Well, I finally got around to reading War Crimes. I didn’t go get it right away when it first came out in early May because I knew I’d want to read it right away, and I’d decided I’d rather save it to be a book to read on the airplane to France at the end of the month. When I went to the bookstore a few days before we left, however, there weren’t any copies in stock — and I didn’t have the time to wait for one to be shipped in from another location (I bought the latest Brandon Sanderson tome, Words of Radiance, instead). I looked in the airport bookstores for it, but didn’t find it. When we got back to Canada last week, I decided to look for it at the public library first — I’m contemplating culling my personal library when I unpack it from storage after our upcoming move, and as much as I have enjoyed the WoW books that I’ve read, they aren’t among the books that I love too much to give away, so why buy a book that I know I’m just going to discard soon? But the library didn’t have it at all, not even at another branch from which I could have requested it. So I tried the bookstore again, and got the only copy they had in stock.
War Crimes was a good, solid read. I have one major quibble with the writing itself — the continual shouting of “With respect, I protest!” got annoying rather quickly. I thought that surely neither Tyrande nor Baine should really have to shout to be heard so very often, and I probably would have been less annoyed if they had always “interrupted” instead. That aside, I enjoyed seeing a fiercer side of Tyrande — with only a minimal appearance from Malfurion — and a softer side of Sylvanas. I wondered/hoped for a time if we might see the effects of the side-plot with Sylvanas reflected in the game somehow; the way that plot wrapped up, we probably won’t see any effect on Sylvanas in-game, but it would still be nice to see the final effects for her co-conspirator appear in the game. I love, love the way Golden writes Baine and Anduin. I was glad to see Jaina finally beginning to heal properly. And Wrathion, oh Wrathion, you are such a brat!
I liked the use of the Vision of Time device to show events from the past. I didn’t really understand why Tyrande chose to show the Vision of the Hour of Twilight at the end of
Thrall Go’el’s testimony, though, until I read Anne Stickney’s commentary on the book (part 1, part 2). That Vision showed the August Celestial jury what Thrall really did in choosing to move on from Warchief to World Shaman; it absolves Thrall of the choices made by Garrosh by showing that the world would have been even worse off had Go’el not done as he did. I had been expecting Baine to call a witness that would allow him to show the “Honor, Krom’gar, never forsake it!” moment from Stonetalon Mountains in a Vision and was surprised that it was not shown. I suppose, though, that that moment would actually have detrimented Baine’s case, showing how Garrosh had changed from better to worse, when Baine was arguing that Garrosh could still change from worse to better. Most of the Visions/witnesses and their testimonies were familiar to me, but I did not recognize the one about magnataur being used in a battle in Ashenvale. I don’t remember that from playing through post-Shattering Ashenvale as Horde. Is that event something that only Alliance players see as they quest through Ashenvale, or is it something that happens in a short story or in one of the novels I haven’t read yet (Stormrage or Wolfheart)?