The Elves of Cintra Genesis of Shannara, Book 2
Hawk is missing, having vanished into a blast of white light after being thrown from a wall in ARMAGEDDON'S CHILDREN. His family, the Ghosts, hunts for him in desolate Seattle. Invading demons and horrifying creatures beyond description are hot on their trail, looking to overrun all that once was about our world. In the meantime, Hawk learns of his past, of his magic and of his destiny to lead thousands to safety, though he refuses to believe his own worth.
Kirisin struggles to persuade the Elves of Cintra that they are needed for a great quest. They must seek out the Elfstones, which have long been lost to the world. Failing in this mission will result in nothing less than the extermination of Elven society. A human, Angel Perez, infiltrates their society and urges the Elves to listen to Kirisin. Ultimately, as the quest reaches its climax, disaster strikes and Angel and Kirisin are forced to flee. They have the Stones, but their use gives away their location to the demons that pursue them on their new-found and more important quest for a land of safety for the Elves.
In ARMAGEDDON'S CHILDREN, Terry Brooks began the process of blending his Shannara and Word & Void series. The first book in the Genesis of Shannara trilogy hinted at those links between the two interconnected worlds. Now, in THE ELVES OF CINTRA, he boldly makes those connections clearer, even going so far as to answer some of the questions that have stuck in readers' minds for years.
ARMAGEDDON'S CHILDREN was, perhaps, one of the strongest novels Brooks has ever produced. THE ELVES OF CINTRA surpasses its predecessor with ease, and it also does an excellent job of avoiding the pitfall of middle installments of a series. In general, second books are nothing more than great fillers that serve barely to go anywhere and leave little in the way of interesting developments. In addition to propelling the main story forward, THE ELVES OF CINTRA also contains its own major arc, one that is introduced and completed, giving a sense of closure while also leaving readers reaching for the next book to continue the main tale.
Characters carried over also grow and become more substantial. Hawk is a prime example and Logan Tom continues to be of great interest, but the female Knight of the Word, Angel Perez, impresses me the most. She is a young and tenacious woman with incredible skills that we finally get to see her make use of. In some ways she eclipses Hawk and Logan in this story, though there is no doubt that Hawk is the main driver of the series.
THE ELVES OF CINTRA remains a gloomy and gritty piece of a post-apocalyptic pie that is full of outstanding epic ingredients and characters. There are the most villainous of the vile and the most heroic, and there are those who are lost along the way. Brooks makes you care, makes you grieve and, most importantly, makes you hope --- emotions that could be lost in the hands of a lesser author.
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on August 28, 2007