The Gypsy Morph Hardcover – Aug 26 2008
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Praise for Terry Brooks
“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy.”
–Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon and Brisingr
“Terry’s place is at the head of the fantasy world.”
–Philip Pullman, author of The Golden Compass
The Elves of Cintra
“Hair-raising . . . [a] fascinating group of characters tackling harrowing and inspiring life and death issues.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Plenty of thrills.”
About the Author
Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon’s Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars®: Episode I The Phantom Menace.™ His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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,
"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!
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.
So when I picked up book one of this latest trilogy I was very hopeful. The premise of showing the transistion from the old world to the new was very intriguing. And through the first book, Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1), that promise was fulfilled. Great new characters reacting to completely new situations. It didn't even seem to be a "Shannara" book at first, at least until the Elves show up about halfway though. The second book, The Elves of Cintra (Genesis of Shannara), also was very good, even though we began to see some of the old patterns emerging.
The Gypsy Morph though began to be predictable. It is still a good and exciting book, but I would have to say it is the weaker of the three. We're back to the elfstones being the tool to save the world, the city of the Elves being transported (again) to a safe haven and the true gifts of a magical being being realized. There were some curves thrown in, like the deaths of characters that you would not expect, and the final chapter was original for a Brooks book.
Did I enjoy the book? Yes. Am I interested in the next chapter of evolution in the Shannara universe? Not sure yet. We'll have to see what the plotline is. But I would definitely recommend this to the standard Brooks fan, and also to someone just starting out on his books. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Brooks again masterfully weaves together the separate tales that he has created for each main group of characters, finally connecting them so the reader can gain a different perspective of the whole picture. Although, in a way, we know the outcome of this story, Brooks now fills in the details along the way. Each character is carefully crafted and has a unique personality that fits the role they must play. Brooks builds his world with so much detail that it is almost another character in the story, impacting the choices the other characters must make. Emotions run high in this book with fear and doubt only slightly tempered by hope.
The Gypsy Morph is a a satisfying conclusion to The Genesis of Shannara trilogy. It contains much darkness but finally begins the journey into the light. The Genesis of Shannara books do a great job at bridging the gap between The Word and The Void series and the rest of the Shannara story.