Sunday, August 31, 2008

The End of the Beginning

One great thing about being a fan of Terry Brooks is that he's a writer who never keeps his fans waiting too long. He publishes a book every August like clockwork, and this year was no exception. The Gypsy Morph debuted last week, the final volume of his Genesis of Shannara trilogy (which covers an apocalyptic future in our world that ultimately leads to the creation of the "Shannara" world which has been the setting for most of his writing).

I've noted of the two previous volumes that this trilogy was on course to be his strongest in fifteen years. I felt that the conclusion lived up to that promise.

The plot delivered on all the major confrontations and plot threads that had been set up in the earlier books. The quality of the writing was again very solid. The pacing was the best of the trilogy, pulling you quickly through the book -- nearly every chapter left you unwilling to put the book down, too eager to see what happens next.

There was only a small misstep in my mind. There's a love-at-first-sight subplot added in this volume. It didn't really work for me, though I suppose your mileage may vary. On the one hand, it's not treated in too heavy-handed a manner as to distract from the major threads of the book. On the other, you might argue that it is this light coverage that makes it feel somewhat "unearned."

But the ending left me ultimately willing to overlook any small missteps. The book just seemed to have the "right" ending. And these final chapters leading up to that ending weren't all happy for all the characters -- a very appropriate tone for the apocalyptic storyline.

I rate the book an A-. If you enjoy fantasy and haven't given Terry Brooks a try, I think this series would be an excellent place to start.

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