Sunday, January 27, 2013

Review: The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Isle Witch by Terry Brooks

Thirty years ago the elves launched an expedition lead by Prince Kael to find a mysterious magic. None of them returned until now. Kael himself is found half-drowned, dumb and almost out of his mind. With him is a map outlining his journey in an unknown language. The current elf king Allardon strikes a deal with the druid Walker Boh to translate the map and lead an expedition to find this mysterious magic. In return Walker will receive Allardon's support in forming a druid council. However the isle witch, a powerful magician with a grudge against Walker, plans on taking the magic for herself.

Brooks has a strong descriptive style that always brings the world of Shannara to life in vivid detail. This either works for you or doesn't. Well I do enjoy it I wish that Brooks did not have to describe every meal each character has in such detail, plus ale seems to go with everything. I am glad to see Walker back as he was by far the most compelling character from the heritage of Shannara series. Seeing Walker struggle with maintaining his own identity as his actions are increasingly similar to Allanon's is a great step in his development.

It was nice to see the introduction of advancing technology through the airships. The Shannara books are often set hundreds of years apart but this has not always reflected well.

Brooks instance on reusing characters from the same families, ie the Leah's and Ohmsford's backfires in a big way. The central twist in this book is supposed to be the connection between the isle witch and Bek but is highly obvious early on in the novel. The plot of finding the three keys does seem a bit far-fetched at times and while this is addressed to an extent most of the characters appear highly naive in noticing the flaw in the logic of this situation earlier.

Overall Brooks does provide another decent novel with some very strong points. The obvious plot twist and flaw in the plot's logic detract a little from this. 7/10.

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