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10-08-2011 @ 1:08PM
Tie-in novels are, at best, decent fanfiction that are the equivalent of literary popcorn and you can't think of them in the same way as real lit. They're two entirely different genres with entirely different purposes and it's really unfair to compare them. It'd be like comparing Katy Perry to Rachmaninoff. You really have to judge them on their own merits. The majority of them are fairly shitty, especially ones based on video game properties, and the WC novels are no different. Keeping that in mind, the best WC novels are decent popcorn novels, not anything especially groundbreaking or exceptionally well-written, just a fun way to pass the time and get a bit of insight into the world while staying fairly true to the characters and setting. IOW, fanfiction. People love to sing Christie Golden's praises but I find her pretty mediocre as a writer, and my opinion of her work has gone down as the years go by. I think part of the reason she gets so much praise is because the other authors are so much worse--Golden, at the very least, has the technical aspects of writing down. She knows how to craft a decent sentence, which automatically shoots her to the top of a heap that includes Knaak. My beefs with her aren't so much about style as characterization choices. The Shattering was alright, if marred by the terrible way Thrall/Aggra was written, but Twilight of the Aspects was just horrible on every level. I think Rise of the Horde was the only good book she wrote and the only WC novel I can unequivocally recommend as "good", even by tie-in novel standards. Her other WC work is flawed in ways that I can't really blame on having her hands tied by CDev (I loathed the Arthas novel, for a lot of reasons, most of which had to do with how badly she wrote/interpreted Kael and the love triangle). That said, I do feel like she's the only author in Blizzard's stable that really groks certain characters, and I'm more willing to give her a shot than Knaak.
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