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Dark Wraith of Shannara Paperback – March 25, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up–At the end of the Shannara trilogy (Random, 1987), Brin and Jair Ohmsford used their wishsong power to destroy the Ildatch, the ultimate in dark magic books, and save the world from evil. It was a battle in which they lost many friends, including Jair's most trusted companion, Weapons Master Garet Jax, who had appeared invincible. It seemed as though the siblings had fulfilled their Ohmsford heritage and vanquished the foe–the operative word being seemed. Now the story continues in graphic-novel form. The characters and action are true to the Shannara legacy. Here Jair is called to destroy the last fragment of the Ildatch. Using magic, he is able to call forth and become Weapons Master Garet Jax, although this power puts his own soul in jeopardy. This exciting story sets the stage for a sequel. The black-and-white art is expressive and uses creepy shadow to convey the black arts at work. Although the art is classic comic book style and it is printed in standard left-to-right form, the novel should have great appeal to those who like fantasy-adventure manga because of its tone and subject matter. This quick, exciting adventure won't disappoint Brooks's fans, and it is a terrific way to hook reluctant readers, who will want to pick up one of the many Shannara novels to find out more about these characters.–Dana Cobern-Kullman, Luther Burbank Middle School, Burbank, CA
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About the Author
Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
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As the story begins, Jair Ohmsford is remembering his experiences at the end of the previous adventure (told in the short story *Indomitable*) about how he was able to use the power of the wishsong (latent Elven magic from a mutation of his father's DNA) to not just cast images into the minds of others, as he'd always done before, but to *become* an image. To shape-shift and change himself – mind, soul, spirit, memory – into a different person. In that case, it was the famed weapons-master, Gareth Jax, who had previously (as recounted in *Wishsong*) perished helping Jair to complete his quest of keeping his sister Brin from turning to evil. He thus enabled her to destroy the malevolent power of the Ildatch, that sentient book of evil knowledge that had subverted powerful magic-users since the creation of the world.
Jair remembers also how dangerous it was to become Gareth Jax, how he almost didn't turn back into himself, and ponders this. After Jair visits with his sister, and princess by marriage of the small kingdom of Leah, Brin, her husband Rone Leah, and their new-born baby, he departs. At this point, the Shade of Allanon (a ghost visiting from the land of the dead) appears to him in a dream, telling him that the old man Cogline, whom they met during the events of *Wishsong*, was a former Druid, and has been kidnapped with the intention of forcing him to restore lost Paranor, the Druid Keep. Jair must prevent the knowledge of the Druids from passing to the hands of the Croton Witch and her Mwellret (lizard-Troll) minions. Of course, he first stops to enlist the aid of Slanter - his gnome friend and ally from these previous adventures - to help him track Cogline and Kimber Boh.
The story was quite good. It was a bit more fast-paced than the novels, but that is to be expected given the different genre of a comic as compared to a traditional book. It also was nice to see the previous adventures and the characterizations of *Wishsong* referenced and expanded upon. The characters were depicted as older and changed. Since this was a few years later, Jair, Slanter, Brin, Rone, et al., being different made obvious sense. That type of dynamic narrative was appreciated.
The art was very beautifully rendered, but rendered in a curious way. It wasn't color, and it wasn't traditional black and white. Instead, it was black and white color but with the same broad, almost “pastel” type of sweeping brush stroke feel of the best modern comics. It evoked a nice “old movie/old tale” type of sense to it. The notes on the “Making of the comic” section at the end of the book have the art team essentially admitting this was what they wanted.
The romance between Jair and Kimber holds some promise, but also seems to mess up the facts of the later stories. Until one remembers that in 300 years, a lot can change, so it remains to be seen *if* they got together, and how Brin and Jair's bloodlines crossed, etc. It's a small revelation (via the scenes of Brin, Rone, and their son) that Walker Boh and Morgan Leah of *The Heritage of Shannara* quartet of novels are distantly related. The implied romance in *Wishsong* between Rone and Brin was confirmed here.
There were some continuity ruffles that can be straightened out, but this was mostly a very good job on the first ever (which sadly seems to be the last so far) *Shannara* graphic novel.
Rating: 5/5 Stars.
I'll always be a Terry Brooks fan and I can't wait to read whatever he creates next with the magic of his imagination.
Mark B. - Michigan
Most recent customer reviews
But as return shipping takes up 1/2 my refund, no thanks.
For me it was slow reading. Not my first choice.
Terry Brooks Shannara books are all great.