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Literature / Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde

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Warchief Garrosh's assassins strike at Vol'jin, leaving him at death's door. But fate smiles on the wounded Darkspear leader when renowned brewmaster Chen Stormstout transports him to the safety of an isolated mountain monastery. There, Vol'jin wrestles with old hatreds smoldering between the Alliance and the Horde as he struggles to recover alongside a mysterious human soldier.Yet this is only the beginning of Vol'jin's worries. Soon, he becomes embroiled in an invasion of Pandaria launched by the Zandalari, revered trolls driven by dreams of conquest and power. This ancient tribe offers Vol'jin a chance to seize the glory that is the birthright of all trolls... an offer made even more tempting after Garrosh's brazen treachery.

Amid these troubling events, Vol'jin is rocked by intense visions depicting his race's grand history. As he questions where his loyalties lie, he knows he must make a choice about his own destiny that could save his people or damn them to languish under Garrosh's heel.

Part of the Warcraft Expanded Universe

This volume contains the following tropes:

  • Acrofatic: The Pandaren.
  • Archenemy: Garrosh for Vol'jin.
  • Badass Adorable: Li Li is this to other Panderan. Which means she's DOUBLY cute.
  • Action Girl: Li Li.
  • The Archer: Tyrathan.
  • Arc Villain: Kha'lak is far from Vol'jin's Arch-Enemy, but is the main antagonist in this book.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: As Vol'jin is preparing to set out on a rescue mission for Tyrathan in which he has little chance of survival and less chance of success, Taran Zhu asks him if he's motivated by a desire to save Tyrathan or keep up his perception of himself as a hero.
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  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Vol'jin and Chen, on the cover but not in the story.
  • Bigger Bad: Lei Shen to the Zandalari. Additionally, Garrosh's desire to have Vol'jin killed sets the story in motion.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The monks begin to call Vol'jin "Vol'jian" as he starts to train with them. Chen states that the word "jian" has many meanings, mostly about greatness. It started out towards Vol'jin's blunders in his training, but would come to mean more.
  • Black Magic
  • Blood Knight: Vol'jin is this. So is Tyrathan.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Averted. The Panderan philosophies are pretty close to Taoism.
    • Vol'jin, amusingly, comes off as this to the Panderan due to his Blood Knight tendencies.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Vol'jin uses the hand-to-hand combat skills he developed with the Shado-pan to kill Kha'lak during their final duel.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the book cover, Vol'jin and Chen are Back-to-Back Badasses. This scene never happens in the book, and Vol'jin never fights with a spear like on the cover, but either with a glaive or bow. Also, while the cover will make you believe those two are Bash Brothers, Vol'jin actually is this moreso with Tyrathan.
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  • Everyone Has Standards: Vol'jin wonders if using the same magic that made the Sauroks would help against his enemies, but realizes that he would be corrupted in the process.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: The Mogu are described in this regard.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Pandera is even more Medieval China than usual.
  • Fantastic Racism: A big part of the book.
    • Naturally, there's a fair amount between the Horde and the Alliance.
    • The different troll tribes, while united, don't fully trust each other, and the Zandalari tend to look down on the other groups.
    • The Mogu and the Zandalari. It's clear that the Mogu don't think much more of the Zandalari than the other races they enslaved, and the Zandalari are using the Mogu for their own purposes.
    • Even some of the Pandaren are guilty of this. Some Pandaria natives look down on Pandaren born on the Wandering Isle or those of their own land who develop a wanderlust or "chasing the turtle." Some go so far as to call these pandaren "wild dogs".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The China elements of Panderia are on full display.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Vol'jin and Tyrathan.
  • Foil: Tyrathan is this to Vol'jin.
  • Healing Factor: Somewhat downplayed; Vol'jin has one but it still takes a fairly long time to recover from the wounds that almost killed him. This is actually something of a plot point, as the book seems to imply the trolls' regeneration ability is tied to their worship of the Loa, their gods. Vol'jin begins to realize he has been doubting himself and not thinking of himself as a true troll, and once he gets past this, his wounds heal faster.
  • The Last Dance: Vol'jin, Tyrathan and the others defending the Shado-pan Monastery think they won't survive the final attack of the Zandalari, but they do.
  • Our Trolls Are Different: Much of the plot involves the split between Vol'jin's tribe and the Zandalari.
  • Pals With Bwonsamdi: Vol'Jin has this relationship with his god.
  • Petting Zoo People: The Panderan.
  • The Promise: Both Vol'jin and Tyrathan make one to each other. Tyrathan promises Vol'jin that he personally will craft the arrow Vol'jin uses to kill Garrosh, and Vol'jin promises that he will kill whoever kills Tyrathan one day.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Mogu and their Zandalari allies don't always get along, fairly aware that each is using the other for their own ends.
  • That Man Is Dead: Vol'jin and Tyrathan try to do this to their old identities. It doesn't stick.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Tyrathan is ashamed he's this. Vol'jin is gleefully this. Averted when both realize they're more than this.
  • War Is Hell
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Vol'jin had this relationship with his dad (and still does due to necromancy). Oddly, Vol'jin's dad seems to praise him quite a bit.

Example of: