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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
It is usual to find my head immersed in a David Eddings or Terry Goodkind novel, not emerging until the very last word has been fully digested. However, the seemingly never ending well of novels had finally been exhausted and I was reluctantly forced to explore other authors. I happened upon this book by accident and I can truely say I am extremely grateful for that.
This is one of the most outstanding writers I have had the pleasure of reading, the way in which each character is bought to life is amazing and the curious mix of modern day life and a sprinkling of magic is genius. If you are anything like me and have difficulty in been unfaithful to your favourite authors, take a deep breath, reach into your purse and take the plunge. I guarantee you won't regret it. This book has everything, well thought out intertwining plots, imagination grabbing characters and at no time do you feel that words have been used to 'fill the gaps'. Fast paced and incredibly entertaining.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 1 February 2006
I like most of the writing of Terry Brooks. This book is along the lines of the other - good fighting evil with some magic thrown in. Yet it manages to avoid becoming more of the same old, same old. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
The main character in this omnibus is the Knight of the Word, John Ross. His duty in life is to fight the demons of the Void, while at the same time protecting regular humans as much as possible. Both Knights and demons are humans who have been changed by magic.
In the first book he meets up with Nest Freemark, the last of a long line of female park protectors. Through their magic they have tried to keep magic in balance. This has assisted the sylvan Pick, who is the caretaker of the Sinnissippi park in Hopewell. John Ross is on the tail of a demon who seems more than a little interested in Nest and he has to figure out how to deal with this demon before July 4th.
In book two we once again meet up with Nest and John. Nest is now five years older and at college. John has lost his faith in the Word and his abilities as a knight, so Nest is sent to rescue him before the Lady has to deal with his failure. Along the way more demons arrive and John has to face some unpleasant truths about himself.
In the third book John has found the Gypsy Moth and is heading for Nest to get help. But the demons want the Gypsy Moth as well, and they have discovered his destination. The Void has sent its best demon. Not only does Nest have to help John, but ghosts from the past turn up again. Bennet from book one turns up, this time with a child. The ending of the book was surprising and interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Initially, I'd held off from reading this, just as I've held off from reading Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom series. However, upon reading the blurb for the Genesis of Shannara series, I figured (rightly, as it happens) that I'd get more out of it if I read the Word and the Void series first.
Let me say here that I'm well aware of the accusations of Brooks being a sub-Tolkien rehash of every fantasy cliche going. That doesn't bother me at all. I'm not as interested in reading a "new" story, as an old story told well. Brooks does that. I read Sword of Shannara about 25 years ago, and have enjoyed his books over the years since then, although I've never been sure who his target audience is; the main characters are usually teenagers, and however adult his scenarios are, the true potential of the horror is rarely fully realised.
That's not a criticism, it's an observation.

HOWEVER...

Perhaps because this series is set in the present day (technically, the near future, but by the time I read it, it's more like contemporary fiction, but I digress), there's a much grittier tone to it, especially as the series progresses. The third book is especially brutal in its treatment of characters, and Brooks allows no leeway for sentiment. The use of "real time" narrative adds to the relentless sense of a slow burning fuse about to reach the gunpowder barrel.
One reviewer made mention of the "twist" in the second book being spotted a mile off, and gave the whole thing one star. I agree to a point; the identity of the demon couldn't be more obvious if it was signposted in neon lights, but that doesn't render the whole piece useless.

The fact is, I enjoy Terry Brooks because he provides me with easy-to-read escapism. Completely unfeasible, granted, but escapism nonetheless. And while his plotting has become more indepth (now that a single story takes place over the course of three or more volumes, as opposed to the first three linked but stand-alone books), it remains pure escapism.

My only gripe (for purely personal reasons) is that his portrayal of Elves is as little more than pointy-eared humans, with the same lifespan, lifestyles and motivations of humans, which doesn't sit well with me, especially as they're genuine faerie creatures, and the other fantasy races are mutated humans. But they don't appear in this series, so it isn't an issue.

Ultimately, if you've read this far, I'd say you need to read this series before the Genesis of Shannara series, or a lot of what you read will be meaningless. But, while it's a departure from his normal fantasy setting, it sets up the Shannara origin story perfectly, and is well worth reading in its own right.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2003
I read this book having finished the voyage of Jerle Shannara and with suitably lowered expecations i started the Word and the Void. Wow, what can i say, this is an immersive and deep series that exists in an almost completely different genre than his previous books. Rather than being set in fantasy worlds such as Landover or the land of the shannara books it is set in a small town in America. The characters are brilliant (except for Pick) especially Jonathon Ross who is independant and charismatic in a similiar vein to Walker Boh in the Shannara books and its good to see the complete evolution of him as a character throughout the series plus the notion of him being driven by dreams is a brilliant and subtle twist. If you have read any of Brooks' other books i would suggest setting aside your normal idea of Brooks writing as this is a completely different style. This series is much darker than previous series and much less fight driven, which isn't to say there is no action, the fight with Findo Gasks demons being a perfect example its just there is more time spent with the subtle manouvering and manipulation of demons. i would really recommend this book to anyone whether they have read Brooks books before and at the low price for a whole series there really is no excuse not to delve into another fantastic Brooks world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Gathered for the first time in one superb volume, Terry Brooks trilogy of the Word and the Void. Highly creative, set in a modern world where magic and demons are fought against by Knights of the Word such as the novels principle protagonist John Ross. Completely different to Brooks Shanarra series if you've become disillusioned by the sheer volume, read this novel, it will remind you that the writing talent is not only strong and so enjoyable but is difficult to put down with this series sure to become a firm favourite. How do I know? Well my Dad's a big Brooks fan however he's never read this series and this is going to be his Christmas Treat with I suspect the consequence of not seeing him without his nose in the book. At least I know one guy that won't be bored over the Christmas period.
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I've been a fan of the Shannara series since the publication of The Sword of Shannara way back in who knows when (I'm too scared to look as it will remind me how old I am). I have had this omnibus edition for a while now, and have been waiting for the right opportunity - time and frame of mind - to dive into it. I would like to re-read the whole series from the beginning so thought I would start here, as the chronological listing recommended on Wikipedia suggests. The Omnibus edition incorporates three books - Running with the Demon, A Knight of the word and Angel Fire East. At around 880 pages, it's a hefty tome indeed.

