Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling remarks from my mad, muddled, meandering mind.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Audiobook Review: Durotan

On the recommendation of the MMO Gamer Chick, I picked up Durotan on Audible to listen to on my daily commute. Despite any misgivings I have about the evolution of World of Warcraft gameplay, there's no denying that Chris Metzen and the Blizzard creative team have built an epic world with nuanced depictions of characters and cultures. More nuanced, I dare say, than Tolkien or many other greats of speculative fiction. Christie Golden's fleshing out of Metzen's story is no exception. And Toby Longworth's excellent narration and portrayal of the characters kept me in rapt attention. I have never been partial to Orcs in Warcraft, but hearing the tale of how Thrall's father guided his Frostwolf clan through the hardships they faced leading up to their entrance into Azeroth was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

Changes and retcons, both intentional and unintentional, are common in the Warcraft universe, and Durotan is no exception. For exampe, the "bromance" of Orgrim Doomhammer and Durotar is given a different backstory. I noticed a few people doing Amazon reviews were critical of the changes made the "their" story. But the story changes a little with each retelling, and this not necessarily a bad thing.

Draenor (the world of the Orcs) is dying, and the spirits guiding the five elements are in pain. Life has always been tough for the proud Frostwolf clan of Frostfire Ridge, and it's only getting tougher. A Warlock named Gul'dan comes with promises of a land where fruit and grain is plentiful, and wild prey practically throws itself at Orcish arrows. But the promises come with a price. Are the Frostwolves prepared to pay it?

I listened to Durotan as an audiobook featuring Toby Longworth. His crisp narration helped whisk the story along, and I don't remember it dragging anywhere. A few of the accents he used seemed out of place to this amateur linguist, but served the goal of distinguishing the dialogue of multiple characters. Having recently listened to two Star Wars audiobooks, I had become accustomed to sound effects and music accompanying the narration, of which there was none here. However, through Mr. Longworth's delivery of Ms. Golden's words, I thrilled at the Frostwolves' proud moments and shared their heartbreaks. I grew to care about Durotan and his proud followers.

I had been anticipating the upcoming Warcraft movie already, being a lover of lore and history. But listening to this book has excited me for the potential of this story on the big screen, and even tempts me to return to Azeroth myself, which is Blizzard's hope, I am sure. Well done.
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