Monday, March 15, 2021

Witch Wraith


The third and final entry of the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks opens with some of the main characters, chiefly Railing Ohmsford, on the airship Quickening, recalling how Grianne Ohmsford, in her time, fought the Straken Lord. They eventually encounter the Troll Challa Nand, with the Shannara series as a whole doing a good, distinctive job of not depicting the various races as inherently good or evil, unlike other fantasy authors such as Tolkien. Meanwhile, the Ellcrys, the tree serving as a lock to the realm known as the Forbidding, is failing, and the quest to find the Bloodfire necessary to cultivate a seed for a replacement for the sacred plant continues.

Demons from the Forbidding wage war on Shannara, led by a resurrected Straken Lord, with the demonic creatures catching the defenders of the city of Arishaig by surprise. Redden Ohmsford wants to venture to the city of Arborlon and enter the Forbidding in hopes of ending the demonic assault, with the Elves of the Four Lands battling the Jarka Ruus as well. It is ultimately discovered that cultivating a replacement Ellcrys would require a sacrifice, with Arlingfant Elessedil a candidate to follow one of her ancestors in growing the new tree, and her sister Aphenglow distraught at her sister’s potential death.

All in all, while the final entry of the Dark Legacy trilogy does a few things to separate itself from other fantasy novels, such as creating gray area in alignment for nonhuman races, and is competent, it comes across as fairly generic, though I can definitely see the influences upon Japanese videogame storylines that the fabled franchise would provide. It decently ties to the previous Shannara subseries, although as with other books in the franchise, one can find difficult keeping track of who belongs to what race, and the remnants of the prior human civilization serving as the chief backstory of the books the author doesn’t much touch upon, and only those who swear by the series will enjoy this entry.

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