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Showing 1-8 of 8 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on July 6, 2004
First of all, this installment from Terry Brooks does have a few unique features, such as a sentient city-sized computer built by a lost civilization, horrifying half-human cyborg killing machines, and somewhat intriguing themes on technology and knowledge. But otherwise, you have to wonder if Brooks keeps cranking out new volumes simply by following a manual called "How to Write a Fantasy Novel." He may have even written that manual himself, as he's deservedly a popular and famous master of the genre. But once again there is little new or unexpected here. Consider the following rules of thumb from the typical fantasy writer's manual.
Build the story around a journey or quest to find some enchanted items like magic stones. Speaking of magic, throw that word around often but don't worry about describing it in too much detail. Add some other magic items, such as swords, that give power to those who know how to use them, but peril to others without that special inner strength. Give the people and places vaguely Celtic or Gothic names like Quentin Leah or Ryer Ord Star or Castledown. Add a bunch of elves and dwarves, and maybe a druid for good measure. Have the characters converse copiously about honor and courage and loyalty, preferably right in the middle of dangerous chases or battles. Show the good guys wracked with fear and indecision, only to dramatically realize their potential heroism in inspirational ways. Make your bad guys unquestionably evil monsters of alien races. And finally, write in the trilogy format, so instead of one large but focused book, you can crank out three inconclusive medium-sized books.
Sound familiar? Fantasy writers have done all this a gazillion times. So has Terry Brooks, and he does it again here without deviating from expectations. [~doomsdayer520~]
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on December 4, 2003
Antrax is the middle novel in the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series, Brooks' third foray into the Four Lands. The company (never call it a Fellowship!) led by Walker Boh to the lost land of Parkasia has been split asunder by ancient rogue technological weapons controlled by the mysterious entity "Antrax." Meanwhile, the Ilse Witch has trailed the Jerle Shannara to Parkasia and is threatening to act as hammer to Antrax' anvil and crush Walker's companions with her powerful magic. Bek Rowe (nee Ohmsford), Rue Meridian, Ahren Elessedil, and Quentin Leah all undertake individual journeys against various struggles as the book progresses.
It sounds like a great story, right? Well, it is, but the implementation by Terry Brooks is sadly underwhelming. My review of Ilse Witch contained the same complaint I voice here: there is far too much narrative exposition and fiddling to really create a compelling story. Brooks still has a knack for creating compelling character relationships and surprise romances, but Antrax' versions all feel incredibly forced. Like Bek's crush on Rue "Little Red" Meridian, we are told in the narrator's voice rather than shown through character dialogue and action. One of the more engrossing chapters, the tale of Ahren Elessedil's bonding with Ryer Ord Star, has the potential to be extremely powerful and emotionally wrenching, and is weakened by Brooks' heavy author's hand.
I read this whole series against my better judgment. I'm a devoted fan of Brooks, but I devoured this book with a vague feeling of distaste. Cool and inventive ideas like the hideous cyborg-zombie "wronks" created by Antrax are less impactful than they could have been. Each character's internal monologue seems to doggedly pace a road that could be so much more elegantly expressed as the result of character interaction rather than straight-out narrative, and it's disappointing because, as mentioned above, the premise is good and captivating.
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on January 30, 2002
I cut my Fantasy reading teeth on Terry Brooks and JRR Tolkien. So I didn't have a lot of preconcieved notions about Brooks Books being the same as the Tolkien Books, but for a high school kid they were great,BUT to me they haven't evolved into anything greater. I expected the story lines to get more complex and the characters to be more involved. To me they have stagnated to go over the same thing again and again. New characters are the same as Shea.
A big bad guy is coming, a druid comes out of no where, The hero getstricked into going, everyone objects because of those crazy druids , they get elfstones, Sword, or wishsong and go a battling.
I have read several other authors now and they all had great hopes for this new series Antrax,but it revealed that it is more of the same again. the story is fairly interesting and it moves along ok, but all the hipe just barely covers the bland old story. I hope that the coming last book is much improved. The Scions series was at least different, I will still pick up the last book to see Bek use the wishsong on the warlock, the Elessedel prince use the stones on the warlock (then go back and take the throne), the shapeshifter will die, and some how the sowrd will be used to finish the job on the warlock. Probably by the Ilse Witch. Who will take everyone back to fight the bad guy in the end, she just doesn't know it yet. And If I am wrong I will eat my hat.
