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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 listeners say about The Darkling Child

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Narrator is fine

Brooks has lost his touch and is recycling ideas and stories all while making continuity issues. Stop writing.

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I love Shannara.....

I honestly wonder if this trilogy was ghost written. It’s barely recognizable as a Shannara novel. The characters are not at all compelling. The story is dull. It even brings in gender politics!?!? (If you’ve kept modern politics out of 30+ years of writing please please keep it that way. It’s like adding politics to absinthe. It’s a bad mix. I read fantasy for escapism. It doesn’t matter if agree with the politics or not.). The one good thing is that Simon Vance learns the ropes. He truly nails the Fall of Shannara. However I’d pass on the whole trilogy.

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    4 out of 5 stars

One of his better

Simon Vance is great as usual. The story itself is was really good, piggybacking off the last book and giving more depth to Paxon Leah. However, there is one glaring issue with the ending. I am not the one for spoilers, but dang it who wouldn't have explained that they're family?? Hopefully it gets cleared up in the next one.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Another good Terry Brooks story

I actually read this book out of order, having listened to the sequel before this one. The story stood by itself fairly well and advance knowledge of the next book really didn't detract from this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars

another wonderful book by Terry Brooks

Simon Vance does another fantastic job of reading Terry Brooks novel. Brooks Reitz another incredible story brought to life by Simon Vance. thanks to Simon Vance's insightful reading each character takes on the Persona of Their Own. when finishing this book can't wait to get the next chapter started.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.