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Seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks at last revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic fantasy series that has spellbound readers for more than three decades.
Tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. The dwindling Druid order is threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones, which once warded the lands and kept evil at bay. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins. Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. Whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Terry Brooks's Bloodfire Quest.
“I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
“Shannara was one of my favorite fictional worlds growing up, and I look forward to many return trips.”—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of the Demon Cycle seriesread more
After taking time away from the pure stories of Shannara to write the stories of how Shannara was created out of the ashes of our own time, Brooks returns to the world of magic. Conflict is again building between the Federation, the Elves, and the dwindling Druid order. Magic and science are at odds and the atmosphere is tense. As Aphenglow Elessedil searches the Eleven histories, she comes upon the diary of a young girl. This diary could change everything about the way the past is viewed and it certainly shapes the future path for Aphenglow and others. A new quest is undertaken to locate the missing Elfstones and shift the balance of power in the Four Lands.Wards of Faerie is the first book in the latest trilogy from Terry Brooks. While the characters are new, long time readers will recognize the family names as each main character is descended from important characters in past Shannara books. This connection is important because it indicates to the reader exactly how that character may be important to the story. Brooks is able to pass along gifts and characteristics without having to do in depth character building in each book.The essential quest format of the book is familiar as well. Brooks introduces the main players, gives them a choice about undertaking a journey, and off they go into danger. Although it might seem that knowing the plot outline ahead of time would render each book too similar to the last, Brooks keeps the reader's attention through the personalities of the characters and the details of the world and action.My only complaint about this book is that it felt incomplete. It seemed as if the quest had truly just begun when I reached the end of the book. I am very glad that this trilogy will be released in rapid fire fashion with the books coming out every six months so I won't have to wait too long for the next portion of the story. This release schedule also means that I don't have to wait almost a year for the paperback version to come out.As a longtime fan of Shannara, I am glad to see Brooks adding more stories to the most current timeline again. The jump from the Shannara pre-history (Word & Void series, Genesis of Shannara series, and Legends of Shannara series) was a bit jarring and I had to take some time to reorient myself in the timeline. Overall though I think Wards of Faerie will be a hit with Shannara fans.read more
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I'm a long time lover of the world of Shannara that Terry Brooks created. Over the years I've read and enjoyed his many series and stand alone which have given greater depth, insight and history into this world. With Wards of Faerie, we begin a new adventure set in the Four Lands many years after the High Druid of Shannara series.This series, like most of the others, centers upon a quest. This time the Druids are on a quest to find Elfstones that were lost thousands of years ago. In fact they have been lost so long that they have entered into the realm of myth and legend to the point that nobody knows what they do and some even doubt their existence. In many ways it is evident that this book is the first book in a series. The first many chapters involve the characters doing a lot of research, talking, thinking and preparing for things to come. There are a few small fights and interactions throughout these first few chapters to help "up the ante" and make it apparent that there is certain danger in the days to come.Personally I enjoyed the slower pace. Rather than dumping us headlong into an adventure, Brooks takes his time and lets us get to know a number of core characters very intimately. We work side-by-side with Aphenglow as she intently studies the ancient Elven histories in search of clues. We play and race with the twins Redden and Railing and learn about their impulsive spontaneity as well as their close brotherly bond. We are taken deep inside the political intrigue and rise of a new Prime Minister of the Federation. We learn about the new Druid Order and the current Ard Rhs Kyhber. Through the first half of the book, we walk alongside a series of key characters as they make meticulous investigations and preparations for a huge adventure to come.For those who are fans of action, don't worry. Just because the book spends a lot of time setting up the main adventure doesn't mean that it can't have significant action. As I already mentioned, there are a couple of hand-to-hand fights early on in the book. These are precursors to numerous smaller action sequences through the first half of the book. By the midpoint though, the action starts to pick up and before long there is an all out siege being waged by hundreds of soldiers at the same time as other explorers are facing environmental dangers in a strange new land as they seek out the Stones.For those who haven't read any of the Shannara books before, Brooks