“The Wishsong of Shannara” by Terry Brooks

In “The Wishsong of Shannara,” we see Brooks continue to evolve as an author. Most notable for me in this book are the character depictions: each character is clearly and distinctly defined. Brin is haunted and conflicted, stalked by premonitions that read like depression; Rone is bold and eager, but blind to the problems of the others; Jair is young, naive, and thoughtless (although he has to grow up over the course of the book); and Allanon is a much more troubled figure than in the previous books, weighed down by uncertainty and the awareness of his own mortality. In some ways “The Wishsong of Shannara” is less purely gripping epic fantasy than its predecessor–the characters are more trapped in their own doubt and confusion than pursued by (their) demons–“The Elfstones of Shannara,” but it is an excellent character study, and there are some excellent action scenes as well. The fights with the Jachyra stand out in particular, and Jair’s journey after Brin is also full of excitement. As with the previous two installments in this trilogy, fans of epic fantasy owe it to themselves to read this classic of the genre.

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