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Wards of Faerie: The Dark Legacy of Shannara [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Terry Brooks , Rosalyn Landor
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 21 2012 The Dark Legacy of Shannara
Seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks at last revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic fantasy series that has spellbound readers for more than three decades.
 
When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled—and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart.
 
Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins.
 
Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. For whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come. But Aphenglow and her allies—Druids, Elves, and humans alike—remember the monstrous history of the Demon War, and they know that the Four Lands will never survive another reign of darkness. But whether they themselves can survive the attempt to stem that tide is another question entirely.
 
“[Terry Brooks is] the most important fantasy writer since J.R.R. Tolkien.”—Rocky Mountain News

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Review

PRAISE FOR LEGENDS OF SHANNARA
 
BEARERS OF THE BLACK STAFF
 
“A finely wrought tale of sacrifice, adventure, betrayal, magic, loss, and a world on the precipice.”—Brent Weeks, author of The Way of Shadows
 
“A story that will delight Brooks’ legions of fans . . . Here’s to many more tales of this incredible world.”—SFRevu
 
THE MEASURE OF THE MAGIC
 
“Classic Terry Brooks . . . infused with details of Shannara’s legends.”—Fantasy Faction
 
“Foolproof for fantasy lovers.”—Library Journal

About the Author

Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books, including the Dark Legacy of Shannara adventure Wards of Faerie; the Legends of Shannara novels Bearers of the Black Staff and The Measure of the Magic; the Genesis of Shannara trilogy: Armageddon’s Children, The Elves of Cintra, and The Gypsy Morph; 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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4.0 out of 5 stars Wards of Faerie March 12 2013
By kim kuz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a Terry Brooks fan, I was not disappointed. His writing style keeps me captivated and I find myself losing track of time. This book was no exception and am looking forward to Bloodfire Quest!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shannara Feb. 3 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love reading this series of novels. The only thing that i can compare it to, is The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and The Fionavar Tapestry.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read Dec 18 2012
By Todd B.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great book...can't wait for the next two installments. Brooks is as good as ever and this trilogy is sure to become a classic.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  372 reviews
52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All I can say is, THANK YOU Mr. Brooks--yet ANOTHER awesome adventure July 7 2012
By Jeff Edwards - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I've been a fan of Terry Brooks since a friend of mine pestered me until I finally agreed to read 'The Sword of Shannara' back around 1979. I have been forever grateful to my friend, and also to Mr. Brooks for being as sure a thing as death & taxes seem to be. Not all fantasy authors are created equal, which is a very true statement--and in my opinion, Terry stands head & shoulders above the rest, and I do mean ALL the rest. I know that may not be the case with everyone, but for me, its 100% true. Not once has he let me down in over 30 years. Now THAT'S a pretty good track record. I've enjoyed some books better than others, but they have ALL entertained me.

Here we go back to the world of Shannara. Always a great place for me to visit...and this time, the trip was no less entertaining--in fact, I've got to admit I'm back to that feeling I had years ago when I'd see a new Shannara novel at the bookstore. Its amazing how a novel can transport you--body & soul--to a place that is populated with entirely fictional and fantasy in nature and yet take you there all the same. Wards of Faerie picks up a few years after events which ended in the High Druid series. As usual, the Federation is a problem for essentially all good characters in the Land, and while the Druid Order isn't what it used to be, its still there and there are some members who still take the oath of a Druid serious. The story begins with Aphenglow Elessedil, who seems bent on a quest (aren't they always?). She is searching ancient books one after the other, looking and looking. For what? I'm not entirely sure if we figure that totally out. She makes a discovery pretty early on in the story, which sets her (and others) on a quest. She discovers an old diary which chronicles what may have happened to the lost Elfstones. Missing for millennia, they are very powerful talismans--but ONLY to the correct individual. As another reviewer noted, I also couldn't help but wonder how, if the Elfstones having been missing for thousands of years, almost immediately after making this discovery, do evil forces make this connection and undertake the effort to destroy all effort to keep them from being found? I am making an allowance that further details which may explain all of this sufficiently in subsequent installments, but I certainly hope this is dealt with. Enough coincidences make an otherwise excellent story harder to swallow.

