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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 March 2013
I have been a life long fan of Terry Brooks since reading the Sword of Shannara nearly 25 years ago and his early works were fantastic, full of adventure, epic battles, solid character development and you felt fully engaged with the storytelling. However there has been a definate decline in his most recent works which have been a tad bland. Having read volumes 1/2 of the Dark Legacy series I have not changed my overall opinion of the stagnant nature of the stories.

Don't get me wrong they are a good enough read if they were a stand alone trilogy but up against his previous works they are a pale imitation. There is a lot or re telling old stories...the Ellcrys failing and the threat from within the forbidding...the dilemma to the chosen on the Bloodfire quest etc. There is nothing new or unique and the characters are not really fleshed out so when something happens to them you don't really care. The prose is a bit choppy and the settings seem to jump about ie there is a section when they are in mortal danger then next they are waking up in their beds in Aborlorn?!

It has the elements of earlier works..Ohmsfords(check), a Leah(check), a druid(check), Elves(check) but the characters and their interaction are paper thin and what was a rich and expansive world has now been watered down to shuttle trips on their airships between Paranor and Aborlorn..

Also in previous incarnations the Druids appeared to be a formidable force but in this series they seem a bit impotent and get knocked off with great ease and go out with a bit of a whimper unlike the great battling death of Allanon...

Like other reviewers it is maybe time to take a step away from the Shannara world or if there was to be a re visit then the storytelling needs to go in a different direction to re capture some of the old magic...no pun intended.
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on 19 May 2013
I'm a long time fan of Terry Brooks (right back to first edition Sword Of Shannara) He grabbed me again with 'Armageddons children', a great link between the 'Word and the void' series and 'Shannara' series, but this latest offering seem's forced and stale. There's nothing worse than a writer with nothing to say, but who takes a good four hundred pages to say it.
If I could set the scene here it would go something like this........"Mr Brooks, what's the first book in the the new trilogy about?" "Oh I'm glad you asked" says Mr Brooks, "It's about jack and Jill who go up a hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack falls down and breaks his crown and...Yadah, yadah, yadah..... " Oh ok Terry, how about the second book". "Well that's totally different, that's about Kate and Karl.....Who go up an incline to fetch a container of liquid. Karl slips and gets a concussion and......"Ok Mr Brooks I think we're getting it, how about the third book. "Oh now your talking, that's about Bob and Brenda. They climb a mountain for a flask on fluid and......."Mr Brooks.....Forget it!!
I'm no writer (I think I've just proved that), but the formula is getting a bit weak. I don't think Terry Brooks had a story he wanted to tell, but maybe the publishers just puhed and pushed. I recently read Jean Auels' latest offering in the 'Earths children' series and got the same feeling, she also constantly repeated herself padding out, what otherwise would have been a much shorter book, but with still a very weak story line.
I'm sorry Mr Brooks, but although I will purchase the last book of the trilogy (and that only because I am a die hard fan) I can't give this more than 2 stars (and those two are for your time and effort not the content). Anybody who is not a fan and is looking for a book to pass the time and keep your interest........Go and buy Dan Brown 'Inferno'.
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on 20 March 2013
I began to read Terry Brooks in 1977 with The Sword of Shannara and have bought pretty much every book he's written since. The early Shannara books (Sword, Wishsong and Scions) remain some of my favourite fantasy books, but it seems I'm not alone in noticing a decline in the standard of Brooks' writing. It's not that the Dark Legacy series is poor storytelling, despite the retreading of earlier books, it simply feels like the sketch outline of the novel Brooks should have written. Compared to earlier works the characters, good and 'bad', lack detail and fleshing out. This leaves me not caring too much about the Ohmsford heroes of the story and not understanding the motivations of Edinja Orle, the magic-wielding newly promoted Federation Prime Minister, in her campaign against the druids and the elves. Even the demons seem lacklustre this time around and petty in their ambitions (give me what I want and I'll happily march back into the forbidding and stay there). Gone is the grand panorama Brooks painted last time the forbidding came down, with what seemed a cross between Tolkein's Last Alliance and the Spartans at Thermopylae; this time the elves half-heartedly send a few blokes to see if anything is happening.....

