Behold! My first attempt at a book review! I recently picked up the latest Terry Brooks offering in the long running Shannara series(seriously, the first book was written before I was born) from the library. I’m conflicted with the series. It’s been a long time since one of the books really ‘wowed’ me, yet they’ve all been good enough for me to keep coming back. I like his writing, I enjoy the series, yet I find them to be the fantasy equivalent of trashy romance novels. Nice light reads that are good for what they are. Obviously they’re not terrible, but don’t expect to have your socks blown off either. Just some good escapism.
This book is the third book in the Defenders of Shannara series. It splits it’s time between two plot threads with two groups of characters. The first plot thread deals with the fallout of a disastrous peace negotiation between the Druids and the human Federation government. A demon shows up at the meeting, all hell breaks loose, and the druids, led by their protector and the series protagonist Paxon Leah, have to flee the Federation capital, get home, and figure out how to stop a war.
The second plot thread follows the kidnapping of Paxon’s sister Chrysallin(wielder of the series signature magic, the Wishsong), and the subsequent rescue attempt launched by Paxon’s paramour and daughter of the series’ antagonist Leofur Rai and her shapeshifter companion. This plot arc was by far the most interesting to me, largely due to the growth in the relationship between Leofur and the shapeshifter Imric. The main Druid plot seemed to be just a way to wrap up the previous two books and settle things between the evil sorcerer Arcannen Rai and Paxon. It’s too bad Arcannen wasn’t front and center for more of the book, he was by far my favourite character.
I really don’t want to spoil a whole lot here, as I think that if you’re even remotely interested in it you should go read the book, but this book, and this series as a whole seemed to be a bit of a placeholder, as Brooks has announced that his next series will wrap up the Shannara world. While some of the books have truly shined throughout the series(there’s 25 of them), there are some that fall flat. This leaned a little more towards being flat than brilliant, but I still enjoyed reading it. It was like a filler episode on your favourite TV series. It was alright, but you watch it really just waiting for the plot to pick up again. That said, I will pick up and read the next one!