Tami BradyHALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 9 2008
I will try not to sound too much like an enamored fan but I have to admit that Terry Brooks is one of my all time favorite authors. When I think of well written epic fantasy, Terry Brooks immediately comes to mind. I have good reason. I continue to pick up and read his books because I know that the story will be memorable, that the characters will be well developed and within a few chapters I will care what happens to them, that the action scenes are going to be spectacular, and that no character is ever completely safe.
The Gypsy Morph and the entire Genesis of Shannara is no expectation. In this series, we learn of the post-apocalyptic beginnings of Shannara. We meet great characters like Hawk, a seemingly average boy who finds out that he is actually the gypsy morph, a mystical entity whose destiny is to save humanity or be consumed by it. We also meet Knights of the Word, Angel Perez and Logan Tom, two modern warriors that you'd hate to meet in a dark alley.
Of course, like any Shannara series there are Elves. Unbeknownst to humans, the Elves have continued to exist completely hidden from the human world. However, what is about to unfold is so big that even the Elves aren't safe.
The Gypsy Morph is the final installation of the Genesis series. In this book, we find out who is up to the task and who isn't, those who survive and those who don't, and the sacrifices individuals are willing to make for their friends. The big showdown.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
I have read the Word and banished the Void.... for nowSept. 2 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been reading Terry Brooks books for years and would tend to recommend his fiction just based on past performance. 'Sword of Shannara' and the related books are on just about any fantasy fan's top ten list.
I first read 'Running With the Demon' (Book one of The Word and the Void trilogy) back in 1998. I was fascinated by the concept and the writing was superb. I eagerly read the next two books and was just as impressed. I assumed that Brooks was going into a genre of writing similar to Charles De Lint (urban fantasy). What I did "not" get from any of those books at the time, was the tie-in to Shannara. As the next trilogy (The Genesis of Shannara) unfolded, I had to smack myself in the forehead for not realizing that these two trilogies were prequels to the original Shannara series.
Imagine that a writer can take a lion's portion of his works and tie them all together in such a neat package three decades down the road. It boggles my mind!!
Not much need for me to repeat the story line - others have outlined that in far more detail then I really care for. What I would like to add is that while you do not need to read all of the various Shanarra books to get into this one, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not starting back at 'Running With the Demon' and working through all ive previous books beore starting 'The Gypsy Morph'. I strongly believe it to be worth the effort!! Brooks does a marvelous job of wrapping up the major story lines (he admits at lectures and on-line that he leaves a few small threads open just to allow readers some leeway)
If you decide to read - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
All the best,
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
"I Can't Tell What's Down There in the Darkness..."Sept. 20 2009
R. M. Fisher
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To take a series that was written in the 1970s and connect it to a seemingly unrelated trilogy published in the 1990s is certainly quite a feat, but that's what Terry Brooks has done in "Genesis of Shannara." From the typical fantasy world that was introduced in The Sword of Shannara, published way back in 1977, Brooks has often hinted that the Four Lands were a post-apocalyptic portrayal of our own world, thousands of years into the future. Readers were looking out for clues to this when Running With the Demon was published in 1998, which made significant use of the term "The Word," that had been previously used in the "Shannara" series. But it was not until the publication of "Genesis of Shannara" that the link between the two series was confirmed.
By this stage a plot summary is somewhat redundant. Long story short: the world is ending and the survivors are following Hawk, a "gypsy morph" formed of wild magic, to a safe haven. Making this journey all the more difficult is an army of demons who exist for the sole purpose of wiping out humanity (and elfin-kind, many of whom are traveling alongside humans with their city and population encased in a magical gemstone). From the Word/Void trilogy there are Knights of the Word who act as protectors to the street-kids known as Ghosts, and from the Shannara series are the Elves and their Elfstones, working alongside humans for the first time in living memory.
