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Publisher's Summary

From New York Times best-selling author Terry Brooks comes a thrilling standalone novel in his legendary Shannara series - the perfect place for new listeners to begin.

After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source - and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.

But danger is already afoot in the village of Portlow. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the uncanny gift, and curse, of the wishsong. And now his coveted abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen - whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The lone survivor of a brutal assault on a notorious pirate city, the sorcerer is determined to retaliate against the Federation's elite military guard - and use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.

©2015 Terry Brooks (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle." (Peter V. Brett, New York Times best-selling author of The Desert Spear)
"Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading." (Brent Weeks, New York Times best-selling author of The Night Angel Trilogy)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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  • Story

Not as engaging as previous story lines...

Terry has been one of the big fantasy writers for a long time, and I've enjoyed reading his Shannara world as it has evolved. His early books were somewhat formulaic, but he managed to explore new territory by the time Walker Boh came along in his "Scions" series. The Dark Legacy trilogy explored some new ground with existing framework, and was somewhat of a departure from previous writing styles- a darker look at the Shannara world.

However, this book has some of the same flaws as the preceding one does (The High Druid's Blade). There just isn't really anything epic happening in this story. It's interesting on it's own right to see the descendants of the Shannara line and what they are doing, but they are rather "mundane" adventures compared to previous writings. The villain of the story, while he does horrible things to people at times, simply seems opportunistic as opposed to having grand ambitions for ultimate power- he isn't trying to destroy the know world or commit genocide on a people. In some ways you can relate to his line of thinking (why should the druid council be the sole wielders of magic?), which perhaps makes him a bit more real (if sociopathic at times). I suppose the characters are more real and deep in a sense than his earlier stories.

But the story itself just doesn't hold my interest like his earlier works do. I don't have the sense that existence of for the Four Lands (if that's still what we are calling it now) hangs in the balance. It does work as a standalone story; it just really isn't an engaging one, and I found my mind wandering a lot while listening to the book. This feels more like an "in between" book, which had epic things happening before it, and hints that epic things are coming; but both are only marginally connected to the story being told here.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Predictable, unfortunately.

I ptetty much knew how the book would end after 4 chapters. Still, I did enjoy it.

Sometimes I really like Simon Vance, and sometimes I don't. He adds S's to words that don't contain any. Regardless, I finally learned how to enjoy his narrating consistently, and I thought I would share it. If you're having difficulty listening Simon Vance, just drop the speed to 0.5x. i wish Audible had a 0.75x speed, because his performance would have been even better, deserving 5 stars, instead of just 4.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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missing some ZING

Although somewhat enjoyable its missing that thrilling and adventurous edge of your seat story the regular Shannara series carries.

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Poor use of character names

Would you listen to another book narrated by Simon Vance?

I would but he needs to try and continue with the names of characters as in other series. i.e. Leah is not pronounced Lee but Le-ah.

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Totally Disappointed

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I hope no one- the whole plot is twisted and not his great style.

Would you ever listen to anything by Terry Brooks again?

Of course, I hope this was an anomaly.

Which scene was your favorite?

A brief glimmer of hope for the plot when the boy is running from the Druids into the calculating wizard...

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The writing style always flows- but the story line did not.

Any additional comments?

I have always loved every Terry Brooks book and set written. This was awful - the plot so tired and weak, an awful climax and so full of despair. It just comes off tired and worn out with no creative juices.

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Not His Best Work

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Terry Brooks is by far my favorite storyteller. So, it is so sad to see such a disappointing series, with this book being the worst of the three. This series and book are full of uninteresting and boring characters, extremely predictable plot, and painfully awkward development of falling in love. So, we as Shannara fans get to go from truly awesome villains like the Warlock lord, Findo Gask, and Tael Riverine to a pathetic villain like Arcannen? The druids are now a bunch on pansies. I think Allanon or Walker could have singlehandedly taken out the entire druid order. I know I’m being a bit harsh on this book and series, but as I’ve said, Terry is my favorite storyteller, and having read all of his books multiple times, I know he can write a much better series. Perhaps he phoned this one in.

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what can I say.....

what can I say I read them all and this one's right up there with the best of them.

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  • D
  • 07-07-16

Let down

Has The Darkling Child turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not up to Terry Brooks normal standards.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointed, I liked some of his characters, but the and had potential of being a good storyline, but the direction he took them in the choices they made was a huge let down.

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  • D.
  • 06-10-16

Love Terry Brooks!

I have been reading him since, well for a very long time. He's great always

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excellent narration!

very enjoyable. Simon Vance brought the story to life with a variety of voices. very well done