I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much. So before I got the real book, I read the sample, and boy, was I interested. If you liked the sample, and the lore of world of Warcraft, this book is your best bet. I can't stress enough how mind blowing this was, it really puts into perspective how big the world of Warcraft really is, and everything behind it. It will teach you mostly everything up to the dark portal - from the great sundering to The Void Lords and The Light, all the way to how Sargeras became The Fallen Titan, and why he went on his Burning Crusade. It even explains how the worgen became worgen and the Curse of Flesh, as well as it covering the pantheon, how the cosmos game to be and more! This book was great, astonishing actually. You will love this if you like wow lore.
Amateurish writing style; great background and lore
This is a review of the electronic addition. I have not yet seen a print copy. About 400 pages.
The Chronicle is a cursory history of the universe of World of Warcraft from the time of its creation down to the opening of the Dark Portal. It covers the origins of the universe, its cosmology, the origins of the Titans, the creation of the Old Gods, and the ordering of Azeroth.
The writing quality is somewhere between poor and fair. It could have been written by a high school sophomore. The entire book would have benefited from the judicious use of a dictionary, thesaurus, and style guide. It should have been proofed by a professional editor. One particularly annoying example of the bad prose is the overuse of the word "decimated" when the authors actually mean "destroyed" or "defeated."
The Chronicle might better have been presented as a summary of the Disks of Norgannon, but they didn't do that.
The history presented in the Chronicle is necessarily brief, barely covering the outlines of the material in the World of Warcraft books. What is presented, however, is a glimpse into the enormous background and vision behind the mythos of World of Warcraft. The Chronicle also answers, albeit obliquely, some of the more interesting questions about the races and peoples of the universe, such as whether Elves, Dragons, and Draenei were subjected to the Curse of Flesh, the current location and condition of the Titans, and the difference between arcane magic and shadow magic.
You will also learn quite a bit about Sargeras and his motives for destroying the universe, the creation of the Burning Legion, and how and why Sargeras went to Argos to look for his generals. There is also an explanation of why Sargeras needs a portal to come to Azeroth instead of simply traveling there like any other Titan would.
We also learn the origin of the Wild Gods, including the Loa.
What you will not find is details of the defeat of Sargeras at the Well of Eternity or any mention of time travelers or particular adventurers. You will again be told how Illidan stole vials of water from the Well of Eternity and you might learn a little more about what happened to those vials and whether any are left.
The era following the Sundering takes up about half the book. It recounts the destruction of Kalimdor, the creation of the modern races of Azeroth, and the rise and fall of Azeroth's kingdoms. If you want to know how the Worgen came to be, you will find it here. What you will not find is why there are no Elven Worgen in the game. In fact, what becomes very clear is that the various races represented in the game are really small subsets of the races overall. Thus, you only play an Ironforge Dwarf, a Stormwind human, a Mulgore Tauren, etc, even though there are other Dwarves, humans, Tauren, and other races distributed throughout Azeroth.
One could, in theory, role play a Yaungol Tauren, but you would not look like one and you would have to come up with an explanation of why you grew up in Mulgore. You might as well claim to be a Furbolg. Someone wanting to play a Dark Iron Dwarf would have similar problems. Clearly, not all the Forsaken are undead humans, but if you play a Forsaken you will be an undead human from Lordaeron.
What the Chronicle does, however, is give a vast panorama of the incredible diversity of the Warcraft universe, its history, and its peoples. If it did nothing else, it would still be worth reading. If it leaves one wanting a little more detail here and there, then it has done its job.