue. Below it was a dais of some sort, standing on a large gently raised mound that was covered in a dusting of snow. A soft light, coming from somewhere high above where the cavern was open to daylight, shone down on the runeblade. The icy prison hid some details of the sword's shape and form, exaggerated others. It was revealed and concealed at the same time, and all the more tempting, like a new lover imperfectly glimpsed through a gauzy curtain. Arthas knew the blade -- it was the selfsame sword he had seen in his dream when he first arrived. The sword that had not killed Invincible, but that had brought him back healed and healthy. He'd thought it a good omen then, but now he knew it was a true sign. This was what he had come to find. This sword would change everything. Arthas stared raptly at it, his hands almost physically aching to grasp it, his fingers to wrap themselves around the hilt, his arms to feel the weapon swinging smoothly in the blow that would end Mal'Ganis, end the torment he had visited upon the people of Lordaeron, end this lust for revenge. Drawn, he stepped forward.

The uncanny elemental spirit drew its icy sword. "Turn away, before it is too late," it intoned.

* * *

His evil is legend. Lord of the undead Scourge, wielder of the runeblade Frostmourne, and enemy of the free peoples of Azeroth. The Lich King is an entity of incalculable power and unparalleled malice -- his icy soul utterly consumed by his plans to destroy all life on the World of Warcraft.

But it was not always so. Long before his soul was fused with that of the orc shaman Ner'zhul, the Lich King was Arthas Menethil, crown prince of Lordaeron and faithful paladin of the Silver Hand.

When a plague of undeath threatened all that he loved, Arthas was driven to pursue an ill-fated quest for a runeblade powerful enough to save his homeland. Yet the object of his search would exact a heavy price from its new master, beginning a horrifying descent into damnation. Arthas's path would lead him through the arctic northern wastes toward the Frozen Throne, where he would face, at long last, the darkest of destinies.

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Bookworm Speaks!
World of Warcraft: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
Azeroth awaits! The tale of how one of the greatest villains in World of Warcraft came to be.
The Story: The book World of Warcraft fans have been clamoring for—the true story behind one of the Warcraft universe’s most terrifying villains, Arthas the Lich King. Author Christie Golden does for Arthas what she once did for the Orc Lord Thrall in the bestselling Warcraft: Lord of the Clans, in another epic exploration of one of the key characters from the eleven-million subscriber massively multiplayer online role-playing game.
The Good: The good thing about this story is its main character of Arthas Menithil. The author very skillfully manage to make a very compelling character that starts off noble but slowly but descends into madness and villainy.
The author is very skilled in making Arthas’ transformation into the Lich King really the sum of his entire life. Even in the chapters of him as nine year old boy, one can sense the seeds that would haunt his life until he becomes a lord of the undead
It is clear that Arthas is being manipulated by outside forces onto the path of the Scourge, but what is also shown is how it really was Arthas’ choices that led him down the path. Fear…is the undercurrent of Arthas character. Arthas was the Prince of Lordaeron, one of the greatest kingdoms of Mankind in Azeroth. Arthas was heir to a powerful and was afraid of not living up to the expectations heaped onto him by others and himself. He was afraid of loss so he pushed those he cared about away from him and he was afraid of losing his kingdom to the Scourge driving him to do terrible things in order to preserve it. His fall feels real.
Jaina Proudmoore is a favorite character of Bookworm (or at least she was until certain events occured.) In this tome, we are given a glimpse into her past. It was always known that Jaina had a relationship with Arthas prior to his transformation and now we are allowed to see how that relationship unfold in a way that is very compelling. We also see some of Jaina’s past in general which is always helpful in filling out the blank spaces of a character. It isn’t the focus but it does lend context to the narrative.
Finally: Whoever did the cover art did a very good job. It really captures the dread of the Lich King while still maintaining the humanity of Arthas. The artist’s skill is really apparent in the eyes, which just bore into your soul.
The Flaws: A major flaw with the majority of Warcraft books is that they utilize a great deal of the lore in order to set up the story. This, in of itself is not a bad thing and is fact a lot of fun. It is just that for a reader that is new to the Warcraft Universe could really be lost very early in the book. It’s not a deal breaker by any means but it is probably not the best place to start for the novice Warcraft Aficionado.
While one of the book’s strengths is how it builds up the plot, the pacing could have used a little refinement. The story plods along in a few parts, particularly in Arthas’ boyhood, and hurries too much through the last third. Reading through the lore, it is clear that Arthas’ transformation into the Lich King is a pretty involved process, along with the mental strife during the Lich King’s hibernation, but they are hardly granted more than a chapter. Perhaps this was the intention of the author as the focus really lies with Arthas' childhood and early manhood. Still, maybe one more rewrite could have made it better. It feels rushed in the last third. Also, its timeline feels off as well. It is never clear exactly how long Arthas was in Northrend or exactly how long his war with Lordaeron and Quel-thalas took. Most of these battles are only given a single chapter or less. It would stand to reason that the rise of the Scourge, the focus of an entire expansion of the online game, would be a pretty involved process along with the sacking of the Kingdom of Lordaeron.
Some plot-lines are deserted over the

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This book was hands down one of the best books I've read in a while. It kept me turning the page. Golden has a great way of capturing the reader and putting them in this alternate reality. Any players of the game should definitely read it. I would read this book again in a heartbeat. I had tears in my eyes as it ended, not only from the story, but from the fact the book had ended and I had to go back to my real life. What a great book. Everyone should read this. 

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About the author (2009)

New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Christie Golden has written more than forty novels and several short stories in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Among her many projects are over a dozen Star Trek novels and several original fantasy novels. An avid player of World of Warcraft, she has written two manga short stories and several novels in that world. Golden lives in Tennessee. She welcomes visitors to her website:

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