Witch Wraith: The Review

15743711Witch Wraith; Terry Brooks, 2013; Del Ray

Number Tres in Terry Brooks trilogy “The Dark Legacy of Shannara”, is by far the best of the three. Like fine wine, Mr. Brooks has saved the best for last and we salute’ him for it.

There are some books that I have read in one sitting because they were short, fluffy stories that required very few brain cells to digest. Then there are others that I’ve read in one sitting because they were just that good, that I didn’t want to put them down. I must confess ‘Witch Wraith’ is one of those books. Fact is, I took an afternoon off from my own novel just so I could finish it.

But as I reached the end of the last paragraph and closed the cover there were several things I realized;  Terry Brooks has no problems killing off the majority of his characters (hero and evil bad guy/gals alike) and the end of the story is seldom if ever neatly tied up in a bow.

Fact is I’m never really sure if I’m happy or sad when its over.

It’s not that he leaves you hanging or wondering what the outcome is, the quest is always achieved and the mission is always accomplished. But at what cost? And was the price paid worth the endeavor?

And that’s the real question he asks throughout all his novels, especially in this trilogy: Does the means really justify the end? And the answer is….

So even though I was a little disappointed, okay, a lot disappointed, with the first novel “Wards of Faerie”, “Bloodfire Quest” and “Witch Wraith” have more than made of for it.

On my readers scale of 1-5 stars I’m giving “Witch Wraith” 4 stars for being just an all around great story.

Bloodfire Quest: The Review

15743703Bloodfire Quest; Terry Brooks, 2013; Del Ray

Bloodfire Quest, number two in Terry Brooks three part “Dark Legacy of Shannara‘ series.

As my readers know I was not very kind to Mr. Brooks in my review of “Wards of Faerie” and felt like his writing style had/has become rushed and far more commercialized than his previous works. And I still think that’s true but…I also said I believed that an author of his caliper would no doubt redeem himself…and he has, in spades.

Even though I miss the days when Terry Brooks spent a lot more time developing his characters, I  don’t miss the fact that it took forever for them to cross the mountain or whatever else it was they were crossing, wading, hiking or flying over/through or under.

I can also say that even though I felt the first book was rather stingy about giving us more background on the Druids, Elves and impetus for the journey they undertook, particularly the Aryd Rhys, again the author has more than made up for any lack I felt in the first book with the advent of the second.

Another change I have noticed about Mr. Brooks writing is that he never used to include anything more descriptive than ‘G’ rated scenes. But every since his “Word and Void” series (which I have to confess are some of my favorites reads) I’ve begun noticed the characters alluding to more than just ‘holding hands’.

I know…its the prude in me getting my panties all in a bunch. But all the same…I preferred the innocence of his first books only because I never had to worry about my eight year old picking up one of his books and reading it. Like Tolkien, there were wizards and druids and elves and shades and things that go bump in the night, but they still didn’t allude to taking their clothes off. Just sayin…

That doesn’t mean this series won’t go on my bookshelves. It certainly will, it’ll just have to be placed a little higher up, somewhere between  Brennan Manning, Brother Andrew, Ann Rice, J. R. R. Tolkien, Rick Riordan and Cassandra Clare and Cinda Williams Chima.

On my readers scale of 1-5 stars, I’m giving Bloodfire Quest 4 for ‘story well told’ and, 4.5 stars for keeping the faith – Terry Brooks is still one of the best fantasy story tellers around.

Terry Brooks

All Things Shannara

ALL THINGS SHANNARA:From the first Shannara book to the last I have been an avid follower of Terry Brooks. There’s just something about elves, dwarves, druids and good old fashion other worldly things that I just love.  I can hardly wait for the new Wards of Faeirie series to come out. May the elves be with you Terry. http://terrybrooks.net/

Wards of Faerie

Book 1 in “The Dark Legacy of Shannara”; Terry Brooks; Del Ray, New York, NY, 2012

Just the fact that Terry Brooks writes again is enough to send me to the nearest bookstore and spend the bucks.

I picked up my first Shannara book at the age of fifteen and have never looked back.  From the hollowed shelves of my library, every book Terry Brooks has ever written,  looks out on the vicissitudes of my life,  and offers distant lands and heroic individuals who inspire,  and like the scented waters of Calgon…take me away.

But not this time, and not that far.

Only twice (not counting his autobiographical, “Sometimes the Magic Works”)) have I seen Brooks deviate from the paths of Ohmsford, Elessedil or Paranor; “The Magic Kingdom”, and “The Void and the Word”. So I don’t know why, but I was hoping that this might be number three.

Don’t misunderstand; I love the sagas of Wishsongs, Elfstones and Druidic orders. But after more than forty years I was hoping that, “Wards of Faerie” might offer a significant enough departure from the land of Shannara (like he did with “The Void and the Word” and “Genesis of Shannara”) that I wouldn’t feel like I was stepping back into the same dream,  with the same players, over and over again.

Another thing I was disappointed with was that I felt like Terry spent a lot less time developing his characters and story. Now I know that in the past,  he tended to spend an inordinately long time on both, but by the time you finished another Shannara series,  you felt like you had an intimate knowledge of characters like;  Walker Boa, Shea Ohmsford, Grianne Ohmsford, Allanon, Wren Elessedil and more.  Just as J. R. R. Tolkien pioneered Middle Earth, I always felt like Terry Brooks pioneered the Four Lands.

But in this newest Shannara series,  “The Dark Legacy of Shannara”  I felt as though Brooks was in a rush to get somewhere, and I had to spend 366 pages with strangers.

Almost like speed dating; five minutes with strangers, expecting to find the love of your life; great expectations, without any of the calories.

Yet for all that, I still love Brooks and will continue to aspire to model my own writing after his. Few authors today are able,  or willing,  to tell a story without embellishing it with profanity, depravity, or pornographic sex.

In every book he’s written,  the author demonstrates  moral integrity,  while till delivering excitement, fantasy, and adventure.  Like his predecessor Tolkien, Brooks provides content that is ageless,  classic,  and which any parent, at any time, will never have to worry about the wisdom of letting children under the age of ten read.

So even though I was disappointed by the journey of yet another Elessedil, Leah, and Ohmsford looking for lost Elfstones, I am not disappointed in the author’s commitment to leaving us a legacy of quality writing that I have every intention of passing on to other generations of dreamers, and alien life forms.

From the laptop of an uncensored dreamer,