bookspluslife

August 28, 2015

Book: The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

Filed under: Books — Tags: , , , — krishnafromtoronto @ 10:43 pm

imageThis is the second book in the Shannara trilogy. We have already reviewed the first book The Sword of Shannara earlier. Now we turn to the second book in the series.

The interesting thing is that it is not a continuation of the first story where it left off, which seems to be the case for many books. (The most well known of these aret the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien or the Game of Thrones series by George R R Martin).

The second story in this book stands alone and takes place many years after the time when the first story takes place. There is Allanon in this movie as a central figure but one or two of the others are either mentioned in passing or are related to some of the central protagonists in this story but are much older in this book, living peacefully.

Most are new characters, though. Let us look into the story.

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The Chosen are the keepers of Ellcrys, the wonderous tree in the Gardens. Lauren, the youngest and the most conscientious of them all notices a wilt. There is a girl Amberle, for the first time selected as one of the Chosen.  But we learn quickly that she left, preferring not to be the Chosen, which angers everyone.

The tree is dying and can no longer hold Forbigging, the force field that holds Dagda Mor, the demon lord and other evil demons prisoners for eons. Dagda More is angry and feels the power of hatred sweeping through his veins. He takes a gamble and succeeds in coming out to the world, bringing with him the Changeling and Reaper, two of his evil cohorts with special powers of their own.

Ander Elessedil is a prince and younger brother of the crown prince Arion. Arion is the preferred son of the father in all things and is considered to be properly royal. Ander is confronted by Lauren, one of the Chosen and takes him to the King. Arion is away on a campaign. Lauren announces that Elcrys is dying and the King goes into a pensive mood.

Ander and Lauren try to find how to take the seed of the Elcrys and take it to Safehold, where it all originated. to regenerate it. This is the only way to keep the Force intact and the evil imprisoned in the prison created by the good folks with the help of Elcrys.

Ander discovers that the Chosen have all been murdered.

Allanan (from the first book) appears to give counsel to the King that the only remaining Chosen is Amberle, who, we are reminded again,  refused to live the life of the Chosen and disgraced the royal family and went into self imposed exile.

Allanon goes to consult the Druid library to find the location of Safehold. But he walks right into a trap set by Dagda Mor and the Furies. Manages to escape.

Allanan goes to Wil Ohmsford, the grandson of the Ohmsford of the earlier series, for help. Wil decides to go, against the advice of his uncle Flick, who was a young man in the earlier adventure The Sword of Shannara. They travel to where Amberle is hidden and Allanon asks her to return as the only person who can save the world. When she reluctantly agrees, they are pursued by demon-wolves with catlike bodies and women’s faces with sharp fangs for teeth.

Allanon disappears and having lost Allanon, Wil is too late to use the stones but is saved by a legendary King. He then leaves for the Elcrys with Amberle but has his horse, Artaq stolen by the Rovers (they are bandits of a sort). He tracks them down and travels with them. The Rover chief takes him in but is suspicious of him. His daughter Eretria falls for Will and wants him to take her when he leaves. When a demon attacks the group, Wil stands up to it with his Elfstones. They have to flee, pursued by wolf creatures and scarier flying dragonlike things with evil riders and meet with Allanon in a safe place. He takes them to Alborion, her birthplace. An elven council is called and she is allowed to go before Elcrys. She gets the seed from Elcrys but is closely followed by the demons including Dagda Mor.

When the demons waylay her and kill many of the Elven guards they escape only to lose more men to the swamp monster that they run into. This has all the weird monsters of the first book, the drama with people being upset with Allanon and everything. Nice.

They have further adventures of the same sort, for instance involving a giant bird owned by a group of ‘flying elves’.

The story escalates slowly. For instance, the Elves try to stop the Demons pouring out of the broken Wall. They foil them and return only to find that there is a larger army that is coming for them. All seems lost. They hold off desperately.

Amberle and Wil are ambushed in the village but are saved by Eritrea. When Eritrea asks him to take her with him, Wil refuses. Then he finds that  his gems are stolen. Leaving Amberle at the edge of the Hollows, he returns only to find Eritrea saving him once again and Cephalo dead.

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There are stick figures (wooden men) who capture Amberle. There is a  witch Melllenroch who converts  Wil and Eritrea into wooden figures and jails Wil,  Eritrea and Amberle.

You get the idea. An old fashioned fairy tale/ fantasy story but it works with interesting characters in it and an easy narration style and a plot running smoothly throughout the story.

The ends of the evil ones are very satisfying.

For instance, Reaper finds the three of them in their weakest moment and in a desperate battle to survive, Wil overcomes it in spite of almost being killed.

They return but almost too late. Allanon is weakened beyond words in his final battle with Dagda Mor, whom he just managed to slay. The demons overpowered all defenses of Arborlon and the Elves faced great loss. Even the intrepid force of Rock Trolls and Stree Jans are decimated.

How Elcrys gets restored has a very nice twist, and the last few battles are exhileratingly good. An excellent story, and I rate it as being better than the first book in the series in its plot and narration. .

It deserves a 7/10

– – Krishna

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