I just finished Wards of Faerie and I have to say, Mr. Brooks came through yet again. He took a short trip back in time with his books of the last few years, giving us a look at how the world of Shannara came to be. It was a great trip for us readers, getting to almost live the creation of one of the greatest fantasy worlds out there. Now he brings us back to the traditional setting we are used to, druids, the Ohsmford family along with the Leahs, dwarves, elves and trolls. We are back in the era (well a few generations down the line anyway) that made Terry Brooks famous.
This book takes place a few years after the events of The High Druid of Shannara series. Khyber Elessedil is the leader of the druid order, and one of her druids (and a relative) finds a clue that could lead to the location of the lost elfstones. (Not the blue ones or the black one, those have already been found and not lost again). Being devoted to finding and protecting magic and making sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands the druids feel it is their duty to go on this quest to find them
Joined by the latest generation of the Ohsmford family, a member of the Leah family, a dwarf, a gnome, and a handful of humans and trolls, the druids set out on their quest. A new power rises in the south, Paranor, the druid keep and home, is threatened, and people die. This was one of the more exciting reads from Mr. Brooks in awhile and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is true to his style, but I think the pacing was a bit faster than books of the past. It may be due to the release schedule of this series, which is tight. This book was released in October of last year, with the second due in the spring and the third due in the summer. I’m used to seeing his books once a year in the fall so this will definitely throw my reading schedule on its ear. Even with this tight writing schedule the narrative does not suffer and as an author myself Mr. Brooks amazes me yet again with what he can do.
If J.R.R. Tolkein is the father of modern fantasy, I’d have to say Terry Brooks is a favorite uncle. If you haven’t read his books before give them a shot. Reading them in published order would start you with the Sword of Shannara (or the three book series in an anthology with Elfstones and Wishsong of Shannara), or you can start chronologically like my wife is and read Running with Demons. His style is one that takes a little time to get into, intrigues you enough to get to the end and leaves you breathless with the last few chapters of the book. He’s like a patient but skilled fisherman, always managing to tease you close so he can set that hook at just the right time.
Visit his site for more information.