Audiobook Review: Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Durotan audioWarcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

Mogsy’s Rating (Overall): 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Media Tie-In

Series: Warcraft

Publisher: Audible Studios (May 3, 2016)

Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrator: Toby Longworth

Warcraft: Durotan is the official prequel novel to the Warcraft movie, set to hit theaters later this summer. As a fan of the game franchise, I almost feel like I have an obligation to go out and see this film, though whether or not it’ll actually be good remains to be seen. Call me cynical, but I’ve been burned way too many times by underwhelming movie adaptations, and so while part of me is excited to finally see one of my favorite games come to life on the big screen, I will also remain cautiously optimistic for now.

Still, I picked up this book because I knew I would want the background story. A lot of people don’t realize that Warcraft is more than just a game series—it’s also an immense, indescribably huge body of lore. Its world encompasses a countless number of locations and characters, and its history stretches back thousands upon thousands of years. And as much as I enjoy playing the games, in some ways I enjoy hearing about the stories even more. I love the epic tales of legendary heroes, reading about their great deeds and how they made their mark on the world of Warcraft and its history.

The Frostwolf orc clan chieftain Durotan is one of these legendary figures. The eponymous main character of this novel will also be one of the key players in the upcoming film, and this is the story of how he led his people out of the dying lands of Draenor to find their home in a new world.

When the book begins, Draenor is already on the brink of destruction. With the spirits of the elements weakened, winters are becoming increasingly harsher and the dwindling herds mean that the orcs will soon have to abandon their territory or face death by exposure and starvation. However, when a mysterious warlock named Gul’dan arrives with an offer to save them, the Frostwolf Clan decides to turn him away, preferring to maintain their independence. No stranger to tough times, Durotan believes it would be better to take their chances on their own rather than join the outsider’s “Horde”, especially since he does not trust the warlock. But while the Frostwolf may be one of the last clans to hold out, things in Draenor are going from bad to worse, and soon they too will have to make a decision on how to move forward, or risk dying with their homeland.

Believe it or not, finishing this book actually made me feel more confident about the movie. The events portrayed here offer us a solid foundation and a promise of some fantastic things to come. But then again, it’s Christie Golden. She’s written some of my favorite Warcraft and Star Wars novels of all time, and I knew even before going into this novel that it was going to be great. I’m beyond excited that this was everything I expected, especially since Durotan’s story was one that I’ve always wanted to get to know better.

I’m also pleased that this novel was entirely about the orcs. I say this even as a diehard Ally, as I honestly believe not enough attention is being given to the races of the Horde when it comes to media tie-ins, plus fantasy in general can be so human-centric. It’s easy to get caught up in the faction pride sometimes, reducing the “other guys” to nothing more but enemies to kill, but the truth is, orcs are a complex race with values deeply rooted in their society and culture. We get to see many examples of this in Warcraft: Durotan, as our protagonist realizes that being a leader is about more than just his strength and pride. Wisdom is just as important, as is compassion—even for your enemies. Durotan often finds himself torn between his honor and what he knows is best for his people, but knowing when to listen and when you have to sacrifice for the greater good are just some of the lessons he learns first as the Frostwolf’s chieftain, and then as a husband and a father-to-be. This book is simply filled to the brim with feels.

Kudos also goes to Toby Longworth for doing a superb job narrating the audio version. He has a very strong voice, great for reading fantasy novels and perfect for capturing the personalities of larger-than-life characters like Durotan. In addition, this audiobook was very easy to get into; at seven-and-a-half hours in length, I finished this one in good time, probably within two or three listening sessions. Finally, the audiobook ends with an audio excerpt of the “sequel”, which is the novelization of the movie itself, also written by Christie Golden.

If you plan on seeing Warcraft, I highly recommend picking up Warcraft: Durotan first, because it shows a larger picture and puts some of the movie’s events in context. Lore hounds will also love this book, especially if you want deeper insight into those who had a hand in shaping the face of Azeroth. All told, this is a wonderful, fascinating look into the life of Durotan, who is the loving mate of Draka, a contemporary of Orgrim Doomhammer, and the future father of one of Warcraft’s most prominent characters.

Story: 4-stars | Performance: 4-5stars | Overall: 4-stars

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24 Comments on “Audiobook Review: Warcraft: Durotan by Christie Golden

    • I am reeeeaaaally hoping it won’t. Granted, I think they missed their opportunity since Warcraft reached its heyday five or six years back, and if they were making a movie, they really should have done it ages ago. Still, I hear early reviews from critics are quite positive so that’s helping me keep my hopes up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • The weird thing is that I thought the same of the Angry Birds movie that came out recently – YEARS after it was relevant. And yet again, mostly positive reviews? O.o So you never know!