always provides enough exposition and backstory to let you jump into a new series without being terribly lost. However if you've read previous Shannara books, there are plenty of scenes that should make fans very happy including a brief appearance by a character from some of the early books.While I agree with the critics who say that Brooks's works aren't "high literature", I also have to admit that he does pen fun and compelling stories that really draw me in and keep me turning page after page. In addition to the overall danger of the quest to find the Elfstones, there is a huge conspiratorial battle lurking behind the scenes and ready to explode into sight that could change the face and fate of the Four Lands.I found it a joy to get back into the world of Shannara and begin another epic adventure. My only complaint is that (as is often the case) the book ends by leaving me with apprehension as to what will happen next…and I have to wait until next year to find out. This book had all the intriguing characters, compelling plot twists and turns (though I admit that I found one of the big "twists" to be somewhat predictable), and exciting adventure that I've come to love from Terry Brooks. I can definitely recommend this to any Shannara fan. Although I would recommend you go back and pick up some of the earlier series too, if you haven't read any of Brooks's books before, you should enjoy this without requiring any previous reading. As is the case with his earlier works, the action and violence is big enough to be exciting while still being acceptable for younger readers (even down into the tweens). ****4 out of 5 starsread more
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This was a struggle for me, from beginning to end. Of the twenty+ Shannara serues novels Brooks has published to date, I've read fourteen and never have I had as hard a time finishing as I did here with Wards of Faerie. A novel nearly four hundred pages in length should feel and read more than as filler and introductory information. While there is a conflict and climax, both are minimal, predictable, and reminiscent of many other Shannara novels. A disappointment from a well-known author, Terry Brooks can and has done better than this latest effort. Almost uniformly flat and uninvolving, fans of this long-running (and soon to be adapted to tv series) will do better to stick to Brooks' earlier, and much better executed, Shannara novels.While my enthusiasm for Shannara books has waned with each new novel and my exposure to more creative examples of fantasy, Brooks usually at least manages to entertain with his incredibly fleshed-out world and usually interesting and well-rounded characters. Not so is the case with Wards of Faerie. Once again, an Elessedil heir is searching for a set of Elfstones (as seen in Elfstones of Shannara), while wrestling with foes from the Federation (as seen in nearly every Shannara novel written.) Once again an Ohmsford descendant is required to save the world (again, as seen in _every_Shannah_novel_ever), no matter that the popular family tree has whittled down to two heirs (sound familiar?). Brooks clearly has a pattern for these books, and a little invention or deviation from the known path would have done much to save this anticlimactic and formulaic fantasy novel.This novel is a lot of time invested for very little payoff. It's not rewarding to read those three hundred eighty four pages because the entire novel reeks of set-up and introduction. New characters (even if set on predictable paths) fail to engage, the plot feels extremely recycled and old-hat. There's so little to recommend about this novel - it's really a shame that 35 years after this world was created, it has so little to offer new and old readers. Brooks is comfortable in his ironclad paths of writing, but a little more imagination in Wards of Faerie would have made for a much better, more original novel. It might be written passably well - Brooks definitely has a vibrant setting to work with - but the lack of action, the lack of advancement is a major player in why this novel is such a miss. Sadly for a sometimes/used to be major fan, I found this to be a vastly unsatisfying latest effort from a fantasy juggernaut. In the plainest terms, Brooks' latest effort is a typical, very predictable, slowly paced, usually frustrating 2/5. Some credit is due for the richly imagined world (though that owes more to the multitude of novels before this that helped to fashion it). Far from the best to offer out of the series, Wards of Faerie could use some work - tightening, plotting, and pacing.read more
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Celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Sword of Shannara, which launched a 20-volume bestselling saga, Brooks sets this dual-heroine quest immediately following the events of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy. After Elf-turned-Druid Aphenglow Elessedil discovers an ancient diary recording the theft of the magical Elfstones, Brooks places his familiar Four Lands at a crucial crossroads. The science-dominated Federation led by malignant Prime Minister Drust Chazhul plots to eliminate the Druids, caretakers of the world's magic, and raze their city of Paranor. The Druids' Ard Rhys, Aphen's relative Khyber Elessedil, awakens from her magical Druid Sleep to gather a familiar multiracial fantasy-quest team and seek the missing Elfstones, while Aphen remains to face Chazhul's assaults and her own romantic crisis. This opening salvo in Brooks's Legacy of Shannara trilogy is Tolkien-derivative, but suitably rousing and occasionally touchingly sentimental. Author tour. Agent: Anne Sibbald, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.