Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks
35 years after launching the high fantasy genre into the mainstream (before his 1977 The Sword of Shannara no fantasy book had made it onto the NYT mass paperback best seller list – it stayed on it for 5 months and a host of others followed) Brooks releases his 20th Shannara book. There is something new and something old to be had.
The new: Brooks got ahead of schedule in his writing of this trilogy – so far ahead that all 3 books will be released within a 12 month period. This is not just impressive, but great news for Brooks fans who often wait 1 year between books in a duology, trilogy, or 4 book set.
The old: It’s a quest! With Ohmsford’s! And Druids! And Leah’s! And magic!
The new: The sense of purpose and energy. Ever since Brooks merged his Word and Void series and Shannara there has been an excitement, verve, and sense of direction that had been missing for some years. This isn’t to imply that his books weren’t engaging or a good read. They always are. One thing about Brooks (as opposed to my Feist complaint) is that his stories have a purpose, stand out on their own, and are easily readable. But this book was the first in a bit that felt fresh and with a different level of purpose.
Since Brooks merged his two primary worlds there has been an overarching question/theme which is voiced clearly and repeatedly here – that of science versus magic. We now know that the world of Shannara is our own but thousands of years in the future, after science and technology have both destroyed and mutated our lands. Magic, nascent and known to only a few in our time, has become the dominant force. And that pendulum is beginning to swing back the other way. Magic, like science before it, has created as many problems as it has solved in the new wold order (see the previous 19 Shannara novels…) and is controlled, mainly through heredity, to a chosen few.
This new book takes us back to virtually the beginning of Brooks’s stories with a story about one of the most frequent questions he has gotten over the years – “What happened to the other Elfstones?” Readers know that the Blue Elfstones are the only ones to have survived – the seeking stones. There were others, but they had been lost to history. Until now.
Aphenglow Elessedil is both elf – a granddaughter of the current elf king – and Druid. Which makes her an outcast to her people, barely tolerated and endured only because of her royal heritage. In fact, most peoples of the Four Lands are suspicious and mistrustful of the Druids – a multinational group of magic wielding individuals who seek to gather up magic to ensure it is available to everyone equally in the Four Lands and not used to harm or enslave anyone. They are protectors and often misunderstood. And in the basements of the Elven histories Apgenglow finds a clue as to what might have happened to the 4 missing sets of Elfstones. It is what she has spent a year looking for and a decisive and important possibility as the power of the Druids wanes and science continues to increase its hold.
So a quest is formed and the leader of the Druid order, Khybar Elessedil, who is also an elf and a relative of Aphenglow, sets out to meet with the Druid shade Allanon who informs her of the urgency of her quest, the need to rely on others outside the order, especially a pair of Ohmsford twins, and the ominous warning that virtually all will not make it back from the quest.
As with virtually all of the Shannara novels, the world depends on a few young individuals whose character and mettle will be tested. Brooks binds the hundreds of years of his stories together by relying on a few families of average people to view the action through – the Leah’s and Ohmsford’s. There are Druids, who help shape and lead the quest, but always have a deeper set of motivations which they do not make known. There is Paranor – the Druid home, which plays a crucial role in this novel. And finally there is a more recent focus of the Shannara novels – the Ellcry’s, a magically imbued tree which is tended to by the Elves and keeps in place a shield holding back the evil from the birth of this world in an inhospitable place known as The Forbidding.
This book had a slower pacing and buildup, which helped allow me to focus on the characters and their motivations. While the action – the quest – is key, spending time on the company helped flesh them out a bit more and made the choice and results have more weight. Brooks is building a longer story here and wants us to be invested in not just the end result, but the people. I, for one, found this to be a welcome change. And I also have a sense we may see some other old friends again.
Overall, the book was a good first installment of what looks to be a defining change in the Shannara world.
This Wards of Faerie book review was written by Brian Herstig
All reviews for: The Dark Legacy of Shannara
Wards of Faerie
The Dark Legacy of Shannara: Book 1
With the discovery of ancient powers, a legend begins... There was an age when the world was young. It was a time before the coming of humans, a time when magic was the dom...
