Tuesday, May 8, 2018

First King of Shannara

In this standalone Shannara novel by Terry Brooks, occurring between the Legends of Shannara duology and the original Shannara trilogy, a Borderman named Kinson Ravenlock awaits an old Druid named Bremen, with the news that the Trolls move eastward, and Skull Bearers being in the mountains. The Warlock Lord Brona, once a Druid himself, has stolen a book of magic from Paranor, further learning of the Black Elfstone from Ildatch. The two have a run-in with a Skull Bearer, though they escape, and ultimately tell the High Druid Athabasca and the Council about the impending threat.

The Council rejects the proposal to deal with the forces of darkness, and both Kinson and Bremen spend the night in the forest, soon joined by a female Druid named Mareth, along with the Dwarf Risca and the Elf Tay Trefenwyd. Skull Bearers ultimately attack Paranor, with the Warlock Lord immuring the remaining Druids at the temple, and Tay tasked with seeking the Black Elfstone, meeting the Elf who eventually becomes the titular pioneer monarch, Jerle Shannara, the two heading for Arborlon where Tay visits his family and tells King Courtann Ballindarroch of the impending danger of the Skull Bearers.

The titular weapon of the first entry of the original Shannara trilogy, aptly named the Sword of Shannara, is eventually forged, and battles conclude the novel, which is ultimately engaging, although it would have certainly benefited from reminders as to the races of particular characters since one can somewhat lose track of them, given the diversity within the story. Even so, the adventures of the characters are enjoyable, and this novel is an effective transitional work into the hard fantasy-based Shannara novels, with one needing not any knowledge of its predecessors to read.

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