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World of Warcraft #12

Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde

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Shadows of the Horde follows Vol’jin to the lost continent of Pandaria, where the troll chieftain's loyalties are put to the ultimate test when a member of his own faction moves to assassinate him. . . .

Aided by the renowned brewmaster Chen Stormstout, Vol'jin takes refuge in a remote mountain monastery to recover from his wounds. His time there, however, is far from peaceful, as intense visions of the past assault the Darkspear chieftain, and the ancient Zandalari tribe mounts a series of attacks on Pandaria. In his struggle to make sense of what’s happening, Vol'jin must ultimately decide where his allegiances lay—a choice that could save or doom his people . . . and forever alter the fate of the Horde.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published July 2, 2013

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Michael A. Stackpole

390 books1,471 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 131 reviews
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,562 followers
August 22, 2015
"Shadow hunters have no betters."

His throat cut on the orders of his treacherous warchief, a troll washes up on a riverbank in Pandaria. He is Vol'jin, son of Sen'jin, chieftain of the Darkspear tribe, and he has been pushed the last step towards open rebellion against the leaders of the Horde.

I choose to hide behind the Goodreads rating system while justifying my rating for this book. This was okay. But it was actually a really good book.

The writing is ridiculously good for a Warcraft book. But then again Michael A. Stackpole is not just anyone. While Christie Golden still holds the position as my favourite storyteller in this universe, Stackpole is most definitely a better writer.

I really warmed to Vol'jin while reading this. He went from a relatively obscure leader of a race I did not care much for, to becoming one of the most interesting characters around. And that changes my perception of many things, as most people familiar with this universe know which position Vol'jin holds in its current state.

The problem with the book is that nothing happens and that the secondary characters are rather boring, among other things. But like I said, it's a good book. I would recommend it to those who like Vol'jin, and to those who, like me, simply want to know more about him.

Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews34 followers
December 18, 2019
Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde (World of Warcraft #12), Michael A. Stackpole
Shadows of the Horde follows Vol’jin to the lost continent of Pandaria, where the troll chieftain's loyalties are put to the ultimate test when a member of his own faction moves to assassinate him. ...
Vol'jin son of Sen'jin, takes refuge in a remote mountain monastery to recover from his wounds. His time there, however, is far from peaceful, as intense visions of the past assault the Darkspear chieftain, and the ancient Zandalari tribe mounts a series of attacks on Pandaria. In his struggle to make sense of what’s happening, Vol'jin must ultimately decide where his allegiances lay—a choice that could save or doom his people . . . and forever alter the fate of the Horde.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هجدهم ماه دسامبر سال 2018 میلادی
عنوان: وولجین: سایه‌ های هورد وارکرفت 12، نویسنده: مایکل‌ آستین استکپل‏‫؛ مترجم: افشین اردشیری؛ ویراستار آهو مدیحی؛ تهران: ویدا، چاپ دوم 1396؛ در 416 ص؛ شابک: 9786002911711؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سد�� 21 م

وولجین، یک «ترول» و شکارچی سایه است، یکی از بزرگترین فرماندهان «هورد»، و رهبر قبیله ی «دارک‌سپیر»، شخصیت مخوفی، که نام و اعمالش، وحشت به جان دشمنانش می‌اندازد. قلمرو شکارچی سایه، فراتر از جهان است، و او رابط «لوا - خداوندگار مرگ» است؛ او حافظ سنت‌ها و خلاصه ی تمام خصایصی است، که یک «ترول» باید باشد. «وولجین» شخصیتی شجاع، مغرور و راست کردار است، که «هورد» را خانه، و خانواده ی خود، می‌داند، اما در این خانواده، هستند بزرگان بدکرداری، که به او خیانت می‌کنند، و او را، به آستانه ی تالار «لُوا»یی می‌فرستند، که خودش قهرمان اوست، اما او باز می‌گردد، و لرزه بر اندام دشمنان می‌اندازد. در این کتاب پرده ی مه اسرارآمیز «پانداریا»، کنار رفته، و اسرار آن آشکار میشود. تمدن‌های باستانی و شوم، در پی بازسازی خود، و انتقام هستند، و دنیای آرام «پانداریا»، در حال از دست دادن صلحی ست، که هزار سال در آن پایدار بوده است...؛ نقل از نمونه متن: «با وجودی که میان دره‌ ای طلایی رنگ حرکت می‌کردند، که مدت‌ها بود پای هیچ بیگانه‌ ای بدان نرسیده بود، وولجین احساس وحشت نمی‌کرد. او می‌دانست که باید تمام جوانب احتیاط را رعایت کند، تا حضورشان مخفی بماند. با این حال آن احساس عبور سرما از ستون فقرات را - که هنگام بروز خطر حس می‌کرد - در خود نداشت، و خز پشت گردنش راست نشده بود. درست مانند این بود که نقاب راشکایی به صورت زده که او را از وحشت مصون نگه می‌دارد.»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Fariba.
64 reviews14 followers
May 14, 2023
مثل بقیه کتاب‌های مجموعه وارکرفت هیجان‌انگیز و جذاب بود. فقط یخورده فاز فلسفی داشت این جلد. طوری که ۱۰۰ صفحه اول رو به زور خوندم. غیر این موضوع، عالی بود.
Profile Image for Sayomara Vesper.
27 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2013
While reading this book, I was taken back to the classic science fiction series Babylon 5, which asks two very basic questions, "Who are you?" and "What do you want?" While Shadows of the Horde asks these questions in different ways, the basic idea is there. The book also has the feel of a Kung Fu movie right after the hero has been beaten by the villain for the first time. The hero goes to a monastery to heal and become stronger before he can strike at the villain again. In many ways this is what Shadows of the Horde is. Following the assassination attempt by Garrosh Hellscream, leader of the Horde, Chen Stormstout having found Vol'Jin on a river bank takes him to the Shadow-Pan monastery to heal. It's here that Vol'Jin must decide who he is going to be.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, it has a good balance of panderan mysticism with the troll lore. I would say the loa interactions can be a bit confusing and tend to get simpler as the story goes on. Vol'Jin is not perfect, he has character flaws and never reaches that powerful level where it feels that author is holding him back just until the story needs to be wrapped up. I would say this is a power level that Warcraft stories work best at. Vol'Jin is basically a near best is the Azeroth with a bow or glaive but he can still get hurt and he can still die.

