Posts Tagged: The Dark Legacy of Shannara

Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

Wards of Faerie

by Terry Brooks
Pages: 384 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: August 21, 2012
ISBN-10: 0345523474
Buy: Book/eBook

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a moderator at the Official Terry Brooks Forums, a role which I take seriously and indicates my level of fandom for Brooks, but which has not coloured the following review.

In my review of Bearers of the Black Staff, the first volume of Brooks’ The Legends of Shannara duology, his most recent published work, I wrote:

[T]he real meat of Bearers of the Black Staff is in the familiar elements that begin to rear their heads. The Trolls, a race that’s played a maligned roll in many of Brooks other novels, are the stars of the show here, and much of their history is revealed to the reader, for the first time in the series. Their origin story, involving characters from The Genesis of Shannara is heavy-handed and would have been better left hinted at, but this is something Brooks fans should be used to by now. Astute readers will also begin piecing together hints of the Knights of the Word and their eventual transformation into the Druids that manipulate the world in later Shannara novels.

Ultimately, though, these familiar elements are also the novel’s (and Brooks’) weakest link. Terry Brooks has a vocabulary that he’s built up through his career. Not a vocabulary in the sense that you’d find it in a dictionary (though his prose isn’t exactly a bastion of variety, it’s serviceable and easy to read), but rather in elements, archetypes and plot devices that he uses to construct his stories. There’s next to nothing in Bearers of the Black Staff that we haven’t seen before in any of Brooks’ previous novel.

This dissatisfaction extended into the sequel, The Measure of Magic, and grew, leaving me with a bitter taste in my mouth as a longtime Shannara fan. I didn’t review The Measure of Magic, for fear of just repeating the exact same points I made in the first, with only a small measure of irony. Fast forward a year and I approached the release of Wards of Faerie with no little amount of trepidation. Since Brooks concluded The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara 10 years ago, with the exception of Armageddon’s Children, I felt disappointment with each of his novels, from mild to severe. Where was the Brooks I fell in love with as a boy, first discovering Fantasy? Was he gone? Or was I simply grown up, better read and unable to appreciate the type of fiction that Brooks writes? Read More »

Bloodfire Quest by Terry Brooks

Nice enough, fits in well with the Wards of Faerie cover and is a step above Brooks’ last several covers. No complaints here, though I’m not blown away, by any means.

Be warned that the synopsis contains severe spoilers for The Wards of Faerie, the first book in the trilogy, which hasn’t been released yet. I’ll hide it after the jump, so not to tempt readers who don’t want to see it. Read More »

Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks, Wards of Faerie

Art by Todd Lockwood

One of the most exciting things about the upcoming release of Wards of Faerie, a new Shannara trilogy by stalwart Fantasy writer Terry Brooks, is that, for the first time since The Wishsong of Shannara, in the ’80s, the novel will feature artwork to go alongside Brooks’ story. It’s doubly exciting because they chose one of my favourite artists, Todd Lockwood, to do the art. I’ve always felt that Lockwood and Shannara would be a good mix. Having read Wards of Faerie, I think he nailed the feel and look of Brooks’ characters and world.

The above image is kinda small, but Lockwood also made some detail shots available, to give us a closer look at some of the characters.

Khyber, Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks, Art by Todd LockwoodWards of Faerie by Terry Brooks, art by Todd Lockwood

Great work. I can’t wait to see the rest when Wards of Faerie comes out this summer. I know Brooks gets a hard time nowadays, and he’s been writing some hit-or-miss novels for the past several years, but Wards of Faerie is one of his better novels and I hope other fans are as excited as I am to see where he takes the trilogy.