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4.5 out of 5 stars148
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2013
I have read almost everything Brooks has written (the Star Wars Phantom Menace book is on the shelf but remains unread) and have enjoyed them for the most part, particularly the early works. Due to personal circumstances I haven't had the time to read for a while and was eager to read this book while on holiday.
What a disappointment. Within a few chapters I was reminded that I was less than impressed with his last book too.
The style is plodding, inconsistent, unengaging and rather lazy. I slogged through the book waiting and hoping for it to get better but apart from a couple of brief flashes of the old Brooks it never really did. The plot and "twists" are, for the most part, extremely predictable and those parts that are not come as no real surprise.
The characters are shallow and bland and there are obvious "Red Shirts" (a term used in Star Trek circles to refer to the often anonymous red-shirted security officers that tended to be killed quickly if they ever had the misfortune to be featured in an episode).
I never really felt for any of the characters and indeed started to get angry and frustrated with the main character. She is regularly in danger but keeps assuring herself that her "heightened Druid senses" will protect her. Needless to say she is attacked several times without these senses warning her, and even friends and colleagues appear "suddenly" or "out of nowhere" very close to her. However, never does she question the apparent failures of her "heightened senses" and insists on slipping away from those who want to protect her. In the end I felt that she deserved to get her backside kicked!
Another example of lazy and inconsistent writing is that at one point a character looks at an overcast sky and notes the position of the sun- how exactly?! If the sky is overcast then by definition the sun cannot be seen!
As has been noted by at least one previous reviewer, Brooks seems to be using some sort of generic Shannara story generator into which he inserts various names, races, generic plots and ideas and plot devices from previous books, turns the handle and hey presto, another Shannara book is produced.
I cannot see how the many reviewers who give this book a high rating can possibly do so, unless they are new to the genre or Brooks' books in particular. This novel is a pale imitation of his early work and is the second disappointment in a row from him. I am just about to start the next book in the trilogy and am hoping against hope that it returns to the quality of earlier ones. We shall see.
On a practical note- does any real person (as opposed to a computer spell-checker) actually proof-read books any more? There are a couple of glaring typos in my hardcover copy where the large capital letter at the beginning of a chapter is wrong! In chapter 17 for example, it should be a "K" for the start of Khyber Elessedil but is actually an "A"! Obviously computers cannot pick up mistakes of this kind, so you would think somebody would make a special point of checking these paragraph openings, but no. Lazy.
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I've been a long time fan of Terry Brooks ever since my Uncle introduced his books to me in 1987 but I think I have to partially agree with a lot of the other reviewers of this book in that it just didn't seem as in depth as his books normally are and I have struggled so far to actually like and sympathize with any of the characters despite Khyber Elessedil making a reappearance but as the Ard Rhys. I can only surmise that Mr Brooks is using this first book in the trilogy as a 'scene setter' and the second in the trilogy - Bloodfire Quest which is due out next March will pick up the pace so to speak. In any matter the second book is already pre-ordered by me and Mr Brooks remains my longest standing favourite author. My review follows:

The book starts in the Elven capital of Arborlon with a druid elf called Aphenglow Elessedil who has been tirelessly searching the elven histories for the last year, searching for any mention of any lost or forgotten magic. Just when Aphenglow was perhaps beginning to lose hope of discovering anything new she stumbles upon a diary written many years ago by a young elven girl. The elven girl is called Aleia Omarosian and in her diary she describes meeting and falling for a Darkling boy who eventually steals the elfstones hidden in her home by her father. The elfstones described can only surely be one thing and that is the long lost and forgotten elfstones from the elven past. The only elfstones left in existence for century's have been the black elfstone and the blue seeking stones with the other's never having been found but could this be the first clue as to where those lost elfstones are? If so then they must be found and Aphenglow is anxious to let the other druids at Paranor know of this and in particular awaken the Ard Rhys (Khyber Elessedil) however Aphenglow appears to not be the only one to know of her discovery as two very rapid attacks are made on her life whilst she is still in Arborlon. Aphenglow does make it safely back to Paranor and the Ard Rhys awakens from the druid sleep and the decision is made to go in search of the elfstones. But can the druid's find and recover the lost elfstones and just who has made the attempts on Aphenglow?

I don't want to give too much of the book away and possibly ruin it for anyone but as with most of the Shannara books there are obviously Ohmsford's involved and of them they are two twin brothers called Redden and Railing whose characters I did like. Where would the Ohmsford's be without a Leah of course and this time the Leah involved is a woman called Mirai whom both brothers like...... Add to the book the shade of Allanon making an appearance and the usual political underhandedness going on but this time from the Southlands, along with a Bloodfire Quest to obviously come up in the next book (ergo the title) this series looks to have the beginning of the usual Terry Brooks magic. I am certainly looking forward to book two in the trilogy and here's hoping that Mr Brooks gets back to his normal in depth writing style. If you like Terry Brooks' books then although not as in depth as I would have liked it to be this is still a cracking read.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 July 2013
Possibly the most brilliant thing Terry Brooks has done with his Shannara works is the creation of a world that spans thousands of years and evolves as a real world would.

In this book we find ourselves roughly a century on from the events of the previous novels (previous in terms of chronology in the series not in written order) and the world has moved on again. Science is catching up with magic and a struggle for power is coming soon. To think that the Shannara series started with small little hamlets and kingdoms and now encompasses federations and cities shows how far these books have gone. With the addition of newer books that acted as prequels we have been with the Shannara series through the destruction of an old world, the rise of a new and the countless rise and falls of different powers be they the druid council, kingdoms or even the rule of magic itself.