The strength of the book is we never get to far from that core idea of who Vol'Jin is, and how will he be defining himself. While there is action in this book it always services that goal defining Vol'Jin and moving him to the point where he is ready to lead a rebellion against Garrosh. I would also say the supporting characters are also good in this. Chen Stormstout, Taran Zhu, Yalia Sagewhisper, and Tyrathan Khort all help to channel the book forward both in helping Vol'Jin and being good characters in their own right.

The weakness of the book is there really is no drama to it. All of the main players other than Tyrathan Khort can been seen in content that came out after patch 5.1 which had the Dagger in the Dark scenario where Garrosh tried to kill Vol'Jin. That isn't so much an issue with the book, as with the fact that I feel it should have been published alongside patch 5.1. The book itself is set between patch 5.1 and 5.2. The other issue with the book is that it feels like we are promised more about the trolls' history than we are given. Yes there is some, but its really not that much. This might be my own expectation but I was a bit disappointed in that. I would also say the book also suffers from is the fact it only tells a very limited story that doesn't effect the game very much. This isn't so much a complaint against Vol'Jin, as all the Warcraft novels since Stormrage. It's hard to tell a story when they have such a small amount of room to breathe.

As a Warcraft Novel I would say this is a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you're trying to gain a better understand of Vol'Jin and loa this is a great book. If you want more of Pandaren and what makes them tick this is also a good book. There is a bit more here if you enjoy the Horde more than the Alliance, but that really shouldn't surprise anyone and I would say even if you are a die hard Alliance player there is still a good chance you will like the book.

Originally posted to http://www.rivalcastmedia.com/article...
Profile Image for Rob.
853 reviews539 followers
August 1, 2016
Executive Summary:
I reviewed this for SFF audio. I doubt I would have read it otherwise. It might appeal to World of Warcraft fans, but probably no one else.

Audio book: 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.

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.

That said, I'd probably listen to something read by Mr. Brick again.

Full Review
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.

Overall this is just a so-so book, 3 stars.
Profile Image for Ian Eppenbaugh.
50 reviews1 follower
July 9, 2013
This was a very different WoW novel than we’re used to getting, but Michael A. Stackpole is a very different author from Richard Knaak and Christie Golden. I’ve been a fan of Stackpole since I first picked up X-Wing: Rogue Squadron back in middle school and, as such, was exceptionally thrilled to see him writing a WoW novel.

What we got in Shadows of the Horde was not what I was expecting. It was a much more serious, darker-toned WoW novel. Were there some light-hearted moments? Absolutely, Chen being the cause of most of them. But I loved how this novel looked in-depth at the psychology of war-scarred veterans, the transcendence of racial/political differences, and gave us a really cool look at the Panderans and Shado-Pan. Indeed, I now have a great deal of respect for both the Panderans as a people and the Shado-Pan as a philosophical tradition.

What surprised me the most was how much this book emotionally affected me. I’m a sucker for hero moments, I am. I cried when Theoden lead the Rohirrim onto the Fields of Pelennor in the Return of the King film, knowing that death almost certainly awaited them, but choosing to face that inevitability anyway. This novel had those moments at well, and they brought tears to my eyes.

Overall: this was a great but very different WoW novel. Well worth the read. 5/5.
Profile Image for Elly Melly.
48 reviews4 followers
August 7, 2013

Vol'jin: The Next Karate Troll


With all the juicy drama and tension that has been boiling within the Horde, I couldn’t wait to read about Vol’jin, the leader of the Darkspear trolls. However, it left me disappointed from its lack of any believable tension. That’s probably the biggest weakness of the book—the characters are dull, the tension is dull, and even the “climactic” conflict against the Zandalari and Mogu forces is dull because I didn’t get a sense of urgency from the tranquil pacing of the book.


·         Good insight into Pandaren culture and the two contrasting ideologies.

Chen Stormstout is somewhat of an alien among his own people because he is so adventurous. There is Huojin (live in the moment, act) and Tushui (meditate, inner harmony) that exist in each person. Different people will lean towards one, but the goal is to find balance between the two. I got a strong sense of Pandaren norms and how they preferred to live out their lives. It kind of reminded me of the domestic hobbit lifestyle. Lots of food, lots of booze, lots of farming, and very little adventuring.

·         We get to see Chen Stormstout fall in love.

I had to wonder what an interracial relationship between a Pandaren and a human would spawn. And then, Pandaren + Tauren = ???

But no. Even Chen is a traditional Pandaren who likes his Pandaren women.

·         Internal character development.

We get to see Vol’jin, Tyrathan, and Chen Stormstout grow in this book. It’s too bad that they got along a little too well, because it would have been a lot less dull to read about them hanging out.

Fighting doubt. The shas are physical manifestations of our inner demons, and doubt is a big one. Tyrathan, after his traumatic experience, suffers from a lot of self-doubt and deals with it throughout the novel. I thought this development was insightful to human nature, as it really is a battle that exhausts the soul.

Vol’jin’s identity crisis. Going from the pre-Karate Kid troll to the post-monastery-trained Vol’jin, while his changes were extremely predictable given the circumstances of being in a monastery boot camp, learning to adapt in the transformation from old to new is a meaningful concept that’s explored in this book.