"The Gypsy Morph" (and in fact, all of Brooks' books) is what I call "pulp fantasy," with an emphasis on thrills, action, battles (physical or magical), romance, cliff-hangers, and capture/escape/chase scenarios. Brooks provides examples of these in droves, all told at break-neck speed...but the "Genesis" trilogy had the potential to be so much *more*. This was our chance to see the birth of the Four Lands and its inhabitants, but it's less about the "genesis" of the Shannara series as it is the conclusion of our civilization and world as we know it. Had it truly been a "genesis" of Shannara, surely there would have been more links with that particular land and the origins of all the "ancient" creatures that populate it.
As others have mentioned, there are several obvious connections between the two series that could have easily been made explicit, but weren't for whatever reason. For instance, I was certain that the Lady would somehow be connected with the Ellcrys tree; or that the union of Simralen and Logan and their magic would lead to the beginning of the Shannara/Ohmsford bloodline, or (though this one's a bit of a stretch) that the book of names that Findo Gask carried around throughout Angel Fire East would somehow evolve into the sentient Ildatch book of The Wishsong of Shannara. Of course, I can't expect Brooks to remember all of these plot threads strewn throughout over four decades of writing, but these particular examples seemed blatantly obvious to me. There are components of both "Word/Void" and "Shannara" present here, but like oil and water, they never mingle in a satisfactory way.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that this trilogy was a perfect opportunity to shed some light on the history of this world and the nature of many of its inhabitants. As it is, the story comes across as a bit of a rehash of previously published books, (plotlines such as Elfstones that need finding, the Ellcrys that needs protecting, demons that need unmasking and defeating, motivational speeches that need telling) and in one case a sub-plot repeats itself twice over in this very trilogy: in the second book a demon called Delloreen hunts down a specific target at the behest of Findo Gask. In this, the third book, a demon called Klee hunts down a specific target at the behest of Findo Gask. There are too many meaningless subplots and side-quests here: nothing is gained by them, and they just come across as filler. For instance, a HUGE amount of emphasis is put on the characters of Panther and Catalya, only for the two of them to abandon the group and go in search of life beyond the confines of Hawk's proposed settlement. Since the story ends with the world engulfed in a nuclear winter, I can only assume they don't get very far.
Although the story is fast-paced and one certainly gets the sense that a lot is riding on the success of our heroes, a lot of the plot relies on contrivance. There is an irritating shuffling of characters as they continuously and needlessly keep splitting-up. The King of the Silver River can transport Hawk to his domain, but apparently lacks the power to do so for everyone else. Kirisin is the only one who can activate the power of the Elfstones...at least until it's convenient for someone else to do so. Candle looses her physic abilities for no discernible reason, and then just as inexplicitly gets them back again at the most opportune time. As the titular hero of the title, Hawk doesn't do a heck of a lot of work. Instincts guide him to the safe haven and he gets two impressive displays of power toward the end of the book, but it's really the Knights who do most of the grunt-work. Hawk just comes across as a figurehead of hope rather than the messianic leader of men that he's initially made out to be.
And what happened to Trim? I liked that little owl!
As always, Brooks displays a tendency to waffle on. The Elves provide long tracts on environmental pollution and how the nasty humans have destroyed the world; whilst the Knights of the Word introspect endlessly on how painful/precious life is, how the battle has robbed them of their youth, whether humanity is worth the effort, etc. Brooks tells us the thoughts and feelings of characters rather than simply letting us assume the obvious and experience their pain for ourselves, and he has this odd compulsion that is prevalent throughout all his work on reiterating the same plot-points over and over again. For example, we are told on page 243 that Kirisin carries: "the Loden Elfstone, which contained the bulk of the Elven nation, its talismanic tree, and its city." Er, Brooks, why are you repeating this information to us? We know all this! We were there when it happened, remember? Whatever the reason, the man just loves to repeat himself. After a while, you become proficient at the "skimming" technique.
The premise of the "Genesis" trilogy is a great one, and while it lasts it is a read that manages to be both riveting and sluggish (and if you don't think that's possible, just consider the fact that even though things repeat themselves several times, they're done at such a break-neck speed that you're not given a chance to realize it until it's over), but I can't shake the disappointment that this should have been an "answer" book, shedding light on many of the mysteries and enigmas that shroud this series. Not in a blindingly obvious "this is how it all works" way, but in a subtle way that allows for illumination at the puzzle pieces between the two worlds clicking together. But it simply isn't that type of story, and perhaps I would have enjoyed it more had I known that initially. So if you're reading this, hopefully you'll now know what to expect: it's a fine read, but the two worlds of the far-reaching series are bridged, yet never really merged.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I'm officially an insomniac!Sept. 3 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
As with every single Terry Brooks novel I've read, I enjoyed "The Gypsy Morph" immensely. My work schedule only allows me to catch up with my reading in the evening, and since starting this book a few days ago, I've become an insomniac! Reading well into the night until the words are all but blurred and swimming on the pages. Even now, it's past one o'clock in the morning, and having just finished the book, I'm still thinking about it and can't get it out of my head!.
"The Gypsy Morph" brings you through a wide range of emotions: joy, fear, anger, and sadness. At one point in the story, I found my self grinning from ear to ear, while in another, on the verge of tears. Only a handful of masterful writers can involve you in the characters so deeply, that you experience their emotions right along with them. And Terry Brooks is certainly a master of his craft.
Without fail, for every one of Terry's books I've read, I've always been disappointed to turn the last page and find that there's no more. He has this uncanny ability to wrap up his stories without closing them completely. He gives you just enough to get his point across and leaves the rest of the story open for the reader to come to his/her own conclusions. Although I admire this, it can also be very frustrating!
But that aside, it was a wonderful, exciting trilogy. And Gypsy was a fantastic end. I can't wait to visit Landover again next year! It's about time!
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Maybe this is getting old to say, but WOW! Brooks does it againSept. 10 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
There are few authors working today who can boast the sustained success that Terry Brooks has managed since 1977 with virtually zero breaks in between. I would have to say, with few exceptions, his novels stack up well in the Fantasy Realm as a whole against almost any other author currently working and/or who has ever written and been published. Is that to say he is the all-time best there has ever been? That's a personal question that will vary from reader to reader...and I refuse to attempt to make my opinion the only one that matters. Opinions vary--and for those who are long-time, or even new fans of Brooks will most likely agree that 'The Gypsy Morph' is yet another top-notch addition to his fantastic-and growing collection of works.
I have had the fortune of interviewing Mr. Brooks several times (once in person) and I assure you, he was asked literally THOUSANDS of times whether or not the Word & Void series was, or would be connected in ANY way to Shannara...I was one of those asking. When 'Armageddon's Children' came out, I guess that question was finally put to rest. And I must say, he put that to bed in absolutely the best style imaginable! Again, opinion's vary, but I honestly feel that just being able to come up with a plausible storyline to bridge the two was amazing. But the end rusult? Utterly fantastic.
There are critics of both the Word & Void as well as Shannara and seeing as how both series are now forever connected, I am interested to see how all the blogs will continue. I was initially quite skeptical that Terry would be able to successfully mate these two dramatically different storylines together in ANY way that could satisfy his demanding fans, but once again, even though it seems as though I am sounding like a broken record, but WOW, what a great job. The contemporary Fantasy theme of Word & Void, and the full-on Fantasy genre tied together via this Genesis was not only creative, and offered some genuine surprises and plot twists, but--at least to this reviewer--provided a sense of absolute satisfaction at how that connection was made and how it followed through.
