My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second in the Legends of Shannara duology, following directly from the events of Bearer of the Black Staff. As Sider Ament, the last known Knight of the Word lay dying after his battle with and defeat of a powerful demon, he passes possession of his black staff to the Elven tracker Panterra Q. With no one to teach him to control the powerful magic of the staff, Panterra must try to find his own place as the new Knight of the Word and protector of the Word against the Void. And he needs to figure it out quickly because a troll army threatens all the survivors of the Great War, there is a conspiracy to kill the Elven king and blame his daughter to overthrow their control of the kingdom, and a new demon is intent on finding and possessing the black staff- and killing the person who now wields it.
I have been making an effort in the past year and this to finish the Shannara series now that The Last Druid has published. I’m getting there.
This is a typical Shannara story. At its heart, it’s a quest. In this case, the more internal quest of Panterra Q to find the strength to not only control the staff’s magic, but to lead the surviving human and elven populations against the threats coming at them, both from without and within. And, like most of the Shannara series as it matured and Brooks came into his own as a storyteller, it is the characters that keep me coming back to the books. The stories are full of well-rounded characters that pull you into their lives and make you want to know what’s going to happen to them. Even the evil characters are more than just evil. There are intrigues and plots everywhere. Settings are well-designed and detailed. There is plenty of action, battles, and personal struggles. The story moves along fairly well with only a few lags. Most loose ends are tied up at the end, which is what you want in the last book of a set, even one within a larger series.
Fans of high fantasy and of the Shannara series in particular should find this one a nice addition to the larger world.
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