I honestly did like this last book of the Shannara trilogy the best. And then I thought, now wait a minute! Brooks, instead of copying Tolkien's plots, has now decided to copy his own plots! I mean, I loved that this was FINALLY more original work from Terry Brooks, there are original characters, new types of magic like the wishsong and the Ildatch that I've never seen in a book before. It was refreshing to see, Brooks did get better at originality and creativity as his writing career progressed.
However, copying the basic outline of your former plots is like making re-fried re-fried beans! (Yes, I meant to type re-fried twice!) The Ohmsford family is being called on AGAIN by, who else, the last Druid Allanon whom everyone still mistrusts, and AGAIN, they must go on a hopeless quest into the depths of the evil kingdom and AGAIN fight dark, hooded, evil creatures with only glowing points of light for eyes. It gets tiresome to do the same thing all over again with different characters!!! Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong, all are elven magic used to make something impossible happen. When one considers JUST the basic plot, one finds that all three books of the trilogy are IDENTICAL.
But, as I said, I did like this one the best. After rewriting his story three times, Brooks came up with some very original things! I mean, imagine being able to sing and make trees explode, poison rise from a dying body, and control a large cat! I also like that this book involves Brin and Jair, the children of Wil and Eretria. I didn't like how Elfstones jumped from Shea to his grandson, I was happy to see, at least briefly, some characters I was familiar with. Also, Allanon was not completely dark, angry and mistrusted this time. Brin felt a sort of kinship with him and he treated her very gently and kindly at times, there was an understanding between them I liked and for the first time I saw how Allanon's life must be very lonely and thankless. Plus, I liked the new characters better. Slanter, Helt and Garet Jax were more believable, trusting and they all worked together, there wasn't so much mistrust in this book. The characters were more multi-dimensional than ever before.
Brooks at this point was beginning to come into his own more as an author. His dialogue was better too. And, we can see Brooks' improvement throughout. For example, I liked the end of the Sword of Shannara better than the beginning, the beginning of Elfstones better than the end of Sword, the end of Elfstones better than the beginning, the beginning of Wishsong better than the end of Elfstones and the end of Wishsong better than the beginning!!! So, Brooks' improvement is visible. In fact, I'd say this book could almost stand alone without the preceding two.
There were moments of brilliance as well: "The past carries forward and becomes what is to be" as the King of Silver River said. I'm glad we finally got to meet him too. As I have said before, Brooks does have some good points, he tells that if people don't unite to destroy evil, the evil will overwhelm them and they cannot hide. This rings true even today. Also, this trilogy is full of the truth that if we do not change our dependence on chemicals, fuels and nuclear weapons and energy, we are doomed to fall into a near non-existence and lose everything and more we have gained.
Brooks is not an idiot, he definitely has some knowledge of the practical world. I'm going to keep reading his works, possibly start on the Heritage of Shannara or The Voyage of Jerle Shannara next. I believe those books will be better than this trilogy, I saw his improvement throughout this series and am sure he will continue to get better. I just hope he stops with the endless hopeless quests, it is a TOTALLY overused theme! But, don't give up on him yet!