Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book review - The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series by Terry Brooks

Book 1: Ilse Witch
Book 2: Antrax
Book 3: Morgawr

I haven’t read one of Terry Brooks’ Shannara novels in a very long time, even though I’ve been hoarding them for years.  I finally read the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy and read it in less than two weeks.  Yes, it was that exciting and I made time to read. 

The trilogy takes place some 150 years after the last series ended with The Talismans of Shannara.  An elf, missing for 30 years is plucked from the waters of the Blue Divide near death by a Wing Rider.  The dying man carries a map and a bracelet that identifies him as the Elven prince Kael.  He was last seen when he led an expedition to a faraway land in search of powerful magic.  He took the Elfstones on his journey and they are lost.

Walker Boh is the only person who can decipher the strange symbols on the map.  He summons Bek Ohmsford and his cousin Quentin Leah to accompany him on the quest for this powerful magic and recover the Elfstones.  Also on the journey, is the dwarf Panax, shape-shifter Truls Rohk, Winger Riders and their Rocs, Rovers Redden Atl Mer and his sister Rue Meridian and a strange young woman Ryer Ord Star who has visions of the future.

But a powerful, dangerous young woman, the Ilse Witch, wants the magic for herself.  Her spies have kept her informed of Walker’s movements and she plans to destroy him because of her life-long hatred of him.

With a crew of Elves, Walker sets out across the Blue Divide in a sleek airship, the Jerle Shannara.  The first book ends as the Druid and company locate Castledown, apparently the source of the magic. 

The second book splinters the group into pieces as they are attacked by both the entity that guards the magic and by the Ilse Witch and her evil allies.  The book switches from one group to another as they try to avoid being killed but manage to find unexpected power and unlikely allies. I won’t spoil the climax of Antrax, but I will say the magic Walker seeks is not what he expects. 

Morgawr is the Ilse Witch’s mentor, who taught her how to use her magic.  She considers herself his equal, but she has also betrayed him.  Morgawr sets out across the Blue Divide to find and destroy her, and keep the magic for himself. 

The splintered groups manage to find each other and try to escape from Castledown with Morgawr and his mellwrets on their tale.

In some cases, the stories are a little predictable but overall, Brooks has many surprises for his readers.  I did feel that the second book, Antrax, was padded by backstories and experiences to lengthen the book.  But it is still full of action and excitement. 

All three books are page turners and I thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  He makes you eager to pick up the next series in Shannara saga.

No comments: