For full disclosure, the publisher of this book was kind enough to supply me with a copy of Book of Cain to review, and I am glad to be able to provide it to you now. Please note, I would have purchased this book for myself if the publisher had not provided me with a review copy.
While I know this is a World of Warcraft site, and not Diablo, I believe this review is appropriate because of the many who signed up for the WoW Annual Pass, and who will be receiving a copy of Diablo 3 when it launches. I have played Diablo and Diablo 2 extensively, and have given my thoughts on this book when I was a guest on the Shattered Soulstone podcast, a Dawnforge production. Please give it a listen if you have any interest in the world that has been built up in the games to date, and which will be expanded in the upcoming Diablo 3 title.
First, let me be clear on a few points. First, this is not a novel. It is like the Harry Potter world’s “Book of Monsters” or the Monster Manual from D&D, or a chronicle of the experiences of Deckard Cain from the small town of Tristram onward. Second, this book is something you definitely should consider reading if you plan to play Diablo 3, especially if you have not played much in the Diablo universe before this. This is your introduction to the world of
Sanctuary, the Burning Hells, the High Heavens, and the histories of this vast world.
Each page is full of art and words that tell us about various demons, angels, and heroes in Sanctuary, beautifully illustrated by the amazingly talented artists at Blizzard. While the book is ‘written by Deckard Cain’, the true author is the art and story teams at Blizzard, and they have done a spectacular job. Each page is laid out to be unique, as if the reproduction is that of an actual page from the “real” Book of Cain. No duplicate ‘backgrounds’ are used to simplify the production, each of the 146 pages looks to be special in and of itself.
While many no doubt are wondering if we can expect this to appear in a ebook or audiobook format, I don’t think it is one that will work well. It is a truly visual book that is much better in paper, printed format. Most eBook readers could not effectively present the book in it’s proper format, lacking the color and detail that the printed version allows. Audiobook format, likewise, does not allow for the art that is abundant in this tome to be conveyed, and therefore the ‘reader’ would lose more than half of the content of the book. The only way that this would become an acceptable audiobook would be if it was narrated by the person who voices Deckard Cain himself. Anyone else would be sorely lacking.
In summary, let me say that this is a book that is a great idea for anyone you know who is a fan of Diablo, or anyone who plans to play Diablo 3. If they played those older games, this will be a refresher and bring them back into the world of Sanctuary from whatever video they are playing now. If they haven’t played the prior Diablo games, this will give them a lot of the history and lore of the world. It is truly a wiki in beautifully printed book form. I give this a highly recommended rating.