Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: The Elfstones of Shannara

In the far future, unbeknown to humankind, an apocalyptic war is brewing. Fearsome, vengeful Demons rage at the boundaries of the world, held at bay by a spell called the Forbidding. But now that barrier is dying. Evil is beginning to break through. And only the Chosen can banish the Demons back to their realm.

Wil Ohmsford is a healer, not a fighter; a man of duty, not great deeds. But this epic battle seeks him out, for he holds the Elfstones: mysterious protective talismans passed down by his grandfather. Wil is recruited to act as guardian to the Elf girl Amberle, who must venture far to deliver a seed that will help the Forbidding to grow again. The fate of civilization rests upon her shoulders—and the completion of her mission rests upon Wil’s. Now, as the forces of darkness descend, Wil and Amberle embark on a perilous journey, placing their faith in each other to survive the bloodthirsty terrors that await.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Title: The Elfstones of Shannara

Author: Terry Brooks

Release Date: (first published July 12th 1982) Cover shown published December 1st 2015

Pages: 564

Publisher: Del Rey


            If not for the release of the show on MTV, it’s doubtful I would have picked up The Elfstones of Shannara (The Shannara Trilogy book 2) or even heard of it.  I’d heard of Terry Brooks prior, but this series never crossed my radar or Goodreads feed before.  And how sad, because this series is great and any fantasy readers would love it!

            I was definitely one of those people who started by watching the show on MTV, ended up liking it, and shortly after picked up the book itself.  Despite not reading the first in the series, First King of Shannara, I was able to begin reading Elfstones no problem.  Despite it being the second in the series and some of the characters are from the first book, this one could operate as a stand-alone.  The only downfall I found with starting mid series is that there were a few references to book one that were vague and only mentioned in passing, but I would have liked to hear more about.  Amberle especially, since her character is VASTLY different from that in the show and I wanted to know more about the protagonist the show was based on.

            The world building was decent, but not as good as I’d hoped.  The imagery was fantastic though and I really enjoyed Brooks’s writing.  Not only is he very descriptive in his writing but also he’s great at letting the reader see into the mind of numerous characters and their thought processes and not just those of the main characters.  By far one of my favorite characters to read about was the Druid, Allanon, who always seemed to know more than he let on to everyone else. 
            I think fans of Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Series will really enjoy The Shannara Chronicles, as well as George R. R. Martin fans. Set in a world of species that adapted after the fall of mankind, The Elfstones of Shannara is full of all sorts of races: elves, gnomes, rovers, druids, demons, and even dwarves.  Most of the focus was on the elves, but I would have loved to see more about a few of the other races (but perhaps they’re discussed more in the rest of the series).  I thought the druid’s role in the show was explained in great depth, but Allanon was more mysterious in the book and at times, confusing.  I didn’t understand his power initially and I wanted to learn more about his inability to age.  I will say at the end though, it does get discussed a bit, but I’d be interested to see if he reappears in later books.

            Overall, I really enjoyed The Elfstones of Shannara. Since it is so different from the show itself (or I suppose, the show is quite different from the book it is adapted from), I still found myself surprised and intrigued by the storyline and characters in it.  While the plot is mostly the same, some of the main characters’ roles are EXTREMELY different in their depiction in the MTV show.  That was probably one of my favorite reasons for reading the book itself.  I couldn’t believe what a difference it made in understanding the original characters as they were written.

            AND THE ENDING. Holy guacamole, there is not much I can say without giving it away but for those of you who have seen the show, it is the same as the end of season one.  I was REALLY hoping that it was a trick at first, but after reaching the last page my hopes were shattered.  Despite my complete freak-out and initial annoyance at how things were resolved, I have come to terms with how it ended.  Not only that, but I really respect Brooks for the decision he made and how the story led up to the main event at the end.  I’m really tempted to pick up the next book in this series to see which characters return!

            In other exciting news, I get to interview Mr. Brooks himself in a few weeks on the radio! I can’t wait to ask him more about this world he’s created and see how he came up with the ending that he did! I can’t wait to tell you all about it!


  1. This sounds so amazing!! I've just started watching the show and am loving it, now need to read the book! xx

    1. It's a tad bit different from the book (the main characters are WAY different in their attitudes/personalities than in the book) but I really love it regardless! I hope you get a chance to read the book soon! Let me know when you do!!
      and thanks for checking out my review!

  2. I keep hearing about the TV show! And I'm totally curious because this is definitely my type of book (and show, if I watched TV). I'm so glad you enjoyed this book! You should keep reading the series (so I'll know too)! :D

    Fabulous post, Emily. :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. You don't watch TV? WOW! i wish i watched less of it! LOL.
      and I might pick up the first book in the series! I haven't decided if I want to read that one next or the third book in the series! I'm leaning towards book 1 because I want to know why Amberlee left in the first place!
      thanks so much for your kind words and for checking out my review Alyssa!


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