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

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
The action in Dawn of the Aspects heated up exponentially in part two of the series by Richard A. Knaak -- and part three only continues to both clarify and confuse in the most brain-bending, delightful way.

The third installment of Dawn of the Aspects, released Monday, continues to explore the purpose of the mysterious artifact Kalegos uncovered back in part one. It seems as though the visions Kalec has been experiencing are growing far more intense, enough to make the former Aspect question the reality of the future we're currently living in. More importantly, there are some important and thoroughly bizarre revelations that may actually shed some light on the Aspects as they turned out in present day.

Although the installments continue to be slightly confusing, we're beginning to get a grasp on just what this story is all about. And as mentioned in our last review, it's becoming far more clear that what happened in the past is apparently not only relevant, but incredibly important to the events of present day. Dawn of the Aspects is, so far, proving to be a delightful mystery of a book, not quite like anything we've seen come before.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
Thankfully, part three begins to both clarify and explain Jaina's role in Kalecgos' life. The two characters were left on a pretty romantic note at the end of Tides of War. But all is not well in paradise, as part three explains -- and Jaina finally makes a solid appearance. As the new leader of the Kirin Tor, Jaina has some issues of her own that she's dealing with. One of which, as it turns out, happens to be exactly how the rest of the Kirin Tor views her relationship with the former Aspect of Magic.

To be perfectly honest, I was never really happy with the idea of Jaina and Kalecgos as presented in Tides of War. It seemed like a retread of the relationship we saw, however briefly, in the Sunwell Trilogy between Kalecgos and Anveena. The fact that Jaina and Kalecgos aren't simply diving into their relationship with no misgivings what so ever does, however, give me hope that maybe this won't be the cut-and-dry happily ever after that frankly, I'm kind of tired of seeing. Jaina's a complex character, even more so now than she was prior to her appearance in patch 5.1 and 5.2. I'd like to see her character get more development on that end of the equation.

As for the rest of the story, it's becoming increasingly apparent that whatever happens to be wrong with Galakrond isn't just an anomaly. And it's not something unique to the giant drake, either. In fact, the illness that has befallen the supposed progenitor of dragons as we know them today is spreading, and fast. Zombie dragons, anyone? It's a curious development, and one that is made even curiouser by the fact that this supposed disease is being spread by bites.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
In other words, although one would immediately think Scourge when one thinks undead, this is clearly not the case in this novel. More importantly, the unsettling descriptions of Galakrond continue to not only baffle, but remind me more and more of creatures we've seen before ... creatures that pose the single greatest threat to Azeroth as we know it. And perhaps most importantly, Malygos seems to have been afflicted with this peculiar illness as well.

That's really the part that's making this series so utterly fascinating. We know that regardless of what happens, Malygos will survive this novel, as will Ysera, Nozdormu, Alexstrasza and Neltharion. They have to survive, because they all lived to see current day -- and in the case of Malygos and Neltharion, perish in present day. Yet this does little to reassure anyone reading the novel that present day will continue as it always has. Kalecgos himself seems to be incredibly worried about the validity of the future, and whether or not the story he is participating in will turn out for the best or not.

And although he has his critics, each installment released has done nothing but solidify in my mind that Richard Knaak was absolutely the best choice to assign to this project. Knaak was the one who originally introduced the dragonflights to readers back in Day of the Dragon -- it's not only appropriate that he be writing this tale, but given his understand of characters that he helped create, it's really his tale to tell. And it's a beautifully told tale, even in all of the confusion. Knaak seems to be excelling here at doling out chunks of story that each have a solid beginning, middle, and end's worth of information, all the while leaving us at a point where we're dying to know what happens next.

This novel, as pieced out and parceled as it is, is telling us the tale of Azeroth's creation. It's one of the biggest mysteries that those that follow the lore have been trying to untangle. The order of the Titan's arrival on Azeroth, the exact involvement of the Old Gods, how closely the Titans were involved and the order in which they were involved with the creation of current day races and locations are all subjects that are being explored. One more incredibly important bit of information gleaned from this installment is the fact that this history, as strange and unsettling as it may be, is true history.

Review of Dawn of the Aspects, part three by Richard A Knaak
This isn't a mad vision of the past that Kalecgos is experiencing. What is being shown in this novel is what, in fact, happened all those thousands of years ago. And for some reason, this history has been covered up. Whether it's because of the horrific events playing out as the novel goes on, or because the Aspects simply cannot remember the time before they were Aspects has yet to be seen. And given Malygos' active part in this story, it may simply be that Malygos never filled the other Aspects in on what had happened.

As I said, it's a mystery. It's a really confusing, convoluted mystery. And where other Warcraft novels have been very straightforward in their telling of events, leaving just one or two glorious reveals for the end of the novel, Dawn of the Aspects appears to be riddled with them. On the one hand, it makes it all the more infuriating that one can't simply sit down and read through the whole book from beginning to end. On the other, it leaves a lot of time to look at what has happened in each section and try to puzzle out the meaning of the story as a whole in between section releases.

If you need one good reason, as a fan of the lore, to pick up this book ... well, I hate giving away spoilers in reviews. I try to actively avoid them. But I have just one word for those that are wondering whether or not they should plunk down the money for this book: Tyr. That's all I'm going to say about that, partially to avoid spoilers, mostly because it's still not quite certain what his role in this is. Rest assured, it appears to be a major one.

Dawn of the Aspects part three 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 fourth part of the novel should be available on or around May 20.


Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore

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