In all of the fantasy series I have ever read this is the first one to encompass so much change and it is the reason why every time you pick up a new Shannara series you can be sure that though instantly familiar as part of Terry Brook's world you are still in for a ride that feels just as fresh as ever.

This book is the first in a trilogy of which the Druids undertake a quest to find a magic lost to the world since the time of the faerie. Whilst they are out on their quest however they leave themselves open to attack from the federation of men who want to see the druids and all magic wiped from the world.

What follows is the beginning of what appears to be another gripping adventure for the Shannara world and possibly the beginning of a completely new era for the residents of the four lands.

This was an enjoyable book as per usual and I am thoroughly looking forward to reading the next. Terry Brooks has wonderfully set the scene with this book, teasing us with what might be to come but leaving us with great amounts of questions that need to be answered.

All in all a great book and I recommend to all Terry Brooks fans. For those who have not read his books I know that Mr Brooks does writes his novels so you can pick up any of the series and start afresh but I do recommend reading the previous novels to get a full history of this world.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 July 2014
For fans of Brooks' Shannara series here comes a new trilogy expanding on the world and happenings. Set in a volatile period of Elven history, where science and technology is getting rediscovered by the races just as the magical power is slowly waning (the exception being the handful of druids still very much invested in it), it goes sufficiently far to be an intriguing volume drawing you into the new trilogy.

A quest for finding long lost elfstones is one of the main threads in the book, the other being the defence of the druid order as such. While there is a partial resolution to the one part, the book is more or less only a scene setter to the other one.

As the book is a scene setter for the rest of the trilogy, most of the characters are covered only vaguely - the exception being Aphenglow Elessedil, the female protagonist (elven druid). With her you get a reasonably well developed, rounded character.

The book finds a reasonable balance between scene setting, character development and action sequences, and while the high number of characters only allows some of them to be developed fully (and some disappear before getting there), it all remains intriguing enough to look forward to the second and third installments to the trilogy. While I have read other Shannara works by the author, doing so is not essential (even if somewhat helpful) for one's enjoyment of the book.
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on 6 September 2012
I have read all Terry's books and mostly enjoyed them. I was really looking forwards to this! I have a signed copy coming and rather than wait for it to arrive - as I usually do - I got it on the kindle. However, I must agree that the characters seem less interesting than from previous books and as one reviewer said, rushed. The Ard Rhys seems cold and I just cannot warm to her or get interested at all. All the characters lack the depth that they have had in previous books. In addition, I felt a lot was quite repetitive from other books too, which made it predictable. I will still buy every book Mr Brooks writes but what this book did do was make me go back (dig up from my great collection of books) Elfstones of Shannara the ultimate Brooks masterpiece and I am re-reading that!
Well worth reading and I hope that we will see Terry Brooks at number one again as he truly is the master of fantasy - full stop.
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on 22 April 2014
My review for all 3 books in the trilogy:

A great lead into the story; just as we’ve come to expect from Terry Brooks. Interesting characters combined with a good story, old history revisited, familiar places and new. Re-entering the Shannara world is like putting on a comfortable sweater and sitting in front of a log fire with a good drink to hand! If that’s what you’ve come to expect, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re new to Shannara novels you’ll enjoy it, but I’d suggest starting with the original ‘Sword of Shannara’ and working your way up!

I enjoy the way Terry composes his novels; and this has been no exception. If you read this, like me it leaves you wanting to get on with the next instalment…

One point (Mr Brooks); it would’ve been good to read the previous trilogy first (High Druid of Shannara); but I couldn’t!!! It’s not available on Kindle, so I had to read the next one instead (what else could I do at 11:00pm?!)

One other small criticism; a couple of the plot lines in the trilogy are a little bit predictable, but I can forgive this because I still really enjoyed it.
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on 3 February 2013
Terry Brooks has again brought to life a new adventure that teases at dark things to come.
I will not spoil the plot so will just say that the characters have been introduced and led into peril by the end with what promises to be a darker story than most.
Brooks continueing to weave his magic in the world of Shannara.
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on 14 August 2013
I have read every one of the Shannara books and loved them all. I was therefore understandably thrilled when the third book of the latest trilogy was released - downloading the lot to read in one sitting. Sadly the book let itself down.

The ending was poor, with far too many loose ends and convenient fixes. The beginning was also poor and far too drawn out, with a focus on word count, rather than quality. The middle was better written, but sadly only to the point of mediocre.

The biggest let down though was the complete absence of plot - new plot, anyway. It seemed more like a mail-merge of the previous books than anything vaguely original. I have read the other books. If I want to read them again, then I can. I do not need to read what seems like a schoolchild's attempt to combine them into a new trilogy.

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on 8 January 2013
As usual Terry Brooks has yet another book that can't be put down till finished. Can't wait for the next book to find out what happens next. I have the complete collection which I have read more than once. Each one is like revisiting old friends.
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on 7 May 2014
I considered myself a real fan and loved the original Shannara books back in the day. However was disappointed with this and felt it lacked that magical spark the original series had. I felt it to be written to a three-book formula which has become the norm in this genre of fiction. Is it that having found an original storyline the author/ess is compelled to do it to death over and over again to keep the pennies rolling in. I think I am becoming bored with this format of storytelling, where I cannot get the whole storey without committing to at least three books, with the second usually being a very iffey padding piece. Not sure I liked any of the characters sufficiently to pay another £10 to find out what happened to them, so sad.
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