So whats next for Brooks? I have it on good authority a new Magic Kingdom novel is in the works, and while that was never my favorite series in the genre, I still enjoyed it and look forward to diving head-first back into that realm as well. Honestly, for long time fans of Terry Brooks, how can you possibly be anything BUT impressed with 'The Gypsy Morph'? Sure, there will be those who will disagree with my thoughts, and that's ok...but chances are if you liked the 1st two books in this series, you will be more than fine with how it all goes together in this one. And again, remember, opinions vary.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The stunning conclusion to a fantasy trilogy that rivals LORD OF THE RINGS!Nov. 4 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In a horrifying blend of post-apocalyptic terror and new age urban fantasy, Terry Brooks' GENESIS OF SHANNARA series describes a world ravaged by nuclear war, plague, pestilence, famine, mindless zombie-like creatures, demons and terrifying creatures born out of devastating mutations. Deaths have numbered in the billions and humanity teeters on the very brink of extinction. Most of those few humans who have survived have reverted to a dark age in which they remain walled up in fortified compounds brutally scavenging from one another and scratching out a mean subsistence life in much the same fashion as tribes would have done during the earliest periods of mankind's existence.
The power and excitement of this series rests in his convincing blend of the reality of a burnt-out destroyed human landscape with the beguiling and utterly fascinating mythological beginnings of the fantasy world that was born in full bloom in his earlier Shannara stories.
Long, long ago in a place that was definitely not far, far away, the Elves conquered the demon hordes wandering Earth and sealed them away in a bleak existence called "the Forbidding". A biblical scholar might have suggested that "The Word" ruled over the Earth and the Earth was good - a kindly, warm and benevolent place to live.
But current events on the earth - the wars, the nuclear radiation, the burgeoning evil that mankind is both experiencing and causing - are weakening the walls between Earth and the Forbidding. As evil's grip on the earth tightens, its defence has been reduced to the last two remaining Knights of the Word - Angel Perez and Logan Tom - two warriors carefully chosen by the Word for their indomitable spirit who have been given a magical staff and special powers to be used in the fight against demons and "The Void".
Perez and Tom have been charged by the Elven nation with finding a talisman called the Loden Lodestone and a magical young child called "The Gypsy Morph". Without the magic of the Lodestone and the power of the Gypsy Morph whose destiny is critical to the survival of humankind, earth is doomed. Goodness and "The Word" will disappear forever and the world will become the dominion of the demons and their dark lord, Findo Gask. "The Void" will rule forevermore.
GYPSY MORPH is powerful indeed. Far more than a simple story of the unending and timeless conflict between good and evil, it tells a story of love, commitment, honour, dedication, trust and so much more. For example, the tale of orphaned children attempting to raise themselves in a bleak, nuclear-blasted world without reference to parental guidance, while astonishingly reminiscent of Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES, is fresh, exciting, heart-wrenching and most definitely not derivative in any way.
Brooks' descriptions of a troubled world are graphic and breathtaking. His character building is deep, complex and utterly convincing. On the dust jacket of the novel, Christopher Paolini, author of the young adult fantasy, ERAGON, was quoted as saying, "If you haven't read Terry Brooks, you haven't read fantasy"! Quite a compliment coming from a fellow author who might well be assumed to be in competition with Terry Brooks for the same audience. I have to agree with Mr Paolini's ebullient assessment.
I waited a long time for this one and, I think you'll agree. The GENESIS OF SHANNARA series combines the earlier SHANNARA and KNIGHT OF THE WORD series in a stunning, entirely innovative new series that fantasy fans are going to eat up.
In THE GYPSY MORPH, the stunning climactic conclusion to the series, we witness Kirisin Bellorus, the young elf who has been entrusted with the ancient magic, deliver his entire civilization to safety from the demon armies as the Word and the Void clash for dominion over a scarred mortal world. When the dust settles we are privileged to witness the tentative dawning of a new era.
On the face of it, a magnificent fantasy that ties Terry Brooks' universes together into a wonderful, complex but very complete and unified whole. On a slightly different level, THE GENESIS series is a mystical allegory and while it may be typical in that it pits good vs evil and personifies both sides of the battle, it is unique in the depth and the excitement that is conveyed during the exploration of this age old theme.