My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This third entry in the Defender’s of Shannara trilogy finds Paxon Leah and Leofur Rai together again after their separation in the first two books. They are living at Paranor which allows Paxon to continue to function as the High Druid’s Blade, protector of the order. Leofur is, well, not much, really. She fills Paxon’s long absences with being a friend to his sister, Chysallin and helping the girl learn to control the gift of the Wishsong. But Leofur is getting more and more unhappy with her life, and when Chysallin is kidnapped, apparently by Leofur’s father, the rogue sorcerer Arcannen Rai, she leaps at the chance to do something more and sets off to rescue Chrys. Paxon, meanwhile, is with a delegation of Druids sent to the Southland to broker peace. But Arcannen has plots in play there, as well, and sets up the Druids to be blamed for a massacre during the meetings. Paxon and the Druids are on the run, trying to escape their human pursuers and prove their innocence, and Leofur is facing a different set of dangers as she pursues Chrysallin to an evil that could consume them both.
I have been a fan of Brooks’ Shannara series for many, many years. I have read and enjoyed most of the books. I suppose, in as long running a project as this is, there is bound to be a miss or two. For me, this was one. The first two books in the trilogy were fine. The quests were interesting, and the characters showed some worth and heart. By the time we get to this one, some of that seems to have fallen aside. The two quests here are a bit contrived and predictable. Leofur is unhappy with her relationship, or lack thereof, with Paxon and finds new purpose with someone else. Paxon seems to have backtracked from the confident, self-assured young man he became to the hesitant, unsure of his worth kid he started out as. There are moments that shine in the story, but overall it just rolls along without much momentum or growth. There were some good action sequences and a few twists to keep me reading, but as I said, not the best of the overall series.
It’s worth reading if you are a Brooks fan, and interested in seeing how the long arc of the story develops before the final four books. Just don’t expect this to be one of the shining stars of the set.
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