Bayard Wu (cover)
July 14th, 2020
Hardcover, Digital, Audiobook
Shadows Rising is a novel written by Madeleine Roux taking place after the events of Battle for Azeroth, serving as a tie-in to Shadowlands. It focuses on characters from the Alliance, Horde, and Sylvanas Windrunner, with a primary focus on the Horde.
"The Horde is nothing!" With those infamous words, Sylvanas Windrunner betrayed and abandoned the Horde she vowed to serve. The Dark Lady and her forces now work in the shadows as both the Horde and Alliance race to uncover her next move, including her own sister, Alleria. Struggling to shoulder the crushing weight of leadership, King Anduin entrusts the void elf and High Exarch Turalyon to uncover Sylvanas's whereabouts.
The Horde now stands at a crossroads. The various factions form a council, leaving the mantle of warchief to rest. Thrall, Lor'themar Theron, Baine Bloodhoof, First Arcanist Thalyssra, and many other familiar faces rise to this new challenge. But the threats are numerous, and the distrust runs too deep.
When the council is derailed by a failed assassination attempt on Talanji, the Zandalari queen and a key ally, Thrall and the rest of the Horde leaders are forced into action. They empower the young troll shaman Zekhan, still grieving the loss of Varok Saurfang, with a critical mission to aid Talanji and help uncover the rising threat against her.
As Zekhan and Talanji work to save Bwonsamdi, their journey will be a key turning point in bolstering the Horde against the coming darkness and finding themselves along the way. Failure to save their allies and the trickster god will surely doom the Horde, but through success, they may rediscover what makes the Horde strong.
- Eastern Kingdoms
- Arathi Highlands
- Hillsbrad Foothills (mentioned)
- Elwynn Forest
- Tirisfal Glades (mentioned)
- Kul Tiras
- Great Sea
- Vol'dun (mentioned)
- Eastern Kingdoms
The novel's main plot takes place after the formation of the Horde Council at the end of patch 8.3. The epilogue plays out moments after Sylvanas Windrunner's battle against Bolvar Fordragon, before the events of the Shadowlands pre-patch. It is not stated how much time elapses between the main story and the epilogue.
Blizzard approached Madeleine Roux about writing Shadows Rising around April 2019, and she worked on the book over the following summer and fall. Writing the first draft was a relatively easy process which only took about a month, which she attributes to the detailed outline Blizzard provided and the extensive backstories that already existed for the world and characters. She strove to write at least 1-2 chapters every day. In addition to simply asking Blizzard's writing team directly, Roux researched parts of the lore she was less familiar with by consulting Wowpedia, Wowhead, and fanmade lore videos. During the writing process, she kept her WoW characters placed in different in-game locations at all times so she could get a feel for the ambience of different zones and describe specific details of the environment. She also played Classic "pretty hardcore" during this time, and so included a few references to vanilla World of Warcraft in the book. To her amusement, the fact that she was frequently logged into retail for the sake of book research inadvertently annoyed one of her Classic guild members until she explained the situation to him (she subsequently started using the "appear offline" option while working on the novel).
During the book's development, Roux was conscious of the criticism that had been directed against previous expansion prequel novels (namely The Shattering and Before the Storm) for containing information that's essential to the plot of World of Warcraft but is not communicated in-game, which could lead to fans feeling lost if they didn't read the books. For this reason, Roux insisted during meetings with the writing team that Shadows Rising couldn't be something that players would have to read, and there are some events which were excluded from the book as a result. However, Roux still strove to make the novel feel like something that lore-interested players would want to read by having it give unique insight into the various characters and their development; in short, "something that feels really essential but isn't".
The original draft of the book included the death of a significant character, but that section of the novel was rewritten after the game's writing team decided that they needed the character to come back in Shadowlands.
Retcons and discrepancies
- A Thousand Years of War established that the last time Alleria saw her son Arator before disappearing to Draenor was when he was only a few months old. However, in Shadows Rising, she recalls seeing Arator pick up his first blade and play at being a soldier.
- The names of the Gilded Rose, the Prisoners' Pass, and Shoaljai are misspelled as "Guilded Rose", "Prisoner's Pass", and "Shoal'jai", respectively.
- After being raised as a Forsaken in-game, Sira tells Horde players that the newly resurrected night elves have their own reasons for accepting the Val'kyr's gift. However, when confronted by Tyrande in Shadows Rising, Sira claims that she did not choose to return.
