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Bearers of the Black Staff (Legends of Shannara) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 24, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 285 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The horrors of a war-ravaged world again invade a hard-won peace in Brooks's intense follow-up to 2008's The Gypsy Morph. Five hundred years have passed since Hawk led a tattered band of survivors into a valley protected by a magical barrier. Now the wall has been breached by demons. The last known Knight of the Word, Sider Ament, wields a powerful black staff that he hopes to pass to a new leader. After rescuing talented teen Trackers Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, Sider asks them to warn the Children of Hawk. Unfortunately, their council leaders don't share Sider's certainty of an impending invasion. While Sider explores the other side of the barrier, the young Trackers find help from Arborlon Elves in this superlative Tolkien-style fantasy tweaked with a contemporary vibe.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This first volume of Legends of Shannara opens five centuries after the worldwide holocaust that ended the Genesis of Shannara trilogy. Elves, humans, and other races are slowly restoring a modest civilization in a mountain valley protected by their combined magic. Now this sanctuary is threatened by the assault of monstrous creatures that seem to be either magic wielders or creations of magic greater than the valley’s and of mysterious origin. Another stalwart band of heroes, the title characters, is drawn from all the races to fight—although this time they are not marching out on a quest but fighting in the last ditch. The forthcoming sequel, The Measure of the Magic, will, as it were, measure their degree of success—for the time being. The author’s success needs no measuring anymore—it is enormous, thanks to a growing gift for characterization, pacing, and world building, not to mention magic that may not be supremely original in conception but manages to be increasingly enthralling to literally millions of readers over what is approaching two generations. --Roland Green

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345484177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345484178
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (285 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bobbewig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While I am not a big fan of the fantasy genre, I have enjoyed some of Terry Brooks's previous Shannara books. So, when Bearers Of The Black Staff, was offered in the Amazon Vine program, I thought I'd give it, which is the first of two books set in the prehistory of Shannara, a read. Basically, the book is a fast read and it, for the most part, held my interest throughout. That said, however, I felt the book is just an okay story that doesn't rise above the pack (i.e., it's entertaining but easily forgettable). The reasons for this are as follows: (1) the plot and sub-plots seem too reminiscent in several ways to those Brooks has used before; (2) the characters are not developed fully enough to make them memorable and to care that much about; and (3) the dialogue is just average at best and, at times, is too repetitive. While I didn't dislike Bearers Of The Black Staff, it is not a book I'd recommend you have to rush out to buy, unless you are a die-hard Terry Brooks fan. But, even the die-hards, I think will find this book to be a step down from many of this author's other books.
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Format: Hardcover
It's been five hundred years since the Gypsy Morph, Hawk, led a diverse group of survivors out of the destruction of the Great Wars into a safe haven hidden by magic. Since that time the magic has kept the Men, Elves, Spiders, and Lizards safe from the world beyond. Many have forgotten their roots and distanced themselves from the magic that saved them.

Sider Ament is the last known Knight of the Word and he's just discovered that the magic barrier has been breached. Now he must team up with two Trackers, Panterra Qu and Prue Liss, to convince an unbelieving people that their safe haven is about to be discovered. The Old World they've forgotten is about to collide with their own and nothing can prepare them for the danger that waits.

Continuing his massive undertaking to give us the full history of The Shannara series, Terry Brooks delivers another exciting installment full of new characters, trademark fantasy elements, and heartfelt emotion.

Typically in Brooks' writing, characters don't last longer than a book or two, very few having lived through multiple series. This is to be expected since this series in particular takes place over thousands of years. Nevertheless, Brook continues to craft characters that readers can't help but fall in love with. Sider, Panterra, and Prue certainly fit the bill and readers will be moved and captivated by their journey. We're also treated to some strong supporting roles throughout that would make fascinating main characters themselves.

As a long time fan of Terry Brooks it has been fun to see how the Shannara history is built, and Bearers of the Black Staff feels more like the Shannara books of old and less like the apocalyptic Genesis of Shannara novels that came previously.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This new series certainly has it's work cut out for it. The previous series, (genesis of shannara) could have been much better and left far too many questions unanswered (IMHO) about the elven & human demons, the knight's lady & the elves' elcrys. While I thought it was clever to merge the two book series, in the end I felt the author did not do justice to either series, let along successfully merge them.

This new novel is focussed on the last "major" event of the Shannara series - the survivors of the great wars coming out from their protected valley. Once we are past this, we're into the regular Shannara world. So, I was really expecting something epic here. This new series starts 500 years after the sealing of the valley and the destruction of our world by nuclear fire. The characters are very strong in this book, I felt Syder, Pan, Prue and Phryne were all well conceived. There were more than a few twists & turns and I was even surprised a few times by the events. That doesn't happen often. I look forward to the conclusion but surprised it's only a 2 book series as normally the Shannara series are 3 books. There were a even a few times that I felt a chill up my spine when characters from Genesis series are sort of reverently mentioned. Nice touch. "The Hawk", for example. On the whole it was a decent read, and I am curious to see how it all ends up.

On the negative side, the plot felt rushed and not "epic" enough. As normal, Terry spends (IMHO) too much time on mundane details that take up a lot of pages (eating, walking, thinking about teenage crushes, etc.,) and not enough on the big issues - like the start of the brave new world that becomes the "Shannara" world (and the 20 or so books going back to the 1970's).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Terry Brooks fan for most of my life, I was eagerly awaiting "Bearers of the Black Staff." It arrived yesterday and I finished it early this morning, so I certainly can't say it didn't hold my interest! This is a world to which my attachment has grown deep - I have come to love and mourn for it in equal measure, and I am always so happy to revisit it and learn more about its history.

To me, one of Mr. Brooks' greatest gifts has always been his ability to create history and political factions without being heavy-handed with his exposition or giving me *way* more information than I care to know (although there is certainly a place for that kind of fiction as well, a la Robert Jordan). That he is able to do so through a variety of rich, well-drawn characters is extremely satisfying for me as a reader.

I'll skip the plot summary here, as the two reviewers before me did such a great job of it, and concentrate on the reasons why this book left me ultimately feeling somewhat disappointed. First of all, I *know* Mr. Brooks is an amazing, imaginative writer. I wanted something different than a repeat of "Character discovers mortal danger to his world, necessitating an upheaval of the life everyone has known for centuries, but when he tries to warn his people, nobody believes him." I thought this was handled much more deftly and emotionally with Kirisin and Erisha in The Genesis of Shannara series.

Sad truth be told, I felt that neither book nor its characters pack the emotional punch I love so much and have come to expect from Mr. Brooks. I liked the characters well enough, but it just didn't happen for me.
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