The Wishsong of Shannara

The Wishsong of Shannara The Wishsong of Shannara

By: Terry Brooks

www.terrybrooks.net

(Epic Fantasy)

504 pages

I should probably start this review by discussing the plot, or perhaps the characters, but instead I’m going to focus on the one most glaring thing that I can’t possibly overlook. Wordlessly. This word is so overused it could become a drinking game. “They nodded wordlessly.” “Wordlessly they stared at each other.” Maybe I’m just being picky, but every time this word is used it seemed that it could have easily been reworded to avoid it, or just omitted altogether. They could just nod. If there’s no dialogue I’ll assume they did it wordlessly. Same goes for the staring. I just found it really distracting, and a little silly, especially when I discovered its companions soundlessly and voicelessly.

I’m beginning to wonder if epic fantasy is right for me. While I enjoyed the book, and the two others before it, I didn’t love them. Something about the plot format doesn’t do it for me. Following a quest is all well and good, but it follows a very linear path that I find somewhat predictable. Travel from point A to point B, fight monsters along the way, make friends, lose friends, save the world. I prefer plots that branch out and twist and turn in ways I can’t predict. Where’s the betrayal, conflicted characters, and surprise? There was a bit of inner conflict on the part of Brin and a wee bit with Allanon, but there wasn’t enough in the story to really keep me engaged.

Also, the novels in this trilogy had essentially the same plot: Druid shows up, an Ohmsford or two has to save the world, epic journey ensues. Each story dealt with a different generation of the Ohmsford family, and while it is interesting to follow these generations, it adds to the predictability of things.

Now that I’ve complained about everything, allow me to share what I liked about it. Let’s start with Allanon. For some reason I like him more than Gandalf. I’ve never been a fan of the whole wizard showing up at your door and disrupting your life to save the world thing, but I’d rather have Allanon do it than Gandalf. I’ve only read The Hobbit and seen the Lord of the Rings movies, so maybe I don’t know the character as well as I should, but he always rubbed me the wrong way. At least with Allanon, it seems like he feels bad about showing up like that and causing trouble. He feels a heavy sense of responsibility, especially in this book, and I feel like he cares. As for the other characters, Slanter and Garet Jax were great. Slanter for his personality and Garet Jax because he is essentially a ninja and ninjas are awesome. The bond between Brin and Rone Leah wasn’t particularly convincing though. I was a little disappointed there.

In the end my favorite thing about it was the idea of magic using the user rather than the other way around. That was very cool and the Jachyra creature was insane…literally. Throughout this trilogy I also loved the hints of the world before, and the history that the world was once modern like ours and then there was a cataclysm that brought back magic. I find I always want to know more about the transition from that modern world to the magical one, which is why I’ll probably continue to read this series. I’ve heard the books get better as you go so I’m not ready to give up yet. Until next time…

Happy Reading!

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2 thoughts on “The Wishsong of Shannara

  1. I haven’t read this book, but I find often-repeated words and phrases so distracting! I had that problem with A Song of Ice and Fire, with “nightsoil” and “near enough as makes no matter” and I think something else I can’t remember right now. They probably weren’t used often enough to warrant a drinking game, but it was enough that it was beginning to irritate me.

    1. I’m just so surprised that his editor didn’t do something about it. It just seemed so obvious, especially when it was so unnecessary. I’m going to be reading A Game of Thrones sometime this year so I’ll see if I notice it there too.

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