Five hundred years have passed since the devastating demon-led war that tore apart the United States, leaving nothing but scorched and poisoned ruins, and nearly exterminating humankind. Those who escaped the carnage and blight were led to sanctuary by the boy savior known as the Hawk - the gypsy morph. In an idyllic valley, its borders warded by powerful magic against the horrors beyond, humans, Elves, and mutants alike found a place they believed would be their home forever.
But after five centuries, the unimaginable has come to pass: The cocoon of protective magic surrounding the valley has vanished. When Sider Ament, the only surviving descendant of the Knights of the Word, detects unknown predators stalking the valley, he fears the worst. And when Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, expert Trackers from the human village of Glensk Wood, find two of their own gruesomely killed, there can be no doubt: The once safe haven of generations has been laid bare and made vulnerable to whatever still lurks in the wasteland of the outside world.
Together, Ament, the two young Trackers, and a daring Elf princess race to spread word of the encroaching danger - and spearhead plans to defend their ancestral home. But suspicion and hostility among their countrymen threaten to doom their efforts from within - while beyond the breached borders, a ruthless Troll army masses for invasion. And in the thick of it all, the last wielder of the black staff and its awesome magic must find a successor to carry on the fight against the cresting new wave of evil.
©2010 Terry Brooks (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Now understand, I love Terry Brooks. I've been reading and listening to his books for years... but this one just isn't right. It is painfully slow as each scene takes ten times longer than it should. For example there is a place where 'he' has to leave 'her' in the hands of the 'bad guys' so he can go set up a meeting, leaving her for security and he is agonizing about leaving her, she says he has no choice, the bad guys say he has no choice, he agonizes more, she says he has no choice, the bad guys say he has no choice, … this goes on for - I actually TIMED it - over 11 minutes and even after he finally does leave, he is STILL agonizing about leaving her, maybe he should go back. I am halfway through the second part and decided to leave it for a while.... I know you have to know what happens in the story but get the book from your library and skim through it. Also it is over 500 years since Hawk and the Ghosts and the Elves, etc set up the camp and the barrier (and wasn't that a good, complex story!), so all those people are long dead and gone. I'll give it three stars only because it is Terry Brooks.
I have always loved reading, helping people to find a passion for these amazing books lead me to work in a local bookstore.
This book is the weakest book of Terry Brooks' I have ever read. I know he tends to reuse the same themes over and over but tell me how many books of his you know that involve, a boy who has two possible female love interests one he has known for his whole life and another who he has recently met, missing elf stones, and an invading army.
I'm also a Brooks fan but this installment was the weakest I've read from him in some time. I doubt this gets to Terry or his publishers, but, FWIW: when you start a novel with no intention of resolving most (any?) of its major conflicts, your story telling tends to lack a sense of urgency and pressure toward tightness.
Brooks overcame this quite well in the Genesis series, I thought. At least the beautiful moments between characters and the occasional unexpected nuances in the characters' motivations kept me from noticing any lack of focus and tension in the story.
But this installment had one beautiful moment for me (the young tracker and his younger friend) or maybe two. And the motivations here are too much of the "use-of-power angst" Brooks relies on so frequently.... (Just once I'd love to see a Brooks character who has the mantle of power and responsibility thrown on him/her embrace it with enthusiasm... and have his/her inner conflict be about how to use it most wisely or win the support of others for his/her agenda or avoid the jealousy of peers, etc. There is something pretty close to this in the High Druid series... which was refreshing.)
There are a few places in this volume where characters say things that are not consistent with their previous thoughts... like someone was not editing very alertly. (E.g., why would a staff bearer reflect that he has heard all the stories about him everywhere he goes then later ask a couple of trackers how they know so much about him? Writers make these kinds of mistakes; editors should catch them. Perhaps the staff bearer was just trying to create some tension? A brief note to that effect solves the problem.)
I will probably read on in the series, but mostly because I'm curious to see if Brooks recovers his stride in the next installment.
Terry Brooks seems to have found his mature voice in this particular story. I've read or listened to all of his books, but for some reason this particular one resonates more with my 60 year old self. Phil Giante is an excellent reader; I listen to this while driving or puttering around the house, which makes this a spoonful of sugar to all of that.
I liked the transition of old world people to magical world beings. It's interesting to look back on old faery tales and think any of those creatures or beings could have been human at one time.
My first introduction to Terry Brooks and I was underwhelmed. The characters were likable but forgetful. Also, this first book fails as a standalone read; so unless you're willing to commit yourself to the series, I would not recommend this listen. The narrator was fine, but unspectacular. Overall, while the listen was fine I would not recommend.
I've been a long time fan. No other way to put it..but this book was hard to enjoy. You mull through hoping, pleading that it will get better and sure enough...last chapter is excellent. Excellent enough for you to want more. I liked it better when Terry would write one book = one story. I'm tired of the "to be continued so I can live in Hawaii." If the next one is just as bad, then I'm out.
I love fantasy and science fiction.
Decided to try this on a whim and wasn't disappointed. Great characters and story, I want to know more about Shannara and the land of Fae. The narration was also very well done, I am now a fan of Phil Gigante and want to hear more of his work. Worth the read, get it.
I bought this book because it matches my genre interests and had been suggested to me by a friend. However I did not have high hopes.
I was pleasantly surprised! I have to say first that this was one of the best performances that I have heard! My husband even wanted it after hearing just the last chapter.
This story has a very "Lord of the Rings" feel so it was indeed a book right up my alley. I loved the characters and the way that the story unfolded. The timing of events was just right so that I stayed in the moment. The character development could have been a little more involved though. I hated the ending. But not enough to keep me from buying the next in this series.
I read the Sword of Shannara all night the night before I was sitting for the California Bar Examination in 1977. I could not put it down. Fortunately, I passed the exam on my first attempt even though a little sleep deprived.So when I saw his latest, I jumped at it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. The plot line is predictable and the characters do not go through any real moral growth. Their whining gets to me. The story is just flat. It was well read by Phil Gigante, who has some interesting accents and makes some of the characters come alive. However, he did not have the best manuscript to work with. Worth a listen, but don't get your hopes up.
Didn't end up finishing this one, so it may get better further in, but what I did listen to I found frustrating. I have loved many Terry Brooks novels in the past, so I was a kind of disappointed. Yes, they can be formulaic, but it's a formula I like and usually I enjoy them a lot. The main character in this one I found annoying and hard to buy into as a hero. He seems to spend most of his time suffering from contrived moral dilemmas without actually doing anything to get himself out of them or using his brain at all, ever. There's nothing wrong with the narration, and I wouldn't hesitate to listen to a different book with the same narrator, but it wasn't overwhelming either.
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