In a time when the world was young, when magic was more than myth, an Elven girl named Aleia met and fell in love with a Darkling boy from the Void. They would meet in secret, but a day came when Aleia awoke and found a note he left behind. To her dismay, she discovered that he had stolen two of the five Elfstones, the powerful wards that protected the land of the Elves.
It is this story that Aphenglow Elessedil, an Elf devoted to the Druids, uncovers in an archive, scrawled in a diary long hidden away. Thousands of years have passed since that fateful event. The Elves have withdrawn from the world. Corrupt politicians in the land of men connive and backstab and seek their own fortunes, and the downfall of others. The only thing men have in common with Elves is their distrust of the Druids.
"With each successive book that Brooks writes, his Shannara world grows all the more compelling and exquisite. Every volume is a new layer to be explored, and it enriches the whole of the Shannara canon."
Rumblings of war begin to emanate through the lands. Drust Chazhul has manipulated his way to the seat of power and is set on assaulting the Druid's Keep. In the meantime, driven into unmapped and dangerous lands by Aphenglow's visions of the lost Elfstones, the Ard Rhys enters a race against time, bringing with her, among others, the twin Ohmsford boys, Redden and Railing. They must seek out and claim the Elfstones to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands, while those left behind in the Druid's Keep must struggle to prevent the overthrow of the Druid sect against an unrelenting tide of deceit.
With WARDS OF FAERIE, award-winning author Terry Brooks plunges readers into the Dark Legacy of Shannara, a three-book series that will see publication in quick succession (Book Two will come out in Spring 2013 and Book Three in Summer 2013.) The swiftness of the releases will be a huge benefit to readers because if this opening volume is any indication, the tensions and mysteries of this series will be amped very high. Having those questions answered and those tensions resolved so soon can only boost excitement for the remaining volumes.
With each successive book that Brooks writes, his Shannara world grows all the more compelling and exquisite. Every volume is a new layer to be explored, and it enriches the whole of the Shannara canon. Of equal importance is that his abilities as a writer have showed no signs of growing stagnant or stale. Though he has kept returning to his old stomping grounds, he has found new ways to keep the world fresh and yet also steeped in history and age.
The overlapping arcs contained within WARDS OF FAERIE certainly keep the pages turning: Aphenglow and her quest for knowledge about Aleia and the Darkling boy, hindered by multiple assassination attempts, plus the cold distance of her mother and her race because of her decision to join the Druid sect. The Ard Rhys caught in an elegantly creepy moment when she calls upon the shade of Allanon, and then must collect the two Ohmsford boys as her aides --- a task made more difficult by their mother, who blames the Ard Rhys for the death of their father. The political intrigues of Drust Chazul and his sellsword, moving one pawn after another in a powerplay so bold and dangerous, yet also uncertain. These threads are so marvelously woven together, and the tapestry they form is one of action, mystery and sorrow.
Terry Brooks shines once again, and this new chapter in the legacy of the world of Shannara is a must-read installment.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on August 24, 2012