Chen Stormstout’s alienation. As a well-traveled Pandaren, Chen’s a bit of an outcast in his own society. Many Pandarens love him, some look down on him, and most think that he’s a little odd for having adventured outside of Pandaria so much. It’s this feeling of being an outcast among your own people because you don’t follow norms dictated by your own culture. Anyone who’s ever lived overseas of their motherland for a long time can relate to this.

·         A critique of imperialism.

This part was genius. The Mogus imperialized the Pandarens a long time ago, and living conditions were awful for the exploited pandas. The Pandarens managed to overthrow their oppressors, but have adopted a lot of their influences in architecture and culture. The Zandalari have teamed up with the Mogu, but it’s obvious to both parties that the Mogu are stronger and more powerful. The Zandalari trolls aspire to become like the Mogu and this is shown with a particular Zandalari commander who does his hair the same way the Mogu do theirs, even dyeing it to the right color. It’s gross. There are many parallels between Mogu imperialism and the consequences of colonization that we’ve seen in our own world. We see this when people living in a formerly colonized country aspire to look, dress, and live like their former oppressors.


·         Slow pacing.

All the focus that went into developing the sense of harmony in the monastery took away the tension from the outside world. From the way everyone was so nice and understanding, the only believable tension Vol’jin had was with himself. It was so slow because nothing much was really happening except bonding and good times. Bonding and good times are good for character building but do little to propel the story forward.

·         Predictable. Extremely predictable.

My impression: after Vol’jin got ganked in the alley by an orc rogue, he decided take a vacation from WoW to recuperate and meditate. He joins a support group in which there is a human hunter named Tyrathan. Oooh, drama, I thought. But no. Tyrathan is stoic and noble and holds his feelings of disgustin. Vol’jin is stoic and noble and holds his feelings of disgust in. So obviously, with time, they come to learn more about each other and respect each other. What, we have the same enemy? And then they’re friends. Forever. After bonding for like three-quarters of the novel, they get together, return to WoW, and do a raid. There are some difficulties and complications, of course, given that their raid is mostly made up of windwalker monks. But they get it done, and after a couple of wipes, they win.  The end.

Three-quarters of the book was of Vol’jin and Taran Zhu at the monastery reenacting The Next Karate Kid (1994, with Hilary Swank), except it’s more boring because Vol’jin isn’t a bitchy teenager forced to stay at the monastery for misbehaving. Then of course, there’s a climactic battle in which the main characters win. I didn’t mind this part so much, except I was mad that it took so long to get here.

·          Little tension between characters.

It bothered me a lot that everyone was so damn nice to each other in this book. There was a lot of potential for tension that went to waste. By getting along a little too well, the characters were robbed of convincing growth in character.

Vol’jin and Tyrathan. A troll and a human residing in the same monastery, whaaaat? Okay, this did seem like a forced arrangement of tension, except what’s worse is that the tension never came. Tyrathan did Vol’jin’s laundry, even though Vol’jin acted like a passive-aggressive bitch by staining his clothes on purpose. Then they played some board games. The problem here is that Vol’jin and Tyrathan were both noble, stoic people. There was no tension here because they respected each other and eventually saw through the faction curtain into each other’s true selves. A nice-to-meet-you brawl would have been more interesting.

Vol’jin and Taran Zhu. There was a lot of mutual respect here, even though Taran Zhu was kind of a creep in the way he kept spying on Vol’jin. However, Vol’jin wasn’t in a position to protest, so it’s understandable that he didn’t throw up any tables. That would have been stupid, and Vol’jin is smart. I want believable tension, not stupidity.

Chen Stormstout and Yalia Sagewhisper. Sure, it was obvious that they were going to hook up, but nonetheless I thought this couple was cute. After a couple of chapters about them, I thought this couple was the most boring couple ever. I’m glad they bonded and opened up to each other. Chen and Yalia had a healthy relationship, but even the healthiest relationships have their dose of drama. Sure, Yalia felt apprehensive about going back to her village, but that tension was directed towards her former family and neighbors, not Chen. They were so understanding of each other that it made me sleepy.

Khalak and Vol’jin. Khalak’s character intrigued me because she was so reasonable (for a villain). She was interested in Vol’jin but her feelings weren’t reciprocated. The tension resulting from her desire for him to join her cause never escalates because Vol’jin escapes during the night. I think the course of the story went well, except we don’t see enough into her internal nature to find her true reaction that she has to hide from her Mogu superiors. She is logical and pragmatic, like a robot with a goal. I was aware of the stakes but couldn’t relate to them because she held in her inner motives so well.

·         Khalak’s character.

Why is such a rational and noble (she has her code) leader like her hanging out with some bums like the Mogu? She was interested in Vol’jin but we only see her from his analytical standpoint. Sadly, her character doesn’t get a chance to develop in terms of critical reasoning, and I am disappointed. She is so smart that the question must have popped into her head at some point, even if she eventually disregards the notion and shoves it aside. I feel as if she would have been persuaded to do something if Vol’jin had tried to convince her. She was clearly not blind, but happened to be fine with Mogus ordering her around, and troll superiors who do their hair the Mogu way. Her end is a quick death by Vol’jin, which did her character no justice.

Conclusion: This novel had lots of character development, but without the tension or struggles between characters, the transformation and growth felt forced and unconvincing, or too slow to maintain my interest.

I’m puzzled by the high rating the book has on Amazon. There are a lot of suspiciously vague reviews for the book but maybe the majority of readers did enjoy the book. A lot. O_o What did you think of the book? 

August 29, 2016
Shadows of the Horde was my very first Warcraft novel and I love it a lot.

