Release Date: 20130716
Publisher: Del Rey
To begin this review of Witch Wraith I feel like I must dig into my past as not only a Terry Brooks fan, but also as a fan of Fantasy fiction, because the two are so inextricably intertwined that it is impossible to discuss one part of my fandom without crossing over into the other. It is not unusual for a Fantasy fan to cite Tolkien as the genesis of their fandom, as he certainly was for me, but it was ultimately Brooks, and then R.A. Salvatore, that cemented my love and created of it a lifelong obsession.
I first discovered Brooks after devouring The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings during my early adolescence. Eager, no, desperate for more Fantasy, I read any book my mom, the requisite Fantasy fan in my life, put in my hands. The most impressionable of these was Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. It’s a novel that now, 35+ years after its first release, fights against its own beginnings as a Tolkien-inspired Fantasy that was crafted by its author and legendary editor Lester Del Rey to provide life and wind to the post-Tolkien doldrums that the genre fell into during the seventies. Where Stephen R. Donaldson, who published alongside Brooks, and was also edited by Lester Del Rey, chose to subvert Tolkien’s methods and themes, challenging the idea that Fantasy is myth and exploring its escapist nature — by casting a bitter adult, skeptical of the existence of the Fantasy world even as he walks through it — Brooks chose to emulate Tolkien by casting two plucky youths, a mysterious mentor, a world to save, and a keenness for adventure. Both stories feature a dark lord, but the their defeats come at the end of roads as different as those travelled by Samwise Gamgee and Meriadoc Brandybuck. Continue reading
Seems alright. Inoffensive, at least. The trilogy (Wards of Faerie (REVIEW), Bloodfire Quest) as a whole has a nice continuous look, including the screaming red I’m-not-a-sticker sticker. Still, we all know it’s the big, juicy name of the author that will sell these books, not the cover. In all, I’d say it’s a wash with the US cover.
Release Date: 20130312
Publisher: Del Rey
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. Continue reading
Another day, another piece of Terry Brooks cover art. Even I’m starting to get tired of posting it! Not much to say; fits in well with the other volumes in the trilogy, Wards of Faerie (REVIEW) and Bloodfire Quest.
It’s a nice new direction for Terry Brooks, and an improvement on his North American covers, even though I like the new ones well enough, but it won’t blow anyone out of the water. And, man, that big red circle is an eyesore.