From Publishers Weekly
Make a wish on an Elfstone and anything can happen, including a fresh second installment (after 2003's Jarka Russ
) in Brooks's bestselling High Druid fantasy trilogy, part of the long-running Shannara series whose magic has been showing signs of wear. As the Free-born Federation war continues in the Four Lands, life is packed with peril for the Ohmsford family. While High Druid Grianne Ohmsford languishes in the Forbidding, a demon tracks her gifted nephew, Pen, with orders to kill him from the Druid responsible for her banishment, the evil Shadea a'Ru. Young Pen and his followers—perky Elven Elfstone carrier Khyber, grumpy dwarf Tagwen, blind Rover girl Cinnaminson and helpful Rock Trolls—seek the tanequil, a mysterious tree from which a "darkwand" must be formed that will aid Pen in rescuing his aunt from the Forbidding. Pen's parents, Bek and Rue, are also ensnared by Shadea, an uneasy ally of Sen Dunsidan, the Federation's prime minister. New readers may feel a little disoriented by unfamiliar references, but Brooks's efficient pacing, skillful characterizations and suspenseful plotting all bode well for the trilogy's conclusion.
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In the second book, after Jarka Ruus
[BKL Je 1 & 15 03], of the High Druid of Shannara, Grianne Ohmsford, rightful high druid, is trapped inside the Forbidding, where the demon lord holds her prisoner. Her entrapment allowed a demon to pass through to the Four Lands to destroy the barrier that prevents the dark denizens of the Forbidding from entering the other world. Meanwhile, her nephew, Pen Ohmsford, is being pursued by an assassin sent by the Machiavellian acting high druid, Shadea a'Ru, who imprisons Pen's parents in hopes of diverting the boy from rescuing his aunt. Accompanied by the dwarf Tagwen; the elf Khyber, keeper of the Elfstones; and blind though differently sighted Cinnaminson, Pen searches for the ancient sentient tree Tanequil to ask it for a branch from which to fashion a darkwand
that will enable him to cross over into the Forbidding. While all this transpires, Sen Dunsidan, prime minister of the Federation, and Shadea are plotting to destroy the elf and dwarf populations and expand their sovereignty; each, however, plans to come out on top. The large cast of well-honed characterizations and convoluted plots and subplots, with their nonstop action, are typical of Brooks' long-running Shannara saga, and will certainly satisfy his devoted following. Sally EstesCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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