While the story is mainly focused on Vol'jin and his personal struggles, we also got some insights into Chen Stormstout's life. Basically, Chen's few chapters are quite calming, sweet and funny which makes an excellent contrast to Vol'jin's chapters which are way darker. In general, this book was quite dark.

You can criticize this novel for not being as action-packed as you might be used to from other Warcraft novels. But really, it's not even remotely about all the action. The plot itself focuses a lot on Vol'jin regaining both his mental and his physical power after the Dagger in the Dark scenario. He fights a lot of personal struggles, not sure where he belongs, who he really is and deciding what is right and wrong. This book resolves these questions. Therefore I felt like this novel was a lot deeper as it wasn't about stuff happening but about important, moral questions being answered.

I guess why I really love this book so much is because of how attached it got me to Vol'jin and the Trolls. I always had respect for Vol'jin back from his Warcraft 3 days but that was pretty much about it. When he became Warchief at the end of Mists of Pandaria, I was even a bit… confused? Unsatisfied? Something like that. I mean, it made sense and Vol'jin was by far the best choice but it wasn't until I read this book that I felt I had truly understood Vol'jin's character. The respect I had for him turned into love and Vol'jin easily became one of my favorite characters of the Warcraft universe. It's a shame how Blizzard couldn't show me all this in the games.
Beside Vol'jin, I also became really interested in Troll lore which hadn't interested me so much before. I got great insights from this book and I am sure I would've missed a lot of background information about Trolls if I hadn't read it.

I get why lots of people criticize this novel and I do understand some of their points. To me though, it was marvelous. I appreciated the amount of information I got and I'm glad this was my first Warcraft book.
Profile Image for Chris.
191 reviews5 followers
February 5, 2014
This is the worst WoW novel, in my opinion. It is the epitome of telling, not showing. Normally WoW novels get my heart pumping with emotional highs & lows, but this was just a steady meh. I miss the richness of character & place that are usually present. The author seemed to place more importance on how blood drips off of various body parts than anything else. Very disappointed.
286 reviews5 followers
August 13, 2013
... What the Hell did I just read?

Honestly, I used to love those books not five years ago, but this was just insufferable drivel from introduction to conclusion. And I still love the game, it's not a case of the whole world being uninteresting.

First, I think one of the most important things for books based of a video game/tv show is to relate to that video game/tv show, which isn't the case at all here. It's important to bear in mind that this is pretty much the Mist of Pandaria novel, an expansion pack based on a sense of exploration and discovery. Yet in this book the characters never leave two areas, two areas that are mostly unimportant in the game (Zouchin Village and the Shado-Pan Monastery), and what's worse, even though they spend all the book in those two locations, not once did it felt like an accurate description of what the game portrays. I never felt as if I was reading an interesting well developed story taking place in a world I know. I felt as if I read substandard fanfiction written for a paycheck and set in a world the author could'nt care less about.

The characters are also horrendous, not only does the author barely use the incredibly roster of Warcraft characters, but he managed to mess up the few he chose. Vol'jin seems like an extremely whiny Karate Kid, Taran Zhu lost every bit of personality that MoP set up, Chen is pretty much a weakling who's trying to get laid.

And then you've got the whole story being about Vol'jin becoming BFF with a random cardboard human and realizing that he's pretty much a dolt and that only by becoming a Pandaren monk will he be able to save the Horde (which faction he never interacts with in any way). Why the Hell did they add "Shadows of the Horde" as a subtitle if this doesn't relate with the actual story in any way.

And all that could've been saved if the author could write for crap, but honestly I haven't seen anything in there that goes above low-level fan fiction. The battles feel tedious and he adds blood in, what, an attempt to make them seem more dangerous? An author should never write that a character's sword struck the "femoral artery", is it really something you should be thinking about in the middle of a fight, how about a glaive plucking an eye out, how can a slashing sword pluck something out. The fact that those big damn heroes are having so much trouble fighting mobs our characters can kill in seconds also remove a lot of the cool factor of the novel.

Anyway, all that to say that this book sucked.
Profile Image for David(LA,CA).
220 reviews9 followers
July 14, 2013
I've seen a number of people say that this is a darker toned book than we've had before. Personally, I don't know if I would agree. It's certainly not rainbows, kittens, and lollypops. But I feel that Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War was a much darker entry in the series.

I'm starting to think that Blizzard is reaching a point where they can't win in regards to novels. People that buy their games, want to play their games. They want to be able to take part in major events. They want to be able to remember being involved, and say that "my character was there". So there have been complaints before made about major events happening only in the books. Which leads to this book. We come in after a major event has occurred and the book is done before the next major event takes place. There is stuff that happens in this novel, but there's no strong connection to anything players of the game are doing. Everything that takes place here occurs while someone is off letting the player base know "stuff's going down, we're going to need your help". You don't need to read this book to know what's going on, but at the same time what happens here doesn't seem important enough to make this a must read.

Maybe it's just that I don't really care for Vol'jin and the trolls. They seem to be the least popular race in the game. So we're going to spend a novel with their leader and learning about their world view. I will say that I liked the pandaren elements more, and hope we get to see Chen as the lead character in a novel at some point.

