Monday, March 09, 2009

Scions of Shannara

I mentioned a while back that after enjoying Terry Brooks' current Shannara trilogy, The Genesis of Shannara, so much that I wanted to go back and read some of the earlier books in the series. However I also mentioned that I doubted I'd enjoy previous books as much as the current three because they wouldn't feature protagonists form the here and now, but would instead be more like other Tolkien derived series. You know, elves dwarves, etc.
Turned out to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Over the weekend I read Scions of Shannara, the first volume in a series of four detailing the adventures of the descendents of the heroes of the original Shannara trilogy. Taking place several hundred years after The Wish Song of Shannara, Scions follows the adventures of Par Ohmsford, one of the few humans left in the Four Lands who still possesses true magical powers. Like other members of his family before him, Par, along with his brother Coll, is pressed into the service of the druid Allanon to save the world from the forces of evil.
I found the pace a little slow and the characters somewhat bland. Brooks' prose is certainly serviceable, but it ultimately fails to stir the blood. I had noticed this in the Genesis of Shannara trilogy, but the concept, combing post apocalyptic fiction with Tolkien style fantasy, appealed to me enough to get me past the slow parts. Scions is pretty standard quest fantasy, very much in the Lord of the Rings mode. I mean if you like this sort of thing then this is the sort of thing you will like. I found Scions to be a bit of a slog to finish, and I won't be rushing out to snatch up the next volume in the series. Guess I'll just have to wait for Brooks next Shannara book, which supposedly picks up after the most recent trilogy.

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