Wards of Faerie (book, Terry Brooks, 2012)

From SFX #227.


Author: Terry Brooks

Publisher: Orbit

369 pages

Brooks back with more books

The twenty-fourth book in the Shannara saga rejoins the Ohmsford clan for a new three-part adventure. Skipping down the generations of his hero-family has always been Brooks’ way, and this time the gifted twins Redden and Railing get their turn on the world’s stage in a hunt for the Elfstones. In a thinning world reclaiming the science of old Earth (Brooks’ Four Lands is Earth long after a sorcerous apocalypse), the return of the magic Elfstones represents a great hope.

The multi-character story resembles many of Brooks’ other books, with this first part of The Dark Legacy of Shannara predictably setting up the quest. There’s a lot of history mentioned throughout, and although Brooks generously fills in the back plot, a familiarity with earlier trilogies makes this more rewarding.

A bigger question is whether Brooks can cut it in this day of super-violent, gritty fantasy. He was never the greatest writer, and although in later years he’s attained a superior craftsman’s level of skill, his writing is hardly gripping. On the other hand, there is a certain avuncular comfort to his storytelling, and action does build toward the end. It’s the book equivalent of a two-beer Dungeons & Dragons session with good friends, with all the warmth that implies. If you’re sick of fantasy mutilations and mud, and the real world is biting, brew some cocoa, put your slippers on and let Wards of Faerie whisk you off for a few pleasant hours.

Did you know?

Originally, The Word and The Void trilogy was supposed to be a new start for Brooks, only later did he decide to make it about Earth becoming Shannara’s fantasy land, linking his new and old work into one.


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