And I do hope that Mr. Stackpole gets another chance to write in this universe. Unlike some other authors that have written warcraft novels, it does feel like he's actually spent some time playing the game.
February 20, 2022
این کتاب رو یکسال پیش خوندم ولی یادمه که با خوندنش بی اندازه احساس آرامش بهم دست داد. چیزی که نه تنها در مجموعه های وارکرافت که در مورد همه کتاب هایی که خونده بودم بهم دست نداده بود. آموزه ها، استدلال ها، فلسفه ها و داستانک هایی که در کتاب در کنار اون تِم شرقی حاکم بر داستان وارد میشن رنگ و بوی متفاوتی داشت با هر آنچه تاکنون مطالعه کرده بودم.
روح سلحشوری و مبارزه و ردپای خدایان جنگ و مرگ همه اون چیزهایی هست که من ازشون لذت بردم و البته منکر ایرادات وارد بر برخی اتفاقات نمیشم با این حال به خاطر حس خوب و تجربه فوق العاده ای که داستان بهم داد چهار ستاره دادم.
با خوندن این کتاب من بیش از پیش از شخصیت وولجین خوشم اومد و افسوس میخورم که چه قدر دیر باهاش آشنا شدم. تجربه و دوره ای که وولجین در پانداریا میگذرونه به خودم هم-به نوعی- به عنوان یک رزمآرا و کسی که مداوم وارد جنگ های زیاد میشه یادآوری کرد که روح جنگ چیه و چرا میجنگیم.
این داستان به عنوان یک پازل از دنیای وارکرافت قوام دهنده دنیای شگفت انگیز و گسترده ی اونه چه از نظر نژادی، چه از نظر سیاسی و چه از نظر فرهنگی.
Profile Image for Omid Milanifard.
337 reviews31 followers
March 29, 2018
خلاقیت این کتاب در ترکیب اساطیر شرق دور با دنیای باستانه. از اونجا که من زیاد از اسطوره های اون بخش دنیا خوشم نمیاد (انیمیشن پاندای کونفوکار میاد به ذهن آدم و ژانر حماسی باستانی وارکرافتیش کم میشه). در مجموع نظرم متوسط بود که با کمی تساهل میشه سه ستاره.
Profile Image for ⚜️XAR the Bookwyrm.
2,318 reviews17 followers
August 11, 2013
I was really excited about this book when I first heard about it coming out, because Vol'jin has always been one of my favorite characters in the World of Warcraft setting, especially since I actually have played the game itself. While this was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon at work, the story itself was a bit lacking. Having the background of actually playing World of Warcraft, some of the actions that are attributed to Vol'jin in the book seem out of character for him. I also didn't like the ambiguous romance that was sprouting for Chen Stormstout, as it seemed to be included as an afterthought and was ultimately left in a semi-unresolved state. The readers are given brief insights into Vol'jin himself, and what it means to be a Shadow Hunter of the Troll race, but it is not much more than one can glean from actually playing the game of WoW itself. If you compare it to its immediate predecessor book, Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde comes up lacking. In Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, we see a lot of what made Jaina into the mage that was able to inspire loyalty and got to see how she grew beyond the horrific tragedy that befell her and her people. In Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde, we really don't have that, Vol'jin's story relies on his status as a Shadow Hunter to do his work for him, and for me as a reader, it didn't work, especially since there really was not enough background given as to how difficult it is to become a Shadow Hunter. I only knew the difficulty because I had gone to the trouble of reading the short story centered on Vol'jin that is listed on the World of Warcraft website. Too much of this story was also left hanging, and while that may be because the publishers and Blizzard itself wants to entice people to play the game to find out the ending, as an established WoW player, I wanted to see the end of it through Vol'jin's eyes. Ultimately, I thought it was good, but definitely not worth a 5 star rating, and only something that I would recommend to established WoW players.
Profile Image for Steve Cran.
887 reviews88 followers
October 21, 2016
Tying in books to video games has become en vogue for a good many years now. This series is based on the online subscription game World of War Craft. The story centers around a troll named Vol’jin leader of the Dark Spears. The rest of the characters are dog like or furry creatures called Pandaren and of course they live on Pandaria, an island continent that kin of reminds me of Australia. The shado Pan are Pandarian monks ho practice martial arts that enhance their mental powers. These monks are clearly based on the Shaolin Monks of China.
A little background on the story. Pnadaria used to be controlled by the Mogu, giant magical beings that seems to live forever. They ha been buried a god long time an no want to rise with the help of the Zandalari, powerful troll nation. An armed conflict I raging between the human Alliance and the trollish Horde. The trolls, or at least many of them wish to revive the old troll empire an rule the world. The story line itself is rather simple, Chen a brewmaster is called to a river in order to rescue and heal a wounded troll. That troll is Vol’jin who was set up by his leader Garrosh. Being ambushed in a cave by Surok creatures and ogres, Vol’jin is thought to be dead. While healing at the monastery he befriends a human named Tarathan. Together they become friends and allies against a Zandalari /Mogu invasion.During the invasion they offer resistance, get captured and then set traps for the invaders. At the end is an intense conflict.

The story line to this rather simple as you have just read above, there is a lot of going inside the characters head and dealing with l their thought. Some of them are rather extraneous and not important to the plot nor story line. The book was somewhat difficult at times to get into. But over ll an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Michael Pate.
15 reviews4 followers
July 6, 2013
In terms of the experience for World of Warcraft players, you probably will want to have done the Troll starting zone, watched the 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari trailer, and experienced the Dagger in Dark scenario. But if you haven't you can either watch the videos I linked to or just read the recaps in the story itself.

"Swear! Swear de blood oath with me!"

Like all of the modern novels, this very much takes place right within the (nearly current continuity). And like many of it's predecessors, this makes it cool and annoying at the same time. We watch a small band of fighters battle heroically against overwhelming odds sneaking around the entire continent to do so... when tons of player characters are crawling all over those same areas who would come to their aid in a moment's notice. That has been true of the over novels generally as well but I found it extra distracting this time.

Basically we watch Vol'jin go through a journey of self-discovery and rebirth. Personally I gained a new appreciation of the Balance that the Shado Pan were striving for.

A new human character - hopefully we will get to see him in-game in some manner. And Chen Stormstour had a much larger part in the story. In some ways, it was as much about him as Vol'jin.