Fans of the Shannara series will appreciate the inclusion of many established events from the past--which are all explained well enough that those new to the novels will not be mystified. From the Ellcry's to the Forbidding, the Shade of Allanon and even the Void...there is MUCH to capture and entertain you in the Wards of Faerie. Let me also add that while reading ALL of Terry's books are a huge PLUS before starting his newest, rarely is that really necessary in order to enjoy his books. While he is constantly in a state of referring to prior events, but unlike some authors who almost ruin their current story by re-creating too much of previous novels in order to fully flesh out why certain events are brought up, Terry handles it with supreme skill so its more of a small refresher than a rehash of what has gone before. I am a big fan of the Fantasy novel which takes me on a journey, and--as usual--we embark upon the beginning of yet another journey which opens up some familiar but plenty of all-new adventures. Also, for those familiar with the last several multi-book series written by Brooks, you will come to either appreciate or be eternally frustrated by how the first and second novels tend to end on some kind of extreme cliff-hangers (sometimes quite literally). While it creates a thirst for the next chapter in the series, it becomes increasingly difficult to wait sometimes a full year before picking up where the last left off. I have said several times now that I long for a time when Terry releases something along the lines of his first 3 books...that being a stand-alone single, self-contained epic fantasy Shannara novel. In the meantime, I'm happy enough to devour everything else he produces. Just a little while inside the boundless imagination of Mr. Brooks generally brings me plenty of entertainment that I don't mind it (too much) when the story ends so abruptly and then my wait begins yet again. Either way, kudos yet again, Mr. Brooks. You've wowed me once more, and for that I say Thank You.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World of Shannara evolves in the future and the past. July 7 2012
By N. Wallach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This book is the beginning of another trilogy set in the world of Shannara. As has been the norm in this series, this book begins several decades after the conclusion of the previous one. It is set in the same world, and some of the characters and scenes from the previous series are still very much with us. For instance, Khyber Elessedil is still around as the druid chieftain. However, most of the other characters from before have died off and there are new generations of Ohmsfords, Leahs, and the like.

The twist to this trilogy is that while it takes place in the next-future, the key element that it entails are those magic talismans - the elfstones - that disappeared millennia ago. The first chapter lays out what happened when a diary is discovered that explains how the elfstones, other than the blue and black ones, disappeared. It involved a love affair between an Elf and a Darkling. While this diary is pretty explicit about what happened, and why, it appears that it was totally forgotten until it was discovered by chance by an Elf druid named Aphenglow Elessedil.

This discovery sets up the main quest as Aphenglow brings the diary to Khyber, who immediately organizes a party of folks to find and recover the missing elfstones. Since the main concept of Shannara has to do with the balance of all things, including good and evil, this chance discovery leads to an immediate reaction by other forces who are inimical to the druids and so we have the Federation looking to cause trouble - and incidentally gain control of the druid keep Paranor and it's magic -with their science-based armies. Also, the book hints at the fact that the evil side of the world, the followers of the Void, are also aware of what is going on and are attempting to ensure that the Elfstones remain hidden. Other common elements to many Shannara novels appear, including the Ellcrys talking to one of its Chosen, the shade of Allanon coming to talk to people; a trip to the Forbidding, and many others.

If you have been a fan of the Shannara world, this book will appeal to you and you will be eagerly awaiting the next two novels in the series. In some of the material that I've seen surrounding this release, there is an implied promise from the publisher and author that this series will appear in six month increments, which is faster than the year-long separations that marked the previous series's.

If you have never read a Shannara book in your life, this book is not a bad choice for you either. The nice thing about Terry Brooks's works is that he does not rely a lot on previous series's when he writes a new one. There are references to the past books and histories all over the place, but they do not really detract from this new offering. Even though I would recommend that new readers start with the earlier works, there is really nothing that would stop you from picking up this one as your first attempt.

I am giving this book five stars because I really enjoyed the characters, settings, and overall direction that this book is taking. But there are some areas that I found a bit troubling in terms of the plotting. Without reading the rest of the series, it is difficult to say whether these are hints of the plot moving forward (in which case they will get resolved satisfactorily in time), or are mistakes by the author. I do not want to give away too much so I will mention them in general terms.

First, some of the timings of the plot are highly suspicious. The most obvious one occurs early, as when the diary is found. This diary has not been noticed by anyone over thousands of years, yet on the very day that it is discovered by chance, the reader of the diary is attacked by two people who are somehow related to the Federation. Not only that, but in some subsequent developments, the Federation seems to be awfully well prepared to attack the druids by having previously prepared for it. This is very odd given the short time lines involved. Is it a mistake? Or will the future books explain how this could be?

The other area of concern for me was when the quest gets going and the questors (is that a word?) start encountering strange beings in their paths. Beings that we are clearly told have never been there before. They eventually are revealed to be agents of the Void - who are supposed to be captive in the Forbidding - but are clearly in the world of Shannara. Huh? Is the magic holding the Forbidding closed failing? Or, again, is this a mistake?

Given that this is the first book in the series, I am more than happy to give this book a five star rating and to wait for its companion novels to find out that answers to my questions. I think you will enjoy this book as well.
57 of 74 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ah, Terry, you could have done so much more! Aug. 23 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Terry Brooks has long been one of my favorite authors. His first 7 Shannara books were a staple of my young adulthood. However, I feel like since then, his story-telling has dropped off. I had hoped this would not be the case in "Wards", but I was disappointed.

The book primarily follows the latest Elessedil, Aphenglow, in her quest to learn more about long-forgotten Elven magic. When Aphenglow discovers a diary that could lead her to the lost elfstones, she and the rest of the Druids are pulled into a journey (both literal and figurative) that will change the face of the Four Lands. It's not the most original premise, but the book started off well nonetheless, with a strong female character and enough mystery to keep me reading.