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        • There’s definitely that! Angry Birds does look cute! I think they’ll have the advantage of drawing in the younger crowd and families who will bring their kids, Warcraft may have to fight a bit harder to entice the non-gaming audiences to give it a go 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I admit I skipped much of the story while playing Warcraft. I’m glad the book was good though, gives me hope for the movie. Most video game movies gave been unimpressive. Yeah, it is strange that they picked the Orcs. But then again there are too many Elves.

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    • Whaaaaa you skipped most of the story? LOL, I am internally screaming in horror – just kidding 😉 To be honest, even though I pay attention to the lore while playing, there’s so much of it that some of it goes in one ear and out the other. So this book was a good refresher for me.

      And the choice of Orcs actually makes a lot of sense since the setting of the movie appears to be going back to the time of strategy games, so the conflict is between the orcs and humans. No night elves in the movie, which makes me a little sad since I play one as my main 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. For some reason the whole game to movie adaptation seems more likely to go wrong, but I’m not a gamer, so I have any real basis for that! Glad that audiobook worked! Hopefully that means they will do a good job with the movie

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    • I can’t think of many good games to movies adaptations, so I can’t fault you for thinking that 😛 I do think that if Warcraft rocks it, I’ll feel more confident for future ones, like the upcoming Assassin’s Creed (another one I’m really looking forward to!)

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  3. Having seen some trailers for the movie, I’m of course curious – and the fact that the movie promises to be visually stunning helps a great deal. Now I think I could try this book to prepare myself for the experience… Thanks for sharing!

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    • The more trailers I see, the more excited I get. I’ll admit the first few looks at the movie didn’t really impress me, but either they’re just showing off more of the goods or their marketing team is just getting better, lol 😀

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  4. I would say the trepidation over movie adaptations is because they try to produce movies based on games a that have only a thin plot, at best. Case in point: the upcoming Angry Birds movie. However, as Mogsy pointed out. Warcraft has a rich lore, including several volumes of tie-in fiction. And the games (not just WoW and its expansions, but the three Real-time strategy games) all have full storylines associated with them; all this giving Azeroth a sense of history and depth not present in, say, Doom or Mario Bros.

    Now, the Warcraft may still suck. I am also cautiously optimistic, though. I just downloaded the book on Audible. Thanks for the recommendation, Mogsy. 🙂

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    • That’s a really good point. The movie makers can only work with what they have, and there’s already a good body of lore for them to draw on when it comes to Warcraft. Then again, that didn’t work so well for the D&D movies 😀 So yeah, I think it can go either way. These days with better CGI, they do have visuals on their side. My jaw dropped the first time I saw Stormwind in the trailers.

      Anyway, so glad you decided to give the audio a shot! I hope you enjoy! 🙂

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  5. I was so excited when I first heard of the Warcraft movie! I think that doing a prequel novel to movie – rather than a novel adaptation of the movie – is a great idea. I plan on seeing it when it comes out, and based on the trailers I’ve seen so far, I think it looks good! And hopefully it will be! (Fingers crossed) Depending on how my TBR is looking at the time, may pick this up before I see it.

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    • Well, they are doing both – prequel novel, AND the novelization 🙂 Still don’t know if I’ll give the latter a shot yet, either way I’ll have to watch the movie first! Maybe we can compare notes once we’ve both seen it, lol 😀

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      • Unless it’s a writer I love, I’d pass on the noilzation too. What, it comes out June 10?! I just checked. Okay, now way I read this prequel blind, but it will interesting to see how my experience (no gameplay or knowledge of WoW lore) verse yours (WoW players, knowledge of lore, and read many of the books) of the movie will compare.

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        • The novelization will be written by Golden as well. Like I said there was also a small audio excerpt of it at the end of this one, but I turned it off immediately because I don’t want any spoilers for the movie 😀

          Picking up this prequel blind on the other hand, will probably be okay. I know you didn’t play WoW but just wondering if you played any of the RTS games? I believe the movie will actually be based on the events of that early era or thereabouts, way before WoW. 😀

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          • When it comes to being a video-game fanboy, Nintendo is #1 for me. The only company that comes to them though is Blizzard. However, I never actually played Warcraft! 😦 I played a TON of Starcraft when I was a kid, but I already had that RTS from Blizzard, and didn’t know anything about Warcraft at the time, so I didn’t see the point in getting into another one. Stupid, naive younger me :/

            You know, I actually did see one of those battle chest packs in a store the other day…

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

  7. I’ve never been a fan of orcs or the horde until I read Christie Golden’s Lord of the Clans and this book. I’m assuming that Thrall’s story will be the next movie in line after ‘Warcraft’. That wouldn’t be a bad follow up.

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  8. Can u summarize the move warcraft:durotan for me pls?? I watch the movie and I really love it . that’s why I choose the novel in my project at school. But its really hard for me to understand the whole story . I’m a filipino I only know basic english. Hope u can help me. Thanks a lot.

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