If you have enjoyed the previous WoW Novels, you won't want to miss this one. If you never want to read the novels, you can safely skip this.

Oh, and if you haven't started yet, you can head for the Barrens!

Profile Image for ¤Leila | The Fiction Pixie¤.
103 reviews12 followers
October 2, 2013
Getting used to the writing style of Michael Stackpole was considerably interesting. The slow points in this book that were story and history based were on the slow side, this really captured that nature of the Pandaren but it also meant for a laborious read. But then in times of war and times of action his writing was action-packed and one blow after the other. This left me on a roller coaster of reading interest; while I absolutely loved this story and everything in it, I slugged through it at an unusually slow pace.

The character of Vol'jin is so critical to the World of Warcraft lore that this book is an integral part of the story. It connects the events in game of the Dagger in the Dark scenario and the 5.3 content patch Escalation. This book is inundated with amazing amounts of lore for both troll, pandaren and the mogu.

Stackpole did a wonderful job at fleshing out characters that we wanted to see more of including Taran Zhu, Chen Stormstout, and Li Li. He also did a wonderful job at introducing us to new characters including Yalia and Tyrathan Khort. He made the lives of these people jump off the pages and they held on to you with a vice-like grip.

If you're a fan of World of Warcraft novels this books is a must read in my opinion. I am a troll fanatic and I just love everything this book has to offer. I should declare that given its subject matter that is does speak in strong dialects at time but that is akin to Stackpole's great job of creating mood, voice, and setting!
Profile Image for James.
27 reviews
July 19, 2013
I really enjoyed this book, the story is a lot bloodier and darker than the last few warcraft novels, which I think is a good change. The story definitely reminds me of a kung-fu movie.

Vol'jin is almost killed by an assassin. He is found half dead by Chen (an old character from way back in warcraft 3) and sent to a mountain top monastery where he is cared for by the Monks of Pandaria. Along with a human hunter, after growing to respect each other they work together with Chen and the monks to protect pandaria from the Zandalari and Mogu who want to enslave the Pandarians and claim the continent for themselves.

All in all a great fantasy novel with a philosophical martial arts vibe along with some great battle scenes. If you like the warcraft universe then I recommend you give it a look.
Profile Image for Jiri.
23 reviews3 followers
July 27, 2014
After Tides of War another pretty good WoW novel, one you enjoy reading without "he's gonna kill them all and then have a cup of coffee" feeling you might've gotten while reading the previous books (Stormrage comes to mind). It explains few things that Mist of Pandaria's quests were not able to, lore wise anyway. The only bad thing about this novel is that it was released too late. It should've been with us before 5.3 at least, preferably before MoP was launched. That detail aside, definately worth reading, a must for all those Warcraft lore nerds out there (even those without the red shirts)!
17 reviews1 follower
November 14, 2013
Strong characterizations, particularly Vol'jin, do not save this book from it's back half. I found the first part of the book incredibly enjoyable and Stackpole's writing is solid throughout. Unfortunately because of limitations (that I assumed were imposed by Blizzard) the plot shifts focus on Vol'jin's slow recovery and his anger towards Garrosh to a bunch of trolls I couldn't have cared less about. We are left to return to World of Warcraft to experience the true conclusion to the tale.

Still a worthwhile read for those who enjoy the game, but I couldn't recommend it to someone who doesn't play.
Profile Image for Marlous.
4 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2015
As a Warcraft lore junkie I really wanted to like this book, but it really was a disappointment. It was so hard to even finish it.

I always wanted to know more about Vol'jin and troll/pandaria lore. The author did a pretty decent job portraying the characters, but there wasn't really one I could relate to. Chen was fairly interesting but the Vol'jin parts were either pretty good or downright tiresome to read.

If you like to learn more about the Loa or if you particulary like long philosophical talks, you may enjoy it...but for me it just wasn't good enough to truly call it a Warcraft novel.
Profile Image for Sycamore Rockwell.
3 reviews13 followers
August 5, 2017
One of the most thrilling Warcraft reads you could hope for and more!

If Mists of Pandaria encapsulated the exotic beauty and tranquil spirit of a new piece of Azeroth's landscape, then Michael Stackpole's 'Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde' goes a step further by exploring the moral values which drive Pandaria's denizens.

Parallels between Eastern philosophies on life and being saturate characters' dialogue, begging existential questions which transcend the pages and draw the reader into that thought-inspiring WoW experience we love and cherish so much!
Profile Image for Coral Davies.
601 reviews3 followers
June 7, 2015
I believe this is Stackpole's only WoW novel and he does an excellent job. He captures the serenity and philosophical nature of the Pandarian's to perfection and weaves the lore of the trolls into a detailed, coherent and enjoyable tale. This is less about the attempted assassination of Vol'Jin at the hands of Garrosh and more about understanding who Vol'Jin is, who the trolls are and the history of the Mogu, Zandalari and Pandarian's. I really enjoyed this tale.
Profile Image for Jessie.
258 reviews2 followers
July 11, 2013
While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't quite like the other Warcraft novels. I felt like the others were a bit more in depth whereas this one skimmed the surface. They didn't really get much done and the question of, "Who are you?" and "Who are you going to be?" kept coming up a lot. The ending was nice because of the battle scenes. Other than that, I was hoping for a bit more action going on.
Profile Image for Dylan Reay.
59 reviews1 follower
November 16, 2022
This is a surprisingly well written WoW novel. The prose is strong and on par with some of the better sci-fi and fantasy writing.
I don't know if you would really need a foreknowledge of WoW to get into this, and I certainly didn't know about a few elements that were probably present in MoP.
I enjoyed. However the death saves were a bit ridiculous.
Profile Image for Michael.
7 reviews
March 26, 2015
The writing wasn't stellar, but once I got past that, I really enjoyed the story. The development of Vol'jin, Taran Zhu, and Chen were fascinating, as well as the look into the events leading up to the Throne of Thunder raid.
Profile Image for Michelle Gross.
143 reviews2 followers
August 1, 2013
Not too bad. Would have liked more detail in the ending. Just kinda seemed to end quickly.
Profile Image for Becky.
121 reviews30 followers
May 8, 2017
I Be Not A Crab

