October 08, 2011

The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

I liked this book better than I did the first in this fantasy series by Brooks. While it's not necessary to read the first book (this one could stand alone quite easily) I do always recommend reading a series in order just for background information. As a whole, I'd probably rate this particular book about 3 1/2 stars.

Wil Ohmsford has been studying with some gnomish healers when the mysterious Allanon (powerful druid mentioned in first book) comes to disrupt his day and whisk him off across the countryside to help some elves. You see, Wil is the current holder of the Elfstones (magical stones that are attuned to only one user at a time) and he is to become the guardian for a runaway chosen named Amberle. Amberle was once one of the Chosen caretakers for a tree in Elven lands called the Elcrys. For centuries, the Elcrys has maintained a magical border that has held back the demon hordes from the land. Now, she is weakening and dying and demons are starting to slip through, eager to see that she is not reborn and they can come into the land permanently.

With the gift of a seed from the tree, Amberle and Will must venture further into deserted land to take it to a place where it can be awakened in what is known as the Bloodfire. Here the seed will become ready to be planted and grow into the new Elcrys and hopefully save elven kind and also the rest of the world as the demons would not stop at just killing the elves. They meet many friends and foe on their journey and have to be careful as a particularly dangerous demon known as the Reaper is hot on their tracks trying to stop them. The question is however, will they be able to plant the fertilized seed in time to save everyone?

The characters in this book aren't developed fully. While a lot of time and description is given to other matters, we kind of have to be content with just having a few attributes given to us about the main characters. I do have to say that I enjoyed Eretria, a side character. She had a lot of fire and it would have been great to see more of her in the book.

The writing is very descriptive but this tends to slow it up a bit in the battle scenes. To be honest, I didn't really care about the battles between the elves and demons and would have much preferred to read more about Wil and Amberle's journey instead. I think it would have been more interesting, especially since towards the end we are given less and less of them.

This is a decent fantasy and more original than the first book was. It's still not the most fantastic fantasy out there but it is good for a winter's day where it's just too frigid to do anything outside. I look forward to reading more of the Shannara series.

The Elfstones of Shannara
Copyright 1982
564 pages
There are pictures in this book but luckily they were done much better than in the first book and you can tell what they are now.

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