October 08, 2011

The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks

I wasn't a big fan of this third and final book in the Shannara trilogy. While it isn't necessary to read the first two books before this one as it can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading them just for some background. Actually, I'd probably read the first two and skip this one as it is not nearly on level with them.

Brin Ohmsford and her brother Jair are greatly surprised when the mysterious and well known druid Allanon comes to their home to seek them out. You see, the two are able to use the wishsong, elven magic that responds only to them, and in Jair's case, only as an illusion. A new evil is on the rise in the form of the Mord Wraiths who are controlled by a dark book far to the east. Allanon requests (and demands as is his nature) that Brin come with him to destroy this evil as only she has the power to. She is accompanied by her friend Rone Leah who is to be her protector and they set off with the druid to try to put an end to this evil. Meanwhile, Jair, who is left behind to warn their parents, is taken by a roaming pack of gnomes who were searching for Allanon and they discover he holds the magic. After a rescue and then strange meeting with the Guardian of the Silver River (which has been poisoned) he is set out on a quest to cure the river and also assist his sister. This can only be accomplished by reading his destination before she can reach hers and then help her with his magic before she can fail in her task. With five helpers, he has to journey as well through the treacherous eastlands, not knowing what he may encounter.

The characters in this had the potential to be interesting but were never really given a chance. They are not fully developed and I didn't even really like the main characters, Brin and Jair which made it hard to care about what happened to them in this novel. Once again, major motivations were not explained satisfactorily either. Brooks even makes note of one of my biggest problems with the series (the fact that Allanon doesn't share information) yet doesn't produce a good answer to why he makes his character do that (he does provide an answer, just not a good one).

The writing drags in this book due to overuse of description and scenes that could have just been cut out. I found myself putting the book down multiple times just to get away from it and take a break, and since I read for fun, this didn't sit well with me. It just gets plain boring through most of the book and tedious in other parts. There is a redeeming feature to this book, however. I loved the idea of the wishsong and devoured any parts of the book that mentioned it. It was a neat idea for magic and well thought out and saved this book from being too much of a mess.

I'll probably avoid Brook's books for awhile. He just isn't consistent on how well done or original they are and I like to try to choose books to read that I'll enjoy. Great fans of Brooks or the fantasy genre might appreciate this book, but most others probably will not.

The Wishsong of Shannara
Copyright 1985
504 pages

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