- When asked if this was a deliberate retcon, Madeleine Roux stated "I'd like to rebuttal with 'Not every character tells the truth all the time'. We're not in Sira's head in that moment. We don't know what she's thinking or why she's saying what she's saying. She is in a prison with a woman who is probably coming to execute her. [...] People react differently in different situations. The Sira you see alone in a jail cell surrounded by enemies is not the Sira you see swaggering around in the jungle giving guff to Nathanos, right? Like, circumstances matter and context matters, so to me, in that moment [...] it's like every circumstance has to come together in that moment for [Tyrande] to not [kill Sira]. [...] So that's what I would say: people lie a lot and especially when self-preservation is potentially on the line. So yeah, and I think hopefully it's obvious that Sira does not act the same way in that scene as she would if she was with her allies. She's responding to context, is what I would say in that scenario."
Notes and trivia
- The novel includes a hidden tribute to a deceased World of Warcraft player: while working on the book, Roux saw a post from a Reddit user talking about one of their family members who was a big fan of WoW and had recently passed away. She reached out to the user and received permission to include their family member's WoW character in the book.
- Roux originally wanted to expand more on the relationship between Lor'themar Theron and First Arcanist Thalyssra in the book, but wasn't able to fit it in as it wouldn't match the pacing and the book already included a separate romance subplot. Only a few hints of the relationship are present in the novel (notably when one of Mathias' SI:7 spies finds the passage "My dusk lily bends more each day towards the sun" in Lor'themar's personal writings). Roux instead ended up exploring Lor'themar and Thalyssra's relationship in the short story A Moment in Verse.
- Mayla Highmountain and Overlord Geya'rah are the only Horde racial leaders not mentioned in the book.
- The audiobook version is read by Susan Wokoma, Talanji's voice actor.
- The English language Audiobook was released on 14th July in America alongside the written version, it was not made available on the UK or EU versions of Audible as of the 2nd August 2020. Neither Blizzard nor the Publisher have made a statement regarding this.
- ^ a b c Elizabeth Harper 2020-02-07. Read an excerpt of Shadowlands prequel novel Shadows Rising, featuring Zappy Boi. Blizzard Watch. Retrieved on 2020-02-07.
- ^ Episode 201 - Madeleine Roux World of Warcraft Shadows Rising (around 00:37:25). Nerds With Friends (2020-06-02). Retrieved on 2020-06-04.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (20:00 - 20:40) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (22:10 - 22:25) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (39:25 - 41:05) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Morally Grey Podcast 2020-06-26. Interview with Madeleine Roux! (27:00 - 28:15). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Box and Jacquilope 2020-07-03. The Kun-Lai Campfire: Shadows Rising Interview with Madeleine Roux (01:36:25). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-07-05.
- ^ Madeleine Roux on Twitter (2020-06-25). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (11:15 - 14:00) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Morally Grey Podcast 2020-06-26. Interview with Madeleine Roux! (22:00 - 25:50). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Box and Jacquilope 2020-07-03. The Kun-Lai Campfire: Shadows Rising Interview with Madeleine Roux (24:10). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-07-05.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (22:50 - 24:10) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Morally Grey Podcast 2020-06-26. Interview with Madeleine Roux! (01:03:55 - 01:13:10). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Accolonn 2020-06-28. Interview with Shadows Rising Author Madeleine Roux (01:01:00). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-07-05.
- ^ Episode 201 - Madeleine Roux World of Warcraft Shadows Rising (around 01:06:30). Nerds With Friends (2020-06-02). Retrieved on 2020-06-04.
- ^ A Thousand Years of War, pg. 16
- ^ Jocelyn Kearney 2020-07-24. FAZ 127 – “The Madeleine Interview” (41:05 - 44:35). TGI Studios. Retrieved on 2020-08-06.
- ^ Lawrencium 2020-03-03. LAWRENCIUM CHATS WITH MADELEINE ROUX - Talking About Shadows Rising, WoW, and More! (41:25). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-07-05.
- ^ Episode 201 - Madeleine Roux World of Warcraft Shadows Rising (around 27:00). Nerds With Friends (2020-06-02). Retrieved on 2020-06-04.
- ^ CC talks with Madeleine Roux! | Character Craft Podcast (27:00 - 28:05) (2020-06-23). Retrieved on 2020-06-26.
- ^ Lawrencium 2020-03-03. LAWRENCIUM CHATS WITH MADELEINE ROUX - Talking About Shadows Rising, WoW, and More! (36:00). YouTube. Retrieved on 2020-07-05.
- ^ World of Warcraft on Twitter (2020-07-06). Retrieved on 2020-07-06.