By: Terry Brooks
419 pages (Mass Market Paperback)
Hundreds of years have passed since the events of The Wishsong of Shannara, and once again dark forces are at work in the Four Lands. It is up to the Ohmsford’s descendents to prevent a dark future from coming to pass.
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I liked this one so much more than the previous three! The story was a little less linear, the characters were more interesting, and the evil a tad less predictable. People (and by people I mean the internet) have said that the story gets better over time and I’m glad I didn’t give up on it.
Most importantly, “wordlessly” and its friends were far less present in this volume. Thank you! While there is still room for improvement, it wasn’t used to the point of annoyance this time. I think that helped me out a lot.
The plot is still a quest at heart, of course, but it meandered more, and had a little more to it. Seeing familiar places from the previous trilogy, only greatly changed, gave the landscape more depth. History in a novel adds so much to it. The main reason I’m so interested in this long Shannara series in the first place is because of hints to an ancient age of man, a time of science, suggesting that the fantasy world is really our future. That history is what I love so much, and having 300 years pass made it even better.
The characters are far more interesting this time. I feel like they’re thinking about the quest they are about to undertake, more than just obeying orders. One character in particular objects to Allanon’s request entirely which was so refreshing! Honestly, if a druid, or wizard, or magical person of any kind showed up on my doorstep and told me that if I didn’t go on a perilous quest the world would end and it would all be my fault, I’d slam the door in his face. Sorry, but those poor Ohmsfords don’t deserve all the pressure put on them generation after generation, so when one character finally refused, I was so happy. “If the world needs saving as these dreams suggest, let Allanon or the old man go out and save it!” The way the Druids have used the Ohmsfords without telling them the whole truth and putting them in danger was finally addressed. It always bothered me how they accepted the call of the Druids so easily and I think this was just what the story needed.
The big bad things this time around are the scariest yet – the Shadowen, dark parasitic creatures that creep inside of their victims and take control of their bodies. They are extremely creepy and add a feeling of real danger and wrongness to the story.
Ultimately this book was much better than its predecessors, so I think I’ll be sticking with the series for sure. If the rest are like this or better, that’s all I need. Until next time…