The Black Elfstone (The Heritage of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks

The first book of the triumphant and epic four-part conclusion to the Shannara series, from one of the all-time masters of fantasy.

Through forty years of New York Times bestselling Shannara novels, Terry Brooks always had an ending in mind: a series that would bring it all to a grand conclusion. Now that time is here.

The Four Lands has been at peace for generations, but now a mysterious army of invaders is cutting a bloody swath across a remote region of the land. No one knows who they are, where they come from, or what they are after—and most seem content to ignore these disturbing events. The only people who sense a greater, growing threat and wish to uncover the truth are society’s outcasts: an exiled High Druid, a conflicted warrior, a teenage girl struggling to master a prodigious magic . . . and a scrappy young orphan, improbably named Shea Ohmsford.

This is one of those books that I’ve been excited to read yet hesitant to actually open up and start. I’ve been a fan of Terry Brooks for nearly 20 years now but I can’t help but feel like the quality of the series has gone down over the last few years and that the last trilogy had some of the weakest books in the entire series. The fact that this is the end of the Shannara series convinced me to give Terry Brooks one more chance and I’m glad that I did. The Black Elfstone was a fantastic read full of the action and adventure that made me fall in love with the series so long ago.

I actually think I would have to say that this is probably the best Shannara book that I have read in a very long time and a great reintroduction to the Four Lands. It’s like Terry Brooks cherry picked all of my favorite aspects of the previous books in the series and used them to write one great story. I don’t think there is anything that I really disliked about this book — it’s well-written with a great plot and it’s populated with a trove of fantastic characters that are easy to fall in love with. I actually read this book in a single sitting and then started listening to the audiobook just a few days later which I would also highly recommend as the narrator they chose for it was perfect.

While there isn’t anything I disliked about the book I do have to be honest and say the story felt a bit bloated at times. There was a decent amount of information and a fair number of characters introduced in this book that it almost feels like a little bit too much at times. I’m hoping though that since so much was introduced with this story that not so much backstory and information will be needed in the next book in the series.

One of the best parts of this book is that you don’t need to have read anything else in the series to enjoy it. I think anyone could enjoy this book new or old and would highly recommend that anyone who’s grown less fond of the series like me check it out. If The Black Elfstone is anything to go by The Fall of Shannara is going to be a hell of a send-off to the series and I wouldn’t want to see anyone miss it!

 

 

 

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