The first book, Running with the Demon, introduces Nest Freemark, who seems to be different to the other kids in her small American town. We also glimpse the Knight of the Word, and the darkness of the Void, but it takes a while before we understand what these things could be, or why. The story is fairly slow-moving, slow but steady, as it moves along what seems to be a fairly predictable path. But that's not a bad thing - it's an easy read, and it sets the scene for so much that follows; and the writing is readable and engaging. The scenes with the demon and the maentwrog are totally enthralling; as the story moves to its climax it's definitely difficult to put the book aside; the reader is driven to find out what happens next.

The second book, A Knight of the Word, starts five years later. Nest is now nineteen years old. The story takes place over the course of just a few days, when Nest learns that John Ross, the Knight of the Word, has fallen from grace. John has lost his faith and his path as the Lady's Knight, and has mistakenly concluded that he can remove himself from the Lady's service. Nest has to decide whether she will, or can, help him before the Void senses him. I felt the storyline in this book was weaker than the first - necessary character development takes place, but the plot itself around which such character development was placed was not gripping.

The third book, Angel Fire East, John Ross is given the task of finding a gypsy morph. What this is, and how it can help, unfolds in the book. Ten years has passed since the second book in this trilogy, and Nest is now twenty nine years old. A demon has appeared, looking for John Ross. Who will find him? And what will happen if he is found?

Overall impressions? I love the Shannara series, and felt that this trilogy of stories, the prelude to the Shannara overarching story, would offer some `beginnings'. It did in a way - we see the world that we know now and what it might become; but in other ways, there were still unanswered questions - the `magic' just is - there is no beginning to it that we know of - things such as the maentwrog, the feeders, the ur'droch, the demons - they are all there already in these stories. So we still don't know from whence they came - but perhaps it's best that we don't know. A great addition to the Shannara universe, and definitely worthwhile reading for a Shannara fan.
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on 14 October 2009
Having been a fan of Terry Brooks for many years I actually avoiding reading Running with the Demon when it first came out. From the cover synopsis I figured it wasn't in the same era as the Shannara storyline and wouldn't be the same. A few months back I bought the omnibus out of curiosity, and was veyr glad about that choice at long last!

It's a different tale, modern day settings but mixed with magic in such a way as to be entirely believable. There is a darkness to this work and a depth of character not seen in the Shannara works. Brooks seems to have spent a lot of time working on his characters and enjoyed it too. I love epic storylines, battles, wars, sagas, anything like that but I also like to be refreshed with a solid cast of characters that move the story onward instead of the plot dragging them along.

If you've read other stuff by Brooks then do give this a chance. It's a kind of prequal to the Shannara works, a very very early prequal actually. It has a sense of things to come, a foreboding tale but one that sparks the excitement as you trun each page hoping more of the future will be revealed. This is a story filled with rich imagery, quality characters, well paced action balanced evenly with care and attention to detail. Get this book, settle in, spare some time and let your imagination chew up each and every line!
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on 6 March 2011
I have read a few of Terry Brooks books but this is the beginning of the Shannara series, I chose this so I could start at the beginning and he has not let me down the book begins in an ordinary town in the middle of a summer heat wave the characters have a intriguing and secretive life, one cannot put the book down, he pulls you into the plots and builds up your expectation. I have not finished this book yet but I am looking forward to the next in the amazing story of the survival of the humans and the rise of the elfin people. If you are into having adventure, drama, magic and wonder this is the book for you which will take you into the new and exciting realms of an other dimension.The Word and The Void is the beginning of a great adventure. I recommend this book to start you on your way as Terry Brooks colours your inner world with intrigue and wonder.
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I am reading this book for the third time. I love this book more every time I read it. Nest is a wonderful character, John Ross is great and the idea of the feeders is quite unnerving in a way. The way Brooks interprets human nature and how many of us feel the world is becoming more violent and destructive rings true. Also, if you keep reading the Books in order, technologies part on a possible future. I love these in particular over his other work because you can almost believe the Feeders exists feeding on the anger and hatred of the world, demons manipulation humans to do wrong. This won't be for everyone but I encourage my children to have an imagination and I love to get my imagination worked even at my age. I am looking forward to seeing this in Audio CD format as I would love this in my audio collection.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2007
Word and the Void series sets itself apart from other fantasy series and is incredible. I very much like Brooks (apart from the Magic Kingdom series) and this trilogy is gritty and fast paced. Managed to get the original hardback editions and have read and reread them, this series is superb and if I had to pick a favourite trilogy this would be it. Set in modern day Illinois it portrays its story of Nest Freemark (in particular life stages) and her battle with the void with the help of John Ross a Knight of the word - it is totally different and refreshing from the normal fantasy gene. What is also good is that this series has not been extended beyond the trilogy (due to poor sales in the 90s)That also keeps it fresh without becoming tired
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