Bearers of the Black Staff
by Terry Brooks
Pages: 368 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: August 24, 2010
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a moderator at the Official Terry Brooks Forums, a role which I take seriously, but which has not coloured the following review
Reviewing a new Terry Brooks book is always a taxing experience for me. On the one hand, I’m a longtime fan of his work and have trouble separating my critic sensibilities from my fanboy sensibilities. As a fan, it’s often easy to overlook shortcomings by focussing on the elements of the novels that appeal to my deeply engrained fanboyisms – those small, easter egg elements that would mean little to a new reader, but send shivers up the spine of longtime fans. On the other hand, as a critic, Brooks’ reliance on these cyclical, repeating themes, plot elements and character archetypes is something that can’t be ignored.
Bearers of the Black Staff is the opening volume of a duology (in name only, which I’ll get to later), The Legends of Shannara, that further attempts to connect his Word & Void series (a wonderfully original and darkly satisfying Contemporary Fantasy trilogy) with his decades-running Shannara series. As promised. Brooks continues to explore how our war-ravaged Earth was transformed into the sweeping magical world of the Four Lands, and fans of the series will love some of the surprises and revelations in store.