While I could simply review part five of the book, talk about my impressions and what the installment was like, to me it makes far more sense to talk about the book as a whole, now that I've finished the whole thing. After all, this was a different kind of experiment -- an entirely digital publication doled out in monthly installments for a small fee. Was the experiment worth it? Did the story hold water in the end? And perhaps most importantly -- was the story any good?
Dawn of the Aspects is, however, only available in digital format -- which made reading a slightly less cozy experience until I downloaded a e-reader for my cell phone. I realize I may be one of the last bastions of people-who-enjoy-putting-things-on-bookshelves, however -- so those of you that are fans of taking a Kindle or a Nook or a tablet wherever you go will find it incredibly convenient. I miss having a book to smell. I'm weird that way.
As for the book itself, part five manages to wrap up every loose end presented by the end of the installment, even if some of those resolutions had me raising an eyebrow. The Aspects and their creation was not the simple matter that was suggested in prior written lore. It was something a little more complex than that -- and the fact that there is such a vast difference between what we thought we knew, and what was actual fact, makes me wonder how much of that set-in-stone history we'd taken for granted is actually correct.
It's a pretty good indicator that a book is good when you're worried about the characters while reading, even though you're certain it's all going to end well. And as always, Knaak managed to handle the dragons and their exploits with flawless precision. No ancillary characters, here -- it's all about characters we are incredibly familiar with, and they're all written perfectly.
Did it end the way I expected? Absolutely not. Dawn of the Aspects didn't just resolve the creation of the Aspects, it also resolved where, exactly, dragons fit in on Azeroth, now that Cataclysm is over. And the answer to that question was definitely not what I'd expected at all. In fact, Dawn managed to raise just as many questions as it answered -- but they aren't questions of any immediate urgency that need to be addressed. They're just fodder material for more tinfoil-hat theories down the road.
I have my reservations about it. On the one hand, it was incredibly frustrating to be left with a once-a-month cliffhanger that wouldn't be addressed for another 30 days. On the other, it gave me time to really think about what had occurred in the section I'd just read, and time to try and puzzle out what happened next before the next installment was released. This is the sort of thing that's right up my alley, as a reader -- I like puzzling out stories. But it's not everyone's cup of tea, and I'd be interested in seeing how the rest of the world reacted to the project.
Is Dawn of the Aspects worth the read? Absolutely. It's a fascinating, well put together story that manages to answer a lot of those loose threads left hanging by that final cinematic after Deathwing's demise in Cataclysm. It also explains a lot of those mysteries I never thought we'd see the answer to -- like Tyr and how he factored into the rest of the Titan keepers and watchers. It even answers the question of what happened to Tyr's hand, and why it was replaced by the iconic silver hand that inspired the Knights of the Silver Hand to take their name.
Dawn of the Aspects part five will be available for purchase in several different ebook formats for $1.99 on Monday, June 17. Head to Simon & Schuster to purchase the installment in ebook format -- and if you're looking for a different format for your e-reader, the website has links to several different retailers on their listing page. While there's currently no information on a print edition of the novel, I do hope we see one eventually -- that empty spot on my bookshelf is crying for a novel!