The second book in Brooks’ ongoing Dark Legacy of Shannara epic-fantasy trilogy.
Brooks continues the adventure begun in his last book, 2012’s Wards of Faerie, set in his long-running Shannara fictional universe. In the last installment, the young Elven Druid Aphenglow Elessedil helped assemble a group—including her relative, the magic-wielding Ard Rhys Khyber Elessedil, and Railing and Redden Ohmsford, who could summon the magical wishsong, among others—for a quest to find and recover the legendary missing Elfstones in order to keep them from those who would use them for evil purposes. Some of the questing party wound up outside of their own land and in the grim Forbidding, where, at the start of this book, they find themselves trapped; there they face dangerous creatures, including giant insects and Goblins. Meanwhile, those on the other side of the Forbidding wall, including an airship-piloting Aphenglow, her sister Arlingfant, Elven Hunter Cymrian and an injured Railing, face battles and challenges of their own. As with many fantasy trilogies, this second book is a bit heavy on exposition at times and seems to serve mostly as a buildup for more dramatic events in the third and final installment. That said, Brooks mixes things up here with several sharp battle scenes, for which he brings his distinct talent, giving a true grandeur to clashes involving terrifying creatures and powerful magic. Brooks’ fans, it also bears mentioning, will have a relatively short time to wait for a resolution to the story, as the final book of the trilogy, Witch Wraith, is currently set to be published in 2013.
A fine middle chapter to Brooks’ latest Shannara adventure.