In recent years, I’ve reviewed several novels by Terry Brooks, most of which I walked away from with disappointment and uncomfortable acceptance. Slowly, with each new release, I was beginning to understand that Brooks, an idol of my adolesence, just wasn’t the same author I grew up with. This isn’t a comment on his skill, or his prose ability, necessarily, but rather an observation about the stories he now chooses to tell. His early novels were doorstops and told a complete story arc from beginning to end. After his third novel, however, he began to split these novels into ‘trilogies,’ and release them on a yearly basis. There’s little less satisfying than picking up a new book from a favourite author and being left hanging, asked to wait politely for a year and then pony up another $25 to continue with the fun. Whether it was marketing malfeasance on the part of his publisher, or a conscious decision by Brooks, excitement was slowly replaced by… not apathy, exactly, but controlled optimism. Brooks was on a treadmill.
Then I read Wards of Faerie (REVIEW), the first volume in his The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy, and, like the clouds parting over the Battle of Pelennor Fields, I was suddenly heartened and reminded of why I first fell in love with Brooks’ novels as a teenager. Read More »