When starting to read Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Sure, I have heard of World of Warcraft(R), have heard a little bit here and there about what is involved in the MMPORG, but have not taken part in the gaming. I am also a little familiar with Ms. Golden's writing - at least familiar enough to read Thrall if not enough before starting this book to say one way or another if I was, as yet, a fan. What I took away from reading Thrall is that I am more receptive to both WOW and further reading of Ms. Golden's books.
I enjoyed a few things about the book. The first is the vividness that brings forth the world, the characters, and the storyline. The prints in the back are a bonus in that they flesh out some details, rather than detracting from the storyline.
Second is/are the characters. What I really like about the characters - Thrall, Ysera, Alexstrasza, Kalecgos, Tyrygosa, and others - are not perfect. They struggle, they doubt, and they go on doing what must be done. Thrall, for me, is a favorite because of the past he had and seeing those glimpses as opposed to what he is trying to do in the storyline shows the yin-yang that makes up the whole of the character. The not so good characters are just as "good" - they provide a balance to the others.
Lastly, what I came away with from the book is that it can be read both independently of the WOW game by those who have not played World of Warcraft(R) as well as giving the Cataclysm expansion another facet for those who are part of WOW.
When Azeroth was young, the noble titans appointed the five great dragonflights to safeguard the budding world. Each of the flights' leaders was imbued with a portion of the titans' vast cosmic powers. Together, these majestic Dragon Aspects committed themselves to thwarting any force that threatened the safety of the WORLD OF WARCRAFT.
Over ten thousand years ago, a betrayal by the maddened black Dragon Aspect, Deathwing, shattered the strength and unity of the dragonflights. His most recent assault on Azeroth—the Cataclysm—has left the world in turmoil. At the Maelstrom, the center of Azeroth's instability, former Horde warchief Thrall and other accomplished shaman struggle to keep the world from tearing apart in the wake of Deathwing's attack. Yet a battle also rages within Thrall regarding his new life in the shamanic Earthen Ring, hampering his normally unparalleled abilities.
Unable to focus on his duties, Thrall undertakes a seemingly menial task from an unexpected source: the mysterious green Dragon Aspect, Ysera. This humble endeavor soon becomes a journey spanning the lands of Azeroth and the timeways of history itself, bringing Thrall into contact with ancient dragonflights. Divided by conflict and mistrust, these dragons have become easy prey to a horrific new weapon unleashed by Deathwing's servants . . . a living nightmare engineered to exterminate Azeroth's winged guardians.
Of even greater concern is a bleak and terrifying possible future glimpsed by Ysera: the Hour of Twilight. Before this apocalyptic vision comes to pass, Thrall must purge his own doubts in order to discover his purpose in the world and aid Azeroth's dragonflights as they face the Twilight of the Aspects.