Recap and Preview #3

August: And thus, we have finished the original Shannara trilogy. One of the more influential book series in my childhood, and I’m pretty sure yours too. Whenever I write fantasy, Shannara is never too far from my mind. From the uniqueness of the races to the melding of the old world to the use of magic, Shannara imprinted on me during those young, formative, years.

Sara: Holy cow! I never thought we’d make it. I’m so excited we finished the first trilogy. Woohoo! Three down, twenty-something more to go? Ish?

But yes, Brooks was hugely influential on me. Definitely influential on me as a writer, as well. I have even had someone tell me that my writing was very Brooks-ish. I think he taught me to always do something unexpected, and just when something is going right, make something even more horrible happen. But also, yes, the worldbuilding. Whether it was deliberate on his part or not, he always manages to connect things back around, so that everything that comes up has significance later. Things have consequences. Magic, especially. I’m a fan of that.

August: As for Wishsong specifically, it was always my least favorite of the original trilogy. Maybe because I was younger and less interested in the idea of the relatively peaceful climax, but I actually liked it a lot more this time around. It still has some pretty serious flaws, but before I didn’t appreciate some part that I do now.

Like Brin. I like Brin so much more this time through. She might be my favorite character from these first three books, and before this re-read she would have been one of my least favorite. Her willingness to sacrifice herself for her friends and for the world is admirable, and her struggle with her darker impulses comes off as a real climax. It’s built up slowly through the book, from the time Allanon shows her how to use the wishsong to destroy to the final confrontation with her brother.

Most of the other characters are lacking though. Jair is fine, but unremarkable as a secondary protagonist. And the rest of the Culhaven Six, well… I feel like I complained about their lack of characterization in nearly every post for this book. They are just shallow characters that are disguised like they are important. And after the adventuring party from Sword, this group had some high expectations that they did not live up to.

Sara: I liked Wishsong much more this time around, as well. It was rather refreshing, coming off the teenage angst of Elfstones and the almost painful Tolkein-ness of Sword. This was a unique story with an interesting arc, even if the characterization of most of the characters was lacking. At least he did well with the main character–and a woman, no less, so hey, he’s come a long way, in my eyes. Brin’s struggle was actually really relatable. And you’re right, I admire her, as well, for doing what she had to do to protect her family and the world. Not to mention, she kept her promise to Allanon. The Druid is dead. After all she went through, she could have noped out of going back there and having her whole heritage touched by meddling Druid fingers.

August: Next up is the Heritage of Shannara series, starting out with The Scions of Shannara. I remember Heritage being the best of Terry Brook’s fantasy series, a four-book epic with several great characters and locations. Unfortunately,  I remember very few specifics about what happens in what book, so the next books should hopefully have some fun surprises in store.

Sara: I do remember Heritage being where Brooks when from high fantasy to what I consider almost fantasy horror. I remember these books being much darker with just as much at stake. I know there are more weird/horrifying creatures, more sullen Druids, and more Druid pawns. And also a lot of war across the Four Lands. But like you, I don’t remember a lot of specifics, and I have no recollection what Scions is even about. So, yes! Fun surprises, indeed. This is going to be exciting!

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