First, the non-spoiler stuff: I started reading Terry Brooks’ work when I was in Junior High school when I got a copy of The Sword of Shannara from my cousin. The Sword is a great high-fantasy book in the tradition of Tolkien. Some say it’s too Tolkien, but I think it’s got way too much exciting action to be too Tolkien. Action is one of the aspects of Brooks’ writing that I think makes him the best. No matter how many times the protagonist gets in jams, he makes it out, and I feel surprised they pulled it off. Speaking of surprise, the next aspect of Brooks’ writing that keeps me intensely involved is the mysteries and plot twists. Every book has some secret that the good guys have to uncover and often it is ends in a way I don’t expect. I think I’ve gotten better at anticipating some of the twists over time, but I still get surprised by Brooks all the time. The final and most important aspect of Brooks’ writing that draws me into the story is the characterization. The characters in his books are very well developed and I really end up feeling for them and caring about them. A book just isn’t exciting to me if I’m not rooting for the good guys and cursing the villains. In my humble opinion, no one does this better than Terry Brooks!
Now on to the spoilery stuff. You have been warned!!
The Wards of Faerie is an intense book! The beginning reading of the diary caught my interest and I absolutely did not want to put the book down once. It’s hard to rank what I liked the best, so I’ll just mention things as I think of them. I was amazed at how the story takes so many concepts from previous books and weaves them all together. It reads like it was part of some plan Terry had 25 years ago, though I’m sure it isn’t. The most touching part to me is the Elcrys, and the approaching demise of Amberle Ellesedil. Even though she hasn’t been a “real character” since her first appearance, I always experience a bit of sadness whenever I think about her or the Elcrys is mentioned. It seems like her reign as Elcrys was rather short. I wonder if it was affected by events such as the elves moving her in the Heritage series or the recent crossing over the Forbidding in High Druid. I’m also convinced that the Elven girl who wrote the diary was the first Elcrys. The Ohmsford twins are an interesting duo, and I didn’t foresee their separation. In fact, the most surprising part was how the group ended up split apart in the end. The advance of science in the World of Shannara is interesting, and the abandonment of Paranor was well done. Finally, I figure the real bad guys in this adventure are probably demons. The Elfstones may have become detectable due to the hole in the Forbidding, and perhaps the diary was planted to be found to lure the Druids from the Elcrys when she’ll need the protection.
Well, it looks like this will be another grand adventure, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next installment! Be sure that I’ll be commenting more after I read it!