The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Decided to skip Sword as I was never overly fond of it, I just read a detailed summary of it instead. There are references to it but nothing that takes away from this story.

I’ve read this book many times but the last time was probably nearly twenty years ago so though I knew the general gist of the story, I’d forgotten most of the particulars. So this follows Wil and Amberle as they go on a journey to bring back to life the Ellcrys tree which holds back a horde of demons. As they do so, some of the demons break free and obviously are out to try to stop them.

So I feel that this has really held up well. While it doesn’t have as much nuance as some modern books do, it is still a great, fast paced adventure story. While following a fairly linear path at the start, it soon diverges into two distinct storylines, the first with Wil and Amberle on the quest to the Bloodfire, the other with Allanon and Ander in the battle against the demon army. The hopping between the two is moderate at first but increases as we get towards the endgame, and this worked very well at building up the suspense. The former storyline has many elements of horror to it in the form of the Reaper, a relentless hunter after the two main protagonists and the latter storyline is a brilliant military campaign story, I particularly liked the holding battle after they had been forced back to the city.

Allanon has always been a mysterious character and you do wish there were more POV’s from him, unfortunately most of what we get is from other’s perspective. All the other character’s are interesting but I never got as close to them as some other of Brook’s characters, such as those from the Heritage series. Though pegged as a (four book) trilogy these are all fairly standalone so you don’t get the time to invest as you do in a regular series. I am enjoying these re-reads and looking forward to starting Wishsong.

4 stars

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