Have you read Wards of Faerie?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Wards of Faerie reader reviews
Garry from England
Absolutely brilliant. It's like the author of the article said: a strong mix of good and old. Brooks neglected to describe at first how elves look and other things like this and he was right to do so. We weren't bored with unnecessary details: he knew what was right for the story and went with it. It's traditional fantasy and that's what I like most about it. It's not all wizards and wands. It's politics. It's inexplicable events that make you wonder how they happened. It makes you worry for the characters. The only negative I have is it carries on to another book. But I dearly look forward to being engrossed in his next story as much as I was with this one. Not quite my favourite author just yet. Cornwell is hard to beat but it's the closest any author has come to being my favourite since him. Terry Brooks deserves no less than a 10. I loved it and I'll love the rest of his books.
9.4/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Lord of the Rings
Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power - the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ri...
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Lifelong friends, they went their separate ways. Now they are together again, though each holds secrets from the others in his heart. They speak of a world shadowed with ru...
Wheel of Time
Life in Emond's Field has been pretty boring for Rand Al'Thor and his friends until a strange young woman arrives in their village. Moraine is an Aes Sedai, a magic...
Blood Of Elves
For more than a hundred years humans, dwarves, gnomes and elves lived together in relative peace. But times have changes, and now the races once again fight each other - an...
The Dark Elf Trilogy
Drow ranger Drizzt Do’Urden, first introduced in The Icewind Dale Trilogy, quickly became one of the fantasy genre’s standout characters. But Homeland first rev...
Deep Into The Heart of a Rose
On a crisp autumn morning, in his cottage in the idyllic land of the Vale, Mr. Edward T. Cozzlebottom composed the following letter for his secret love, the graceful and lo...
Crown of Stars
The Kingdom of Wendar is in turmoil. King Henry still holds the crown, but his reign has long been contested by his sister Sabella, and there are many eager to flock to her...
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou'...
Monster Blood Tattoo
Rossamund has always dreamed of a career in the Navy, fighting tentacled monsters and rescuing damsels from hook-handed pirates. But fate has chosen him for a different pat...
Dawn of Wonder
When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer wit...
The idyllic life of Princess Inos is disturbed when a god appears, hinting that she will wed. As no eligible suitors ever visit the kingdom, Inos is exiled to learn how to ...
Forging of a Knight
Hugo V Negron
A battle against the forces of Those That Stand in Shadow brings an end to an old hero and a beginning for a new one. Together with a half-orc thief named Glaive, a young w...
James A Moore
The people of Fellein have lived with legends for many centuries. To their far north, the Blasted Lands, a legacy of an ancient time of cataclysm, are vast, desolate and im...
Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close,...
In the years before the Dragons laid waste to man's empire, the fearsome monsters were used for war and as gifts of surpassing wealth to buy favour in the constant poli...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Set 'In Britain's land beyond the seas' during the Age of Chivalry, The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun tells of a childless Breton Lord and Lady (the 'Aotrou' an...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Hig, bereaved and traumatised after global disaster, has three things to live for - his dog Jasper, his aggressive but helpful neighbour, and his Cessna aeroplane. He's just about surviving, so long as he only takes his beloved plane for short journeys, and saves his remaining fuel. But, just once, he picks up a message from another pilot, a...
Beren and Luthien
Painstakingly restored from Tolkien’s manuscripts and presented for the first time as a continuous and standalone story, the epic tale of Beren and Lúthien wil...
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall - named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn h...
While honeymooning in the Tower of Babel, Thomas Senlin loses his wife, Marya. The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel of the Silk Age. Immense as a mountain, the ancient...
The Ninth Rain
The great city of Ebora once glittered with gold. Now its streets are stalked by wolves. Tormalin the Oathless has no taste for sitting around waiting to die while the real...
The Court of Broken Knives
Anna Smith Spark
They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we pi...
With Blood Upon the Sand
Ceda, now a Blade Maiden in service to the kings of Sharakhai, trains as one of their elite warriors, gleaning secrets even as they send her on covert missions to further t...