First of all, you need to be familiar with the World of Warcraft universe and the storylines in the Pandaria expansion prior to picking up this book. Unlike past Warcraft novels, there is very little hand-holding involved in describing any of the World of Warcraft concepts. Monsters from the game just show up in the book (one of the Mogu summons Quilen, and the only description is "Quilen show up") and you're expected to know instantly what they look like.

As an avid World of Warcraft player, with an active subscription, with all of my main characters in the Horde faction, and with most of my characters being trolls, I am...actually pretty conflicted about this book.

On the one hand, I don't hate the book. I bought the hardcover and would probably read this book again since I love the character this revolves around. On the other hand, I helped Vol'jin reclaim Echo Isles from Zalazane, I saw Vol'jin grow and evolve from a character just used in Brewfast and the Battle for Undercity storylines into a character that was important to the Horde conflicts, and was overjoyed when he grew as a character and led the revolution against Garrosh's Horde. I care about Vol'jin as a character, so a book with Vol'jin in it, describing how he grew into a character and how he would end up leading the final push against the corrupt Warchief that ordered his assassination should be one of my favorite Warcraft books of all time.

Instead, I struggled to maintain my interest in quite a few parts of the book.

After the failed assassination attempt of Vol'jin by Garrosh Hellscream in the "Daggers in the Dark" scenario, Vol'jin is discovered wallowing in a shallow mud bank, miraculously alive but barely so by Chen Stormstout and is brought to the Shado-Pan Monastery to heal from his grievous wounds. While there, Taran Zhu, head of the Shado-Pan, decides to conduct an experiment of sorts in order to maintain the balance between Huojin and Tushui teachings of Pandaren philosophy. While the Huojin Pandaren joined the Horde, Vol'jin represents Tushui, of contemplation and thinking before acting. Taran Zhu also recovered a member of the Alliance, a Hunter named Tyrathan, one who represents Huojin, of swift action.

Together, a Horde faction leader must recover with a lieutenant of the Alliance. Horde and Alliance, long time enemies, working together when their conflicts are what's destroying Pandaria? Can these two work out their differences in time to stop the beginning of the Zandalari invasion, led by a Zandalari troll who ends up being way less important than her inital setup? Can Chen Stormstout discover a place he can call "home"? Can Taran Zhu get his raid appropriately geared and trained in time for the Throne of the Thunder King instance?

Yes, they all can. In fact, Vol'jin and Tyranthan work it out after one board game session and remain chums for most of the book while Chen's romantic subplot goes on without a single hitch (not even a mild disagreement between Chen and his love Yalia) and Taran Zhu hangs off in the background, occasionally spying on people, and appearing when it is appropriate to impart on wise panda wisdom.

And this is my main problem with the story. Tyrathan and Vol'jin and their relationship is one of the main driving forces in this book, or could have been, if they weren't far too agreeable and cultured about the whole thing. Humans and trolls have a long, bloody history together filled with wars and slaughter and cannibalism. Vol'jin has no qualms murdering humans, and even is delighted at the notion that he appears in Alliance nightmares, and Tyranthan has slain more trolls than he can count. Not once do they even get into an argument beyond the board game scene. Vol'jin's interests always serve Tyrathan's interests and vice versa.

I like the idea of a human and troll becoming friends despite their differences, but they got along better than anybody I've talked to in dungeon chat. They try to give reason for this by having Vol'jin traverse Tyranthan's mind early on in the story and thus literally walk a mile in his shoes and attempt to heal his inner demons, but I was still waiting for a scene for Vol'jin and Tyranthan to blow up at one another's face. The later scenes where these two swear that they will "get the guy that gets them" would have a lot more impact if they hated each other at first. Vol'jin's growth as a person and what it means to be in the Horde would also have more impact if he realized that hating the Alliance man would be more akin to Garrosh's philosophies.

Which brings me to my second complaint. The other main problem is, for a book called "Shadows of the Horde", the story has nearly nothing to do with the Horde. Garrosh gets mentioned a lot, but that's all it ends up being; mentions. I get that people who read the book have a grasp on what the political atmosphere of Azeroth looks like, but from the novel's standpoint, you get none of that inner pressure that's building in the Horde and it just makes it sound like our main character has a weird fascination with someone named Garrosh. A simple scene or two from Orgrimmar showing how Garrosh is taking the Zandalari invasion would have been perfect, something to drive it home that this is the central force behind Vol'jin's actions, but instead he is a non-entity that get namedropped from time to time while our actual antagonist is a Zandalari troll who doesn't even appear in the actual game itself. And don't even bother wondering about the other faction leaders since none of them are even hinted at in this book, despite the important role the blood elves play against the attack on the Thunder King and the Zandalari.

In short, conflicts that would've been interesting never show up and instead the real story is about Vol'jin taking down some troll mobs with his raid partners. The Zandalari are an enormous part of this book, and while I don't object to their usage (and in fact they make some nice parallels between the right and wrong ways of troll philosophy and how to honor the troll loa), Garrosh's True Horde's absence is sorely missed.

However, despite my many complaints about this book, it...honestly wasn't all that bad.

