Warcraft: Durotan: The Official Movie Prequel

This is how I protect my virginity

By Patrick Tedder

Shit is about to get mad nerdy up in here. Just kidding guys. Or am I? Yes, yes I am. Seriously, I hate the term “nerd,” as I’m a big proponent of people liking what they like and that being alright, alright, alright. Still, since such a large community has embraced the idea of and term “nerd-culture,” I’m on board. This brings us to the question, “What is ‘nerdier’ than playing World of Warcraft?” Reading a book about it of course!

Smartass comments aside, I am new to WOW, having never played the game, I knew little to nothing about the fictional universe, but was all in for the upcoming film. To help get me and probably others like me, up to speed, the budget novel “Durotan” was created and released to bring folks to the theater with some idea of what’s going on. It’s not really necessary, but it adds a layer to the film (and perhaps the game?) that is enjoyable and welcome.

Christie Golden, seven-time New York Times bestselling author, transports us to the Orc world of Draenor, interweaving the fantasy lore with practical descriptions and action. The result is easy to pick up even if you’ve never read a fantasy novel. At no point did I feel like I was swimming in descriptions that either made no sense or were too convoluted as to be intimidating or silly.

The story follows one of the main protagonists in the Warcraft film: Durotan. This isn’t the full-fledged warrior you’ll see on screen though, this is our hero as he learns to become a leader of the valiant Frostwolf clan. He like many of the other orcs in the clan get proper exposure, allowing for each to feel unique, while showing depth of character.

Durotan is barely chieftan before the magic starts to hit the fan. In addition to inexperience, “Red Walkers” a ruthless and unknown clan, start to cause chaos and signal change for the long heralded Frostwolf tribe. The mysterious introduction of “Gul’dan” a shadowy orc aligned with dangerous magic offers the Frostwolves solace, but at what cost? Furthermore, the land itself seems to be turning against those who’ve depended on it for so long, creating a real sense of primitive tension throughout the story.

The meat of the novel follows our protagonist as he and the Frostwolf clan travel their world in search of hope, desperately seeking to hold onto their traditions while the world of Draenor becomes increasingly dangerous and unfamiliar. To do so, the mighty Durotan will have to rely upon his best friend Orgrim Doomhammer (in the film), Drek’Thar a father-like Shaman and the strong female character Draka (in the film also), as well as others.

In addition to lively action, some with its share of surprises, there’s real heart at the core of the Frostwolf clan and main characters. By book’s end, it’s clear that they are not only sturdy badasses, but respectful warriors just as likely to show kindness and respect amongst their Spartanesque traditions. It takes very little time for the clan to become likeable and at their most charismatic, enviable; what guy wouldn’t want to be a badass primal orc?

While it’s hardly Shakespeare, and at 300 pages, the tribulations that the Wolfclan face begin to become slightly tiresome, Golden has helped to expand upon a WOW universe that should both sate fans and welcome newcomers alike. The novel stands alone as entertaining and a further credit to Golden, is meaty enough that one doesn’t need to rush out to see the latest film to get the complete story.

Verdict:

At $7.99 U.S., this is a worthwhile summer read for any fan of fantasy, the game or upcoming film.

Publisher: Titan Books; (May 3, 2016), Language: English