Aside from feeling like a plot outline, the books are very short (something of a trend developing from 'Armageddons Children' onwards) and my cynical side feels that all three installments could easily have been published as one book, but this way the publishers, etc, make three times the money; okay if you're dealing with something like the Scions series, but with this Shannara-lite set I'm feeling short changed. I'll almost certainly buy the last instalment to see where this story goes, but will think long and hard about investing in future books if this decline continues.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 4 August 2015
For fans of Brooks' Shannara series here comes the second installment in 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 further into the new trilogy.

A quest for finding long lost elfstones remains one of the main threads in the book, the other being the salvation of the failed expedition into the Forbidding. This means lots of action filled sequences, fights by the minute and increasingly horrendous enemies to contend with. To top it off, the Ellcrys is failing, providing the protagonist with additional personal anguish in the form of her sister being chosen to renew it.

While most of the characters were only briefly elaborated upon in the first book of the trilogy (Wards of Faerie: Book 1 of The Dark Legacy of Shannara), the author uses the second volume to expand on this and make most of them relatively well rounded.

If you have read all of the previous Shannara books, there may be little that is new here; on the other hand it is not essential to know all of the Shannara world's history to enjoy the book.

In the end it managed to draw me in sufficiently so that I continued on straight to Witch Wraith: Book 3 of The Dark Legacy of Shannara, something I belive most other SFF fans will do, too.
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*Warning Potential Book 1 Spoilers*
Well for me this book was back to the good old Terry Brooks magic and whilst most of the plot line is similar to previous Shannara books, I personally loved this book and was gripped from start to finish, which I unfortunately wasn't with the first in the series Wards of Faerie: Book 1 of The Dark Legacy of Shannara. For me the sign of an excellent book is where you are still sitting up in the early hours of the morning reading it when you were meant to be trying to get an early night and that was exactly how I was with this book so I was subsequently very tired for a few mornings when I had to get up early with my son! The first book in the series was very slow going for me and I assumed that Mr Brooks must have been using it as a 'scene setter' to introduce all of the characters and the story line and I think I was correct as this book was much faster paced and a lot easier to get into. I've been a long time fan of Terry Brooks ever since my Uncle introduced his books to me in 1987 and the Shannara series and his excellent writing and story lines are what keeps me reading and what makes Terry Brooks my longest standing favourite author. I agree with a lot of the other reviewers in that his books do seem to be shorter than they used to be when compared to the likes of The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series: Shannara 1 and it would be very nice for him to go back to writing a 'chunkier' read but as he is releasing this trilogy a lot faster than normal (normally a book a year rather than every six months as with this series) I suppose you have to weigh up having a thicker book against being able to continue with the story line faster. An excellent read and I would definitely recommend it to both established fans and new readers. My review follows:

The story continues with the realisation that the Ellcrys is once again dying and that the walls of The Forbidding are failing as a result. The Ellcrys has chosen Arlingfant Elessedil to replace her as the Ellcrys which she herself (Amberle Elessedil) had done all those years ago. In order to do this Arlingfant must take the Ellcrys seed into a place called Safehold which is located in The Hollows and once there immerse the seed into the Bloodfire. When Arling returns to Arborlon with the seed she would then sacrifice her mortal life to be transformed into the new Ellcrys and therefore re-establish the barrier between the four lands and The Forbidding thus re-imprisoning the Demons that were banished there many years before. As with her predecessor Amberle, understandably Arling is very scared and unwilling to sacrifice herself to become the next Ellcrys and again like Amberle seeks to find a different way or for another to be chosen. So will Arling make the sacrifice or will someone take her place instead?
Meanwhile the Ard Rhys Khyber Elessedil, Redden Ohmsford and the rest of the expedition party are just coming to the realisation that they are trapped inside The Forbidding and must try to find a way out and back into the four lands. However before they can do that they must try to find their friends Crace Coram and Oriantha who were carried off by a Dracha (Dragon) at the end of the last book. As we all know from Grianne Ohmsford's entrapment in The Forbidding many years ago, The Forbidding is not a safe place to be stuck and not only are there many dark beings there such as Demons, Furies etc but it is also the home of Tael Riverine the Straken Lord and Lord of The Forbidding. So will all the members of the party escape The Forbidding or will The Speakman's prophesy come true and "only one will return"?
Also trapped on a plateau within the Fangs is Railing Ohmsford and the rest of the party that was left behind when the others inadvertently entered The Forbidding. Currently fighting for their lives from the Spider Gnome type creatures their situation seems without hope but will they be rescued and will any of them manage to escape with their lives?