While Vol'jin's navel gazing thought experiments do run a bit long at the expense of the rest of the story and sometimes repeat themselves in theme, the parts where he communicates with the loa and see the extent of the Zandalari empire in the past are very well done and are great in building the Warcraft lore. I was delighted to see Bwonsamdi and Sen'jin in particular appear in visions and get more characterization while they depict various forms of troll philosophy. The trolls don't read as humans, which is a good thing, and they don't read as something purely savage or incapable of higher thought, which is also a good thing. They really feel like trolls.

Plus, in the end, it is rather cool to see Vol'jin square off against a Mogu champion and completely cut the monster down with his glaives, for him to brave great odds and nearly getting killed in the process, or for him to emerge from an army of swarming trolls, cutting through them like a tusked weapon of mass destruction.

That, and the quote "Bwonsamdi hungers" Vol'jin uses pretty much justifies the price I paid for this book.

Most of all, I'm just sad that this wasn't a better book than what it was. There are epic moments, but this book tries to fill in the blanks of what's going on with Vol'jin in-between Dagger in the Dark and Operation: Barrens while there is nothing in Vol'jin's character development that couldn't already be guessed from the game's cutscenes and dialogue.

In the end, I just wish Vol'jin's conflicts actually had more conflict. That was the ingredient missing in this Pandaren brew to give it more kick.


And, just for posterity, the parts in this book adaptation of a video game that reminded me of the game:
*Vol'jin suffers a knife wound to the throat and can heal it using troll regeneration, but uses his own willpower to keep his throat from ever fully healing. This changes his voice and he adopts a deeper, raspier voice. Character development, or a convenient way to hide the fact that Vol'jin changed voice actors for the Pandaria expansion?
*Tyranthan reveals he cannot call his hunter pet because he's no longer the man he used to be. Hunters all have pets in this book like in the game, and they can be summoned magically. Which...is both odd (hunters in-game aren't exactly magic users) and too on-the-nose to the actual game mechanics.
*Vol'jin casts the Mass Ressurrection spell that you gain as a Guild perk after the climactic battle at the end of the book. It even illuminates the bodies of the surviving members in his raid, akin to a wipe.
800 reviews3 followers
August 8, 2021
Fabuła ukazana w książce dzieje się zaraz po wydarzeniach z dodatku Mists of Pandaria (scenariusz Dagger in the Dark). Jeśli więc ktoś nie posiada co najmniej podstawowej wiedzy na temat wspomnianego dodatku i całego świata Azeroth, to lektura książki może nie być dla niego nazbyt łatwa i przyjemna. Zdecydowanie poleciłbym więc ten tytuł tylko doświadczonym „graczom”, pragnącym poznać rozwinięcie niektórych wątków.

Całość powieści zaczyna się w momencie, kiedy tytułowy Vol’jin (przywódca Mrocznych Włóczni), staje się obiektem zamachu zleconego przez Garosza. Szczęście jednak uśmiecha się do trolla, któremu na ratunek przychodzi Czen Gromowar i zabiera rannego do ustronnego klasztoru, gdzie będzie on mógł wyleczyć rany. W tym samym przybytku rekonwalescencje przechodzi również tajemniczy ludzki wojownik. Wielka nienawiść do śmiertelnego wroga musi teraz jednak zostać stłamszona. Ciężko ranny Vol’jin, walczący ze skutkami trucizny, cały swój wysiłek i gniew będzie musiał teraz poświęcić na powrót do zdrowia, aby móc dokonać zemsty. Nie jest to jednak jedyny z jego problemów. W Pandarii pojawiają się bowiem siły Zandalarów, którzy mając wobec Vol’jina swoje własne plany.

Od samego początku książki wyraźnie widać, że Stackpole to twórca, który zna i lubi uniwersum World od Warcraft. Stworzona przez niego opowieść przepełniona jest sugestywnym klimatem gry, będąc wielkim ukłonem w stronę graczy. Nie zapomina on jednak o swoich poprzednich literackich dokonaniach i stara się, aby opowieść była świetnym uzupełnieniem uniwersum, zapewniającym masę doskonałej rozrywki. Niezłym pomysłem twórcy było tutaj wykorzystanie „rekonwalescencji” głównego bohatera do zagłębienia się w jego naturę i pokazania jak pewne wydarzenia mogą wpływać na przekonania i świadomość postaci. Kontrastowanie trolla i przebywającego w tym samym klasztorze Tyrathana sprawia, że powieść staje się chwilami naprawdę dość głęboka. Autor wypełnia więc kolejne rozdziały swojego dzieła wielowarstwową treścią, która naprawdę potrafi przykuć uwagę.

Bawi się on również tempem całej akcji, stawiając tu głównie na powolne ukazanie poszukiwania swojej własnej wewnętrznej siły (zarówno przez Vol’jina, jak i łowcę Tyrathana). Dużo miejsce poświęca on na rozbudowane opisy scenerii, budynków, postaci, przyrody czy nawet pogody. Ma to swój urok, ale również pewne swoje wady. Momentami staje się on zbyt mocno opisowy, a co za tym idzie trochę nudny (na całe szczęście tego typu fragmentów nie ma tu zbyt wiele). Oczywiście nie zapomina on również o bardziej widowiskowej treści. Stworzone przez niego sceny bitewne są bardzo dynamiczne, krwawe i porywające. Stanowią one jednak tylko malutki dodatkiem do wolniejszej części historii.

Jeśli jest ktoś fanem WoW i chciałby poznać lepiej postać przywódcy Mrocznych Włóczni, to z całą pewnością na jego liście zakupowej, powinna znaleźć się książka World od Warcraft – Vol’jin: Cienie hordy. Pozycja być może nie jest tak widowiskowa, jak inne książki serii dostępne na naszym rynku, ale i tak zapewnia sporą dawkę dobrej rozrywki.

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