Unfortunately, after the first 40 pages or so, "Wards" began to read like a mashup of Brooks' other books. We've got beleaguered Druids, scheming Federation ministers, useless Elven councils, an airship quest to a far corner of the Four Lands and the ubiquitous Ohmsfords (who are, unsurprisingly, young, male, somewhat impetuous, and possessed of the wishsong.)

I think Brooks made a good decision when he decided to tell the tale mostly from the point of view of Aphenglow and Khyber Elessedil. But even with that, the book was predictable and formulaic. It was pretty obvious from the first few pages that ***SPOILER*** the Ellcrys was dying and Aphen's sister, Arling, would be chosen to replace her.***END SPOILER*** Brooks dropped clues like anvils, so as a cliffhanger, that whole concept didn't quite work. Also, other than Aphenglow and Khyber, the character development was minimal. The Ohmsfords were present because they had to be, and they seemed like a shadow of former, stronger Ohmsford characters like Wil or Par. The Leah family is also present, but, like most Leahs, the one in "Wards" doesn't get much attention, even though as the first female Leah, there is huge potential for her. The few chapters told from the Federation's point of view read like a rehash of Sen Dunsidian from previous books. By the end, I felt cheated by these chapters because ***SPOILER*** the person whose point of view we see dies anyway.***END SPOILER***

Quite simply, very little in this book felt new and original.

It's not surprising that after writing so many books in the same world, with the same cast of characters (Elessedils, Ohmsfords, Druids) that there would be a decent amount of overlap. But I do feel that Brooks could at least try to stretch his creativity a little more. He has in the past proven that he can create original stories and characters--the Ellcrys, Wil Ohmsford, Garet Jax, Quickening, the Ilse Witch and the Knights of the Word were all great examples of this. If he had applied the same creativity here to flesh out the characters and add in some truly original ones, I think he could have had a pretty solid story.

My last criticism is that the story, while of average length, didn't really read like a full novel. It seemed like 1/2 a book. I get that it's the first of a 3-book series. But I'd rather have a 2-book series, or even one book that takes longer to come out, than a book that seems like it's incomplete.

As a NYT bestselling author, I am well aware that Terry Brooks does NOT need the advice of a random fan on Amazon. However, I'll say it anyway: Terry, please take more time with your stories. Please don't be formulaic. If you're going to write something that takes place in the Four Lands, make it truly original. Make it something that leaves us unable to predict what will happen next, that leaves us desperate for more, that makes us think after we've closed the book. You used to be SO great at that!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Deja Vu Aug. 23 2012
By Patrick L. Randolph - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As others have mentioned, this is a quick read and is shorter than some of the original novels set in the Four Lands. It seemed rushed and the action was painted out in broad strokes. For example, danger is emphasized by having a nameless character die but we are told this instead of shown it. My biggest problem was that many story lines are similar to earlier works. It's hard to discuss this issue without spoiling the book; however, I already knew many of the "shocking" turn of events that were to come. Here, Brooks is spelling everything out way before the action takes place. For example, whenever the young party members feel uneasy about something it's a clear indication that something bad is about to happen. Nevertheless, the characters do not change their mind or even voice their discomfort. If you've read his other series then you will find yourself experiencing deja vu as the characters go on quests and experience adventures that have come before. Expect to hear about the wishsong, elfstones, Ellcrys, Forbidding, druids, Paranor, Federation, and bad Elven leaders.

One final word: I've been having some difficulty finding good books that engage in storytelling. That's why I am leaving this review. My hope is that other people will start leaving more honest reviews so the reader knows what he/she is buying. For example, I was disappointed with David A. Wells' series even though it has more reviews than this book. However, I then read Stephen King's Wind Through a Keyhole and I remembered how great good storytelling can be.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss This Book! July 17 2012
By Shawn Kovacich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is the new trilogy in the Shannara stories. It takes place about a century after the last book. The hunt for the elfstones is still in place. We start when an elf druid, Aphenglow Elessedil, stumbles upon a lost diary that contains the story about how the elfstones, except the blue and black one, were lost. Aphen sets up a quest to hunt the elfstones down.

Although the Druid Order seems to be past it's prime, there are still members that are trying to keep things working. The Federation is intent on removing magic from the lands. Almost instantly, when the diary was discovered, they step up and start causing problems for Aphen and the Druid Order. Then creatures from the Forbidden are seen along the way, creatures that should be locked in the Forbidden. Is the magic loosing power? Is something else going on?

I have seen Terry Brooks' books and have a couple that I have been meaning to read, but I'm sad to admit that I have yet to do so. This was my first adventure and I'm definitely going to be getting the rest of this series and starting from the beginning. I got sucked into the story and was left irritated that I had to wait for the next book to see what happened next.

For those that have not read any of Terry Brooks' books, this is a good one to start with. Don't miss this book.

Shawn Kovacich
Author and Creator of numerous books and DVD's.
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