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on October 9, 2001
As a long-time fan of Terry Brooks, I have to admit being somewhat disappointed in the -Voyage of the Jerle Shannara- on the whole. The characterization is wooden and unoriginal, which is Brooks' usual strength and certainly a saving grace of a history which often repeats itself (don't Bek and Grianne remind you at least a little of Jair and Brin?).
One of the difficulties of these works is that we're given more insight into the knowledge of the Druid, a heretofore shadowy presence who conceals much, tells little, and generally leaves the reader in the more appealing position of finding things out for themselves. Incidentally, one of the highlights of _Antrax_ is that we realize that some of Walker's innermost thoughts have been hidden from us as he confronts the Ilse Witch. The prospect of finding out what they are helps make _Morgawr_ seem more tantalizing and raises the bar a bit higher than _Ilse Witch_ did.
I would rate this as three stars because of two developments: the relationship between Bek Rowe and Truls Rohk and the rather unexpected ending. (The ending can also easily count in the negative point category depending on what kind of character development Brooks was planning.)
The novel was otherwise unimpressive. The characters receive too little development in the 700 or so pages the two books in the series have provided. The action is there, but it smacks of previous books and relatively tired themes. Brooks' style is, as usual, quite smooth and well-written. It is better-paced than Ilse Witch but still too heavy on tell rather than show, perhaps reflecting waning interest on the part of the Author. Should _Morgawr_ provide a good conclusion, I'd be pleased, but I guess I would be surprised to find it too much better.
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on September 23, 2001
In his new installemnt in the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series, Terry Brooks offers up a very unusual spin on his world of the Four Lands. Science and technology, hinted at and looming in the shadows of the readers perception is presented boldly here. The book is in many ways almost a science fiction with magic. It is this element which both intigued me and bothered me at different points.
The investigation of the band of companions into the city of Castledown continues from the first book, Isle Witch, and we learn that the technological marvels of the place are more sophisticated and far reaching than we first thought. The characters are plunged into a world so completely alien to them that you feel them being transported to another world. This blend of high fantasy and science provides the intrigue and the basis for much of the riveting action sequences. The story is fast paced enough to hold your nose to the page and the characters deeply defined enough to keep you from feeling like you are reading a comic book. In that respecta nd others, Mr. Brooks has found a perfect balance.
Why then do i only give it 3 stars? A personal preference actually. I am not or have I ever been a fan of the the magic-meets-science theme. Fantasy novels are pure escape for me and having something like a computer present never sits quite right with me. If science and technology are hinted at or used in the background in some way, I usually find it easier to swallow. As I said, just a personal peev.
That said, I must admit I found the book hard to put down and while I hold some of Terry Brooks' other novels in higher regard, I do not hesitate to recommend this one to an interested fan.
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on November 18, 2002
What is this load of nonsense?
I've certainly seen better from Terry.....
Such a disappointment, I truly hope the finale will buck up immensely.
The book seems a bit too rushed at times. Whilst Book 1, Isle Witch was a tad slow, this one moved in a snail's pace.
But, before all you Terry Brooks fans start throwing rotten tomatoes at me, please let me point out: this book is not bad...... sure, it ain't bad, but it just doesn't cut it.... And to think I was waiting for this book to come out.... A bit of an anti-climax, if you ask me....
Also, a word of caution: If you hadn't read Book 1, please do so before you attempt this book. That's because you won't know what on Earth is happening to the main charcaters at all!!
Oh well, I give it the...rating of ....3 stars.
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on November 19, 2002
Perhaps I am just getting older but the Shannara series has lost a lot of its previous magic... It seems almost like each release is a technical example of good writing as opposed to a good piece of fiction. Tie that into the repeating theme: One Druid, Two Boys, Everyone discovering super magical powers/legacies that they never knew they had... The best comparison I can think of would be the old kids show "Mighty Morphing Power Rangers". Yes there are different battlegrounds and monsters, but the story always followed the same path ending up in the super-mega-good-guy that always one. If the Shannara series is to continue, perhaps a little