As I have said above a truly gripping read from start to finish and yes although a lot of the plot line seems to have been done before I still truly thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to book 3 Witch Wraith: Book 3 of The Dark Legacy of Shannara when it is released later this year. One slight niggle though was that my book didn't have a map of Shannara in it as with every other single Shannara book in the past????!!!! Yes I do pretty much know the map by heart but I still enjoy referring to it whilst reading the story as I find it helps me have the feeling of being inside the story so quite disappointed that one wasn't in my book and would be interested to know if everyone else's books were the same?
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on 10 April 2016
A good story line, but I find Terry Brooks writing to be overly simplistic. In comparison to the likes of LOTR, GOT, Gormenghast, Robin Hobbs series etc there is just not that much detail.
However it is a nice intro to the fantasy genre, and not particularly aimed at younger readers so it is not patronising in the ways these books can be.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 July 2013
Bloodfire Quest is the second book in the Dark Legacy of Shannara series and picks up directly where the one before left off.

In the style of many of Terry Brooks' trilogies and series, his books are broken up into multiples seemingly out of a need to keep a continuous pace of one novel a year rather than the story needing to be broken up into smaller sections in order to better tell their tale. This book pushed all of the various story lines forward but didn't seem to accomplish much in the way of wrapping up anything or hinting towards where this story might lead.

Overall this book had the feeling of the middle act of a three act story and so upon finishing it I feel quite frustrated and not at all satisfied.

That is not to say that this isn't a good book however. I am sure that once I have read the final book and can view all three as a single entity I will love it all the more as it is simply part of the overall series from this world that has always held a special place in my library.

The book was fast paced and there was plenty of action. Without giving much away in the form of details, I think it is safe to point out that Terry Brooks has been much more ruthless with his characters in this story creating real doubt in my mind as to the outcome of the series. This is a refreshing change up to his work as in the past, brilliant as I have always found them to be, there was always a sense of a happy ending that was marginally predictable.

Set against the fast pace of the novel and the tension that was building in all of the story lines there were unfortunately some very distracting romance story arcs that seemed quite clumsy. I think that romance has as much place in any novel as any other element but in this novel and its predecessor neither the painfully awkward relationship between Mirai Leah and the Ohmsford twins nor the obvious one way love story building between Aphenglow Elessdil and Cymrian manages to feel natural and as such detracts from the overall story.

A great deal of writing has been given over to these love interests and every time I stumble across one of them I am taken away from the various quests and danger and placed instead into what feels like the painful teenage drama of a secondary school soap opera. Terry Brooks normally has a talent with his love interests in that they arise naturally and work with the story rather than against it and I can only hope that the precedent set in the last two novels will not be carried forward into the final book of this series.

But overall these are minor faults in what is otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable book and another good edition to Terry Brooks' shelf on my book case.
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on 13 March 2013
I will own up to be a die hard Terry Brooks fan, therefore my review may be very biased. I really enjoyed the first two books and my gut feeling is that the third will be superb, given the positioning of the first two. I am so pleased that the trilogy will be published much sooner than the annual schedule of the past. Suffice to say, I loved the story, enjoyed the characters and am looking forward to the finale. If you love fantasy, then Terry is the (supreme)King.

Please buy the books and enjoy a fabulous read.

All the best.

Paul

P.S. The book arrived ahead of schedule, so thank you.
P.P.S. I had the Shanarra map imported from the US, spent GBP200 in getting it framed, and can now look at it whilst reading the books, so I can easily relate to where the action is taking place. Others have commented on the cost of the print, but to me the signed print represented excellent value for money and would highly recommend it.
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on 18 July 2013
I have been a huge fan of Terry Brooks and have every single book I could find written by him. But, this new Shannara stories are just not up to par. The adventure is dull, the battle boring, and the druids and their magic pale in omparison to other stories. I skipped many pages just to get to the end. I gave the first book 4 stars but the storyline did not improve in the second, so I am giving 3 stars. I will still buy the third book, as I want to know the ending of the story but also to add to my collection. I hope the story will pick up or I am looking at 2 stars.
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on 26 November 2014
Did Terry Brooks really write this. I have read all his books and loved them. It was Terry Brooks who started me off on Fantasy books. This was a big disappointment - I didn't even finish it. Nothing like Terry Brooks.
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