One thing that seems to be lacking in fantasy stories these days is a variety of magic within a series. By this I mean that, in most series the type of magic being used will be pretty much the same in each book. Lord of the Rings relied upon Gandalf and his staff, Wheel of Time sees the One Power grow minimally and in Barclay's Raven series its uses are strict and controlled.
However in Brooks' original Shannara Trilogy, each book sees a different variation occur that leaves you guessing as to how the magics role will play in the book. In the first book it rested in the Sword of Shannara; book two saw a diminished power in the Elfstones of Shannara; whereas in book three, the Wishsong of Shannara, we are apparently introduced to the most powerful appearance of the Jerle Shannara magic in the Wishsong.
Once again focusing on the descendants of Jerle Shannara, the third story focuses on Brin and Jair Ohmsford. They are the children of Wil and Eretria Ohmsford, and they soon encounter our favorite brooding druid Allanon. He whisks Brin away on a “dire quest” which can only be completed by her specific manifestation of the Wishsong.
However it soon comes to the younger brother Jair that if he doesn't do something, his sister will die in the attempt and nothing will be accomplished.
In this the third of his original trilogy, Brooks once again raises the bar from his previous efforts. I did enjoy the second one better, and in fact got stuck for several months halfway through this book as I could not continue (that it was to do with the book solely or not, is unlikely). However the second half of this book is definitely worth plodding through the first half.
One of the issues I have with the entire trilogy (and I'm afraid that it might continue if what I've heard about the following books is true) is the character of Allanon. He frustrates me and seems to be nothing short of being a selfish bastard. He makes decisions for people that seem to have no basis in the facts, but rather seem to satisfy his relentless need to be in total control all the time.
However he is removed from the story in a fashion towards the end of the second third of the book, and we are left with two parallel stories that I found entirely fascinating. Brin is strong and determined, and almost a Joss Whedon style character in the way she is written. Jair on the other hand is entirely the junior, stubborn, petulant, but definitely out to save his sister no matter what.
What makes the story for me are Jair's companions, and even though they should all be wearing red shirts (a Star Trek reference, sorry), they serve the story well.
Rone Leah, Brin's companion and would be lover, is a little on the tiresome side, and you soon become a little sick of Slanter's continual internal bickering as to whether he should continue on or not. At a certain point, you just want him to shut up and get on with the decision making process. Sometimes it feels that actions or dialogue are just there to fill up the word count.
That being said, the third and final installation of Brooks' original Shannara trilogy is definitely worth the read. The second half is fascinating and enthralling all at once, and if you have a sibling of any sort (who you regard fondly), you will enjoy the ending immensely.
Review by Joshua S Hill
7.6/10 from 1 reviews
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