Measure of the Magic(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Terry's place is at the head of the fantasy world -- Philip Pullman, author of THE GOLDEN COMPASS If you haven't read Terry Brooks, you haven't read fantasy -- Christopher Paolini, author of ERAGON and BRISINGR --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Terry Brooks published his first novel, The Sword of Shannara, in 1977. It was a New York Times bestseller for more than six months. He has published twenty-five New York Times bestsellers since. Two of those--the novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word--were chosen by the Rocky Mountain News (Denver) as among the best fantasy novels of the twentieth century. A practicing lawyer until his third book was published, Brooks now writes full-time. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Judine.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
A definite must read for fans of the Shannara series as it explores the lives of the humans and other inhabitants as they fight for survival in the desolate world before the four lands came into being.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I read this latest book after just finishing "Bearers of the Black Staff" the first book in this short series. I quite enjoyed the first book which in many ways was standard Fantasy fare but written capably. Brooks is very good at creating solid characters that you care about and want to find out what happens next. "The Measure of the Magic" does add quite a lot of escalation to the first novel. The first book ends with a very serious situation of an invasion coming into the valley that had been protected for 500 years. A new danger enters onto the scene that is much more serious and a greater threat to the new holder of the Black Staff and his friend and companion. This really adds to the story and makes it something more than just the end of the duo logy wrapping up previous plot points.
I really liked the character development and the sacrifices some of the characters made and the book is more bitter-sweet than the other novels in the series. Other plot elements and new characters round up the story. Considering the young age of the main characters this novel though does feel more like a transitional novel than the end of the duology. The characters were certainly strong enough for a continuation of the story and I certainly liked it enough to have wanted this to be more than a duology, but there always has to be a cutting of point when working with young heroes such as the Harry Potter series.
If you like Terry Brooks style I am confident you will enjoy this addition. I had forgotten how much I liked his writings and need to go back and read the other series again in the Shannara world.
Sider Ament has been killed. The magical veil protecting the valley has fallen, trolls have amassed outside the valley waiting for a chance to strike, and the responsibility for leading the inhabitants of the valley back into the wider world has fallen to young tracker, and newly appointed Knight of the Word, Panterra Qu. While this premise has the makings of a very exciting story, we were promised by Brooks that this series would clearly define the transition from the world of the Word/Void to the world of Shannara. It was a very bold promise that was not adequately fulfilled, and having invested so much of my time into these five transitional Shannara books, I feel like the series was cheated out of the ending it deserved.
Not only did we not get the story we wanted but the story we did get was well below par, something made more apparent given the quality Brooks has produced over the past five years. To put it a bit more bluntly I became very bored reading The Measure of Magic, which is quite concerning as I don't think I have ever been bored reading a Brooks story. We get a generic coming of age story as Panterra Qu accepts the Knight of the Word mantle. We get a generic coming of age story as Prue Liss is called upon to make a personal sacrifice for the greater good. We get a generic coming of age story as Phryne Amarantyne accepts responsibility for the Elfstones. We get a generic coming of age story as Xac Wen strives to prove himself to his peers and his heroes. After playing with some heavy and controversial themes in the previous book, to see this book populated by such generic character arcs is a massive let down. The one redeeming feature of this book is it's villain, the Ragpicker. He is a cold, calculating and vile demon who hunts down Knights of the Word just for fun. His scenes are by far the most interesting in the book - he exudes an air made up of equal parts malevolence, power, and competence, and it is fascinating to watch how easily he can manipulate entire villages just by playing on their hopes and fears. In just one book Brooks established the Ragpicker as one of the most capable villains in the Shannara universe and it would have been nice to see how he would have developed over the course of an entire series rather than just the one book.
The writing here is pretty good, a style that has become well refined after twenty five years of Shannara. The world building is as strong as ever and the action scenes continue to be both vivid and exciting. The pacing is good, the story is easy to read, but it feels like there is far too much unnecessary prose here. This is a book that is twice as long as needed to be, which is a shame because there were so many sub-plots from the first book that were left untouched, and many more from this book that were left unresolved.
The Measure of Magic an uncharacteristically mediocre attempt at a novel by Terry Brooks. While there are some great scenes with some epic action sequences, they are interspersed by boring character development and relationships that refuse to evolve. It's not a bad read by any stretch of the imagination, and I have read much worse, but I expected more from Brooks on this outing. If you are looking for resolution of the various plot threads established over the past five years, you will end up feeling disappointed. However, if you can go into this story without expecting the overall genesis of Shannara to be resolved then I think you can glean quite a bit of enjoyment out of this book.
The story opens with the Ragpicker. We quickly learn that the Ragpicker is a demon and he is on the hunt for the bearer of the black staff. The Ragpicker is also after Prue Liss. Indeed, the Ragpicker would have caught Prue Liss had there not been timely assistance from an unexpected source. At the same time, Panterra Qu finds himself the new bearer of the black staff. Pan struggles with his new role and alternates between overconfidence and doubt. Fortunately, once Prue Liss joins Pan the pair is much more than the sum of their parts.
Of course, if this story was only about Pan and Prue Liss, it might be interesting but relatively unimportant. Pan and Prue live in a valley long hidden from the world. The valley did have protection from those who would be quite happy to eliminate the inhabitants of the valley, to enslave them, or worse. Unfortunately, the protection is gone and the trolls know how to find the valley. Pan and Prue are working against the inevitability of discovery to try to get defenders for the valley.
Complicating matters is that princess Phryne Amarantyne's stepmother has imprisoned Phryne (where have we heard this one before?), accusing Phryne of killing her father, the king. Phryne's stepmother has a completely separate agenda from protecting the valley or even the Elf city. Since the Elves are the only credible force capable of stopping the inevitable troll invasion, Pan and Prue have to gain the help of the Elves, which may mean rescuing Phryne.
The story wends its way through the valley from Pan and Prue's home to the Elf city and then outside the valley as the story threatens to become epic, but falls just short. I was unable to stop reading this story. Author Brooks used a cliffhanger style and I had to keep reading to pick the story up again. Brooks used this style effectively from beginning to end, which made the story quick for me. I must admit that the elements of this novel reminded me of another author's novels, that being Stephen King. The Ragpicker had points where he reminded me of Randall Flagg from "The Stand." The way old technology entered the story reminded me of places in "The Dark Tower" series. Of course, this story is completely different from King's stories; I just kept having feelings of déjà vu.
This novel is hardly ground breaking. Indeed, many of the story elements are familiar from countless other stories. However, Author Brooks wrote the story well and I enjoyed most of the story from beginning to end. I wished Brooks had time to expand some of the details, but that is a minor quibble. The real point of this story is the journey, and the journey was fun for me. The only other thing I found slightly annoying was the internal conflicts of the characters. Strangely, had the internal conflicts not been there, some people would have complained that the author spent insufficient time in character development. Sadly, an author can never satisfy everyone.
As I noted earlier, it has been a while since I read a Terry Brooks novel. I can see that I have a lot of catching up to do. Brooks has expanding Shannara's world significantly since the days of "The Sword of Shannara." Shannara's world has a prehistory and lots of development. I need to fill in the holes and read all the books to see how it all ties together. This novel has given me the enthusiasm to do just that.
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