And just like that I’m done with my first foray into Terry Brooks’ World of Shannara. I’m not totally finished as I recently stumbled across a short story, Imaginary Friends, which is technically Word & Void #0.5 so there’s one small story left! I’ll read it in less than an hour and that’ll be the next post later this week.
As far as conclusions go, this was a pretty good end to the story that spanned three books, fifteen years and roughly 9-12 actual days of action in the books. I didn’t pay attention to it in the first two books, but each of these books takes place in less than five days from start to finish. There are plenty of flashbacks and quite a few jumps ahead, but overwhelmingly the entire action of the story takes place in less than a week. Each of these books really are examples of the minuscule moments which can change the world for good (the Word) or for evil (the Void).
The entire premise of the book is that John Ross has captured a gypsy morph and needs to figure out what its magic is before it disappears and the only thing he’s figured out is that Nest is somehow involved. this triggers the chain of events that the book focuses on. I appreciated the idea of a gypsy morph,
“The gypsy morph is not a creation of the Word, as most other things are, but a consequence of other creations. It comes into being because the world is the way it is. with its various magics and the consequences of using them. The Word didn’t foresee the possibility of the morph, so it hasn’t got a handle on the schematic yet. Even the Word is still learning, it seems.” (105-106)
Just the fact that there is something completely foreign to good and evil was an interesting and part of this story. I had never thought about something being “outside” of these two, but Brooks did a great job of creating it.
Even though the subtlety and subterfuge of the demons in the first two books were incredible and they made the story, I truly appreciated knowing who the demon was in this book right off the bat. There was no question about it as he introduced himself as such and the story takes off from there in alternating points of view from Nest, Ross and the Demon.
If there was one thing I didn’t like about this book it was the end. It was left entirely way too open for my tastes. Although the story felt wrapped up nicely, where the story could go and the few hints Brooks drop were not enough to sate my curiosity. When it happened I seriously thought, well hell no what do I do.
Recommendation: Definitely read this trilogy. I’m not sure what the rest of Brooks books are like, but if they’re anything like this I can’t wait to read them! I will be thinking about John Ross and Nest Freemark for some time. It’s also worth saying as far as I’m aware this wraps up the trilogy and whatever is in the Genesis of Shannara trilogy will only tangentially connect, but who knows!
Opening Line: “He stands at the edge of a barren and ravaged orchard looking up from the base of a gentle rise to where the man hangs from a wooden cross.”
Closing Line: “A solitary warrior and a seeker of truth, he looked out across the ice to where the open water flowed, and then beyond, to where the Word’s battle against a sleeping world’s ignorance and denial still raged.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)
Additional Quotes from Angel Fire East
“He had spent almost the whole of his adult life engaged in a war that had begun with the inception of life and would not end until its demise. There were no boundaries to the battlefield on which he fought—neither of space nor time. There could be no final resolution.” (6)
“Life in a small town is filled with moments of trying not to notice, she thought wearily.” (28)
“Demons are persistent. Time means nothing to them; they operate on a schedule as foreign to humans as life on Mars. She had dealt with demons half her life, and she had a pretty good idea what sh was in for.” (88)
“Whichever way she turned, whatever choice she made, her life would never be the same again.” (90)
“Bennett was an addict, and she viewed everything that happened as being someone else’s fault, all the while thinking deep inside that it was really hers.” (168-169)
“…Nest found herself reflecting on the cyclical nature of life. Her thinking wasn’t so much about the fact of it—that was mundane and obvious—but about the ways in which it happened. Sometimes, in the course of living, you couldn’t avoid ending up where you began. You might travel far distances and experience strange events, but when all was said and done, your journey brought you right back around to where everything started.” (280)