After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source—and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.
But danger is already afoot in the village of Portlow. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the uncanny gift, and curse, of the wishsong. And now his coveted abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen—whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The lone survivor of a brutal assault on a notorious pirate city, the sorcerer is determined to retaliate against the Federation’s elite military guard—and use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.
The Darkling Child by Terry Brooks is the second book in his Defenders of Shannara series– a trilogy of stand alone novels loosely tied together by a small cast of recurring characters. While I actually enjoyed this book more than I have the last few Shannara books that have been published, I struggled at times to get through it. I think the fact that we only have one more Shannara book after the conclusion of the Defenders series weighed heavily upon me as I read. That being said, I started on my reread of the book not even a full 24 hours after I finished reading it the first time.
It has been 5 years since the events of the High Druid’s Blade and Paxon Leah’s run in with the dark sorcerer Arcannen, and all has been relatively quiet for the Druids in the Four Lands. But now duty sends Paxon and the Druid Avelene out into the world once more, the scrye waters that the Druids use to watch for magic have shown a disturbance, one that bears a striking resemblance to the magic of the Wishsong. Paxon will soon find himself running into old friends and enemies as he attempts find its source and ensure its safe transportation back to Paranor.
While the Darkling Child is loosely connected to the High Druid’s Blade by Paxon Leah and a few other characters, each book is clearly meant to stand on its own and I don’t think new readers will have a problem starting with either of the two books. For me this book proved to be a great reminder of why I fell in love with this series in the first place, it was nice to rediscover the magic of Shannara once again and I can only hope that Terry continues to surprise me with the last few books he releases in the series.
I think all fans of the series, new or old, will absolutely love this book, I know I did. Already I am counting down the days until the release of the last book in the trilogy, and already I am finding that wait unbearable.
The Darkling Child is set to be release on June 9th by Del Rey.
I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.
Listen to a brief preview of The Darkling Child!
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