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Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A. Knaak

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
Things have just gotten incredibly weird.

The second installment of Dawn of the Aspects has just been released to an assortment of retailers, ready to be downloaded to the e-reader of your choice. The novel, written by Richard Knaak, continues to explore the events at the dawn of time, before the Age of Dragons began. As Kalecgos continues his descent into the mad visions bestowed upon him by an ancient artifact, he begins to discover more and more unsettling facts about the formation of dragonkind. But will Kalecgos be able to divine what these visions are trying to teach, or will he be swallowed into the past for good?

In our review of part one, we touched on the somewhat convoluted nature of the story, with the hopes that part two would begin to make things slightly more clear. Yet that question of the purpose of dragons on Azeroth, their origin, and what they should do now that the Age of Mortals has begun is still left unanswered. And despite the novel's focus on events long past, it's beginning to become more clear that Kalecgos' visions, mad as they are, definitely have more than a little relevance to present-day.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
If you have not read part one of this tale, I suggest picking it up now. And then I suggest picking up part two, and waiting for part three. It's become blatantly clear that there is something really, really huge that Dawn of the Aspects is hiding -- and we're not talking Galakrond here. Or are we? The supposed progenitor of dragonkind is portrayed here as being somehow very, very ill. His actions are downright disturbing, as evidenced in the brief sneak peek of the tale we were given last week. If you thought that sneak peek was a little gross, you really haven't seen the half of it.

There is something horribly, horribly wrong with Galakrond. More importantly, there is something horribly, horribly wrong in Northrend -- proto-drakes that have been killed and devoured by Galakrond are coming back to horrifying un-life. Here's the interesting part about all of this: This all takes place way before the Lich King even existed, much less showed up on Azeroth. So these dragons aren't Scourge by any stretch of the imagination. What are they? Why are they coming back to life, and what is Galakrond up to?

It hasn't been made precisely clear, but those that choose to read this story should keep in mind that this is Azeroth's ancient history. In fact, what we know of Azeroth's history is that the Aspects were created after the Titans came back to Azeroth, after the war between Titan and Old God. So what we are seeing, through a series of dizzying visions, are events that have only been hinted at in tiny snippets here and there. This stuff has never been defined before, and that's what makes it all the more interesting -- we're finally getting a glimpse into the formation of Azeroth as it is today.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
That said, the somewhat confused and disjointed nature of part one flows seamlessly into part two. Don't expect the story to be any less confusing, guys. This isn't the fault of the author at all -- actually, it all has to do with the story. Kalecgos has yet to understand what is going on or why he's being swept into these visions of the past. What he is seeing, his confusion, his astonishment are all accurately reflected and written into the tale well enough that it's not really a case of the story being confusing -- it's a case of thoroughly being put in Kalec's shoes as it were.

Kalec doesn't understand, and therefore we don't understand. Not yet. But all the familiar faces are in place now that Nozdormu has made an appearance, albeit a mere shadow of what he is to become. If you're expecting the Aspect of Time to shed any light on the situation, don't -- he's just another proto-drake at this point in the tale. What's interesting is that even with all of the Aspects merely being proto-drakes at this point, you can still see hints of the personalities that will eventually evolve into the Aspects as we know them now.

There are few appearances by other characters in this story, and Pandaria remains a far-off, unmentioned element in this tale. It's appropriate, honestly -- the Age of Dragons ended once Deathwing was defeated, and as far as the dragons are concerned, their meddling in the affairs of mortals is well and truly over. But that doesn't make this story any less relevant. Full of some genuinely disturbing visions of both past and present, Dawn of the Aspects seems to be intent on addressing some questions regarding Azeroth's creation, and those questions are especially relevant given the small amount of what we know regarding Pandaria's history.

To be clear -- what we see as this tale unfolds may actually end up shedding some light on what the purpose of the Titans actually is. It may end up revealing what happened when the Old Gods came into power, and how all of these Titan facilities came into play. And it might actually end up revealing why the Titans didn't destroy Azeroth to begin with, and instead left it with guardians to watch over it. The visions are all in the right time period, it's simply a matter of puzzling them all out.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part two by Richard A Knaak
This story isn't an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but it's absolutely worthwhile. There's a noted lack of dialogue, largely because the proto-drakes haven't really evolved to a point where they're capable of long, drawn out conversations. For some, they haven't yet evolved to a point where language is possible at all. This means that what we're being presented with is purely the thoughts and suppositions of Malygos, and Kalec's own impressions as he's being taken along for the ride. Oddly enough, this chaotic presentation is really beginning to grow on me. And while we aren't left with as huge a cliffhanger as part one of the tale, I'm still eagerly awaiting part three.

Yet there's still one major question that hasn't been answered. Yes, we're wondering about the creation of dragonkind. Yes, there are several questions regarding the Titans that haven't been addressed. But the biggest question, the most important question to Kalecgos when all of this began was the question of where the dragons fit into the world as it stands today. And the mad visions of the peculiar artifact don't seem to be directly addressing that question for now, instead choosing to highlight the history of the Dragonflights.

Perhaps all will be revealed as far as that question is concerned when we reach the final installment of the novel -- until then, all we can do really is simply observe and watch over Kalecgos' shoulder as he watches over Malygos's shoulder. Timelines and the creation of Azeroth have always been one of those bones of contention for those that follow the lore, and Blizzard hasn't really given us any kind of answers to questions surrounding this period of Azeroth's timeline. Dawn of the Aspects is quickly becoming an intriguing mystery that may end up giving us the answers we've been waiting for. Judging by Galakrond's peculiar transformations, I really can't wait to see how all of this unfolds.

Dawn of the Aspects part two is available in several different ebook formats for a wonderfully low $1.99. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. The third part of the novel should be available on or around April 22.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

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