Gretna, LA, USA | Member Since 2006
I own a copy of every Shannara book in the series, and every audiobook, as well.
Does that make me a bit predudice? I confess that it COULD. Would I, as a reviewer, be more judgemental? Quite possibly.
Want to know more? Read on, Audible listener, as this will be a positive yet mixed review.
First, the Shannara series reflects Brook's attitude toward each work, sometimes strong and positive, sometimes not so much. As a whole, I truly LOVE his writing, and where he's taken, and is taking, the rich and complex characters within. I've had many conversations with his readers over the years, and some the conversations were quite, shall we say...demonstrative? It's just that people either LOVE him, or aren't as thrilled with him. It's pretty straightforward, and expected. When you have such a wonderful writer as Brooks to enjoy, this happens. Again, good writing causes minor but spirited controversy and major but good-natured arguments.
In this case, The Dark Legacy of Shannara, the second book in the Bloodfire Quest, I've already had two such conversations, and expect more. Why?
This book is VERY good writing, has VERY good character development, and it obviously comes from a heartfelt and creative period in Terry Brooks life. It's astounding to me how he can create such strong emotional pliotlines with his characters and create such a sense of urgency in his writing. Regarding these aspects, this book is amazing, to say the very least, and I am pleased to have it, and to have read it/listened to it.
But. (Yes, there IS a but.)...
Brooks employs a MAJOR part of the plotline already used in one of his previous novels, "The Elfstone Of Shannara," and it's going to bother die-hard Shannara fans to no end. And. It starts right out of the gate. Right in your face. Once again, the mystical tree that holds off the forbidding is dying, and without giving the rest of the plotline away, something has to happen. Brooks' readers know ehat this "something" is, and some Brooks fans are not going to be overly thrilled at this. Please, no offense, but get over it, folks. This work is bigger than that - A LOT bigger.
Understand that this does in NO WAY take away from the wonderful work you will listen to herein - That is, if you're smart enough to crack open that dusty wallet or purse and squeak out that valuable Audible credit. BE PATIENT. As the plot unfolds, it's worth the wait, and if you're anything like me, you'll be glad you did!
As usual, the I'm not giving anything away in this review. Again, the journey's the thing here, as important as the destination. Here's what I WILL tell you:
There is such solid, descriptive and engaging wrinting in this novel, that it you're like me, you'll be swept into Brooks' latest effort. I went into this very neutral, and frankly, I feel that I've made the right choice in acquiring this exceptional work, will read it again, and will wait with anticipation for the next in the series.
Also, Rosalyn Landor is an stand-apart narrator, and I for one, feel she adds to the work beautifully. If you've read my past reviews, you know I can be extremely harsh on narrators. Brutal. Unforgiving. In this case, I feel there are very few narrators that could do this work (AND the previous naration work in the first of the bloodfire novels) the justice it deserves as she has done here. Well done, Ms. Landor. VERY well done.
If you've NOT read the Shannara series, please begin a wonderful journey you won't regret! If you've read the first novel in the Bloodfire Quest series, buy this audiobook. if not, buy that audiobook first, and look for my upcoming review on book one. Hint: It's going to be a positive one!
So the verdict is in. In a word, awesome.
Once again, Terry Brooks delivers the goods!
If you follow my reviews, you know that I like to roll the dice, to randomly buy a series on a whim, on the luck of the draw. Sometimes, it's a bust.
This time, it's a definite win, but if you go by how the series was created, you'd probably run in the opposite direction.
Here's one for the books: Jim Butcher is well-known for his "Dresden Files" series, created a fantastic fantasy series on a BET. Yep, a bet. Read on.
To quote the Codex Alera Wiki site, "the inspiration for the series came from a bet Jim was challenged to by a member of the Delray Online Writer’s Workshop. The challenger bet that Jim could not write a good story based on a lame idea, and Jim countered that he could do it using two lame ideas of the challenger’s choosing. The “lame” ideas given were “Lost Roman Legion", and “Pokémon”.
It DOES sound lame.
Well, Butcher makes it work. To the nines.
I've finished this first novel, and I'm enjoying this unique story line of humans with Roman similarities binding with elemental furies. Add unique races, backstabbing, politics, military battles, duels and an interwoven story line that pulls it all together, and you get a fantastic story that's simply put, a VERY VERY good listen.
The whole concept of fighting alongside elemental familiars used here is wonderfully executed. It's deep, well-thought magic-based partnership of man and magical creature is a pleasure to experience.
So, what about the writing?
Again, if you follow my reviews, you know that I love ENGAGING fantasy or scifi writing. Anything less won't do. And this is definitely engaging. There's great characters that plot, backstab, challenge, fight for their beliefs, devour their enemies, and celebrate their victories. You're taken on a great romp of a story, and in the end, isn't that what we all want in a good listen?
I know I do, and I so enjoyed this first audiobook in the series, that I bought the entire series. Yep. And I'm not disappointed with the decision.
Who knew that Lost Roman Legions and Pokemon could knock it out of the park?
Home run, Jim. Home run.
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