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Best order to read the Warcraft novels
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One of the questions I get asked a lot, is "What order is best to read the
Warcraft Novels?" I was on the Twisting Nether Blogcast a while back when Hydra, the co-host, put this in a new light that I had not thought about before. Hydra's issue was the first book she tried to read was the War of the Ancients Archive, but with limited prior knowledge of the Warcraft lore she quickly put it down. I figured it would be a good time to share the different ways which you can read the Warcraft novels.

In that follows I'll outline a few ways to order your reading of the Warcraft novels. The first order is in which they were published. Nothing fancy or arbitrary here just a simple calendar. So, in this system you would start with Of Blood and Honor and finish with Vol'Jin: Shadows of the Horde.

Title Date
1. Of Blood and Honor December 2000
2. Day of the Dragon February 2001
3. Lord of the Clans October 2001
4. The Last Guardian December 2001
War of the Ancients Trilogy
5. The Well of Eternity March 2004
6. The Demon Soul October 2004
7. The Sundering July 2005
8. Cycle of Hatred January 2006
9. Rise of the Horde December 2006
10. Tides of Darkness August 2007
11. Beyond the Dark Portal June 2008
12. Night of the Dragon November 2008
13. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King May 2009
14. Stormrage February 2010
15. The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm October 2010
16. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects July 2011
17. Woflheart September 2011
18. Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War August 2012
19. Dawn of the Aspects February-June 2013
19. Vol'Jin: Shadows of the Horde July 2013

The second way to read the books is by the order in which they happen within the Warcraft Universe. In this series, you would start with the events of the War of the Ancients Trilogy and make your way through to Vol'Jin: Shadows of the Horde. Now there is a subjective element to this list because three of the characters in the War of the Ancients are time travelers and if you are looking at the story from their timeline, the War of the Ancients would be read much later. It's really up to the reader, but I'll put both lists here. Believe it or not I would suggest the first list with time travel but its up to you fair reader. Consider the differences this way. The "without time travel" order is like trying to read The Silmarillion before The Hobbit. It can be done but puts a greater burden on the reader.


With time travel Without time travel
1. Rise of the Horde 1. Dawn of the Aspects
2. The Last Guardian 2. The Well of Eternity
3. Tides of Darkness 3. The Demon Soul
4. Beyond the Dark Portal 4. The Sundering
5. Day of the Dragon 5. Rise of the Horde
6. Of Blood and Honor 6. The Last Guardian
7. Lord of the Clans 7. Tides of Darkness
8. Arthas* 8. Beyond the Dark Portal
9. The Well of Eternity 9. Day of the Dragon
10. The Demon Soul 10. Of Blood and Honor
11. The Sundering 11. Lord of the Clans
12. Cycle of Hatred 12. Arthas*
13. Night of the Dragon 13. Cycle of Hatred
14. Stormrage 14. Night of the Dragon
15. The Shattering 15. Stormrage
16. Wolfheart 16. The Shattering
17. Thrall: TotA 17. Wolfheart
18. Tides of War 18. Thrall: TotA
19. Dawn of the Aspects 19. Tides of War
20. Vol'Jin 20. Vol'Jin

*The events of Arthas: Raise of the Lich King take place between the start of the Second War to Arthas becoming the Lich King. With a few scenes which are taking place at the beginning of Wrath of the Lich King Expansion. However the book core is a novelization of much of Warcraft 3 and its expansion, so I've chosen to put it there in the timeline.

The final way to the read Warcraft novels are from good to bad. To come up with the rating I looked at the community rating of each book from Goodreads as of 7/29/13

Title Goodreads rating
1. Rise of the Horde 4.06
2. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects 4.04
3. Lord of the Clans 4.01
4. Vol'Jin Shadows of the Horde 4.00
5. Dawn of the Aspects 3.97**
6. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King 3.96
7. War of the Ancients Trilogy*** Overall Average 3.96
The Well of Eternity 3.90
The Demon Soul 3.95
The Sundering 4.04
8. Tides of War 3.95
9. The Shattering 3.91
10. Of Blood and Honor 3.9
11. Beyond the Dark Portal 3.87
12. The Last Guardian 3.86
13. Tides of Darkness 3.78
14. Wolfheart 3.74
15. Day of the Dragon 3.72
16. Night of the Dragon 3.66
17. Stormrage 3.55
18. Cycle of Hatred 3.46

**Commutative rating of all five parts
**I've grouped the three books of War of the Ancients Trilogy together both because if your going to read them Blizzard already grouped them together and its hard to review one without that reflecting on the others.

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Overall, there is really no right or wrong way to read the Warcraft novels. My first Warcraft novel was Stormrage, which doesn't really make sense as a first novel, but it was a good jumping on point for me because I liked Warcraft 3, in which Malfurion plays a major role. The simplest recommendation I can give is to start with either theWarcraft Archive(which includes, Of Blood and Honor, Day of the Dragon, Lord of the Clans, and Last Guardian) or The Chronicles of War archive(which includes Raise of the Horde, Last Guardian, Tides of War, and Beyond the Dark Portal). The advantage of the Warcraft Archive is that is has the only print version Of Blood and Honor(its an thirteen year old ebook too but its costs $5.69 which for a short story I think is insane). The advantage of Chronicles of War is that is a more complete history of Warcraft leading up to and including the second war and also goes along nicely with the timeline "with time travel" list from above.

I hope that helps, you have any comments or questions feel free to leave them below.

73's

Update the original article did not include Dawn of the Aspects. Thank you to Richard Knaak for pointing out my oversight.
Comments
Comment thread »
Hi I just had to create account to thank you for this novel reading guide, it is probably the best on the internet i have spent few ours researching this and your Order with time travel is probably the most accurate one from what I could have read online.

The only two remarks that i can give you is:
- At the end where you mentioned "The Chronicles of War archive (which includes Raise of the Horde, Last Guardian, Tides of War, and Beyond the Dark Portal)"
The 3rd story is "Tides of Darkness" not Tides of War.

- From what i could have concluded the only thing about your list "With time travel" (which is my preference) is that maybe "Lord of Clans" and "Of Blood and Honor" should switch places, since most of the other guides seems to put them in that order.

I have order most of warcraft books and plan to read them all so that is why i took interest in finding the proper reading guide, i consider your "with time travel" to be the most reasonable one and that is why i just wanted to give you feedback :)

That's just my 2 cents.
Where would World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 go in this list? Or is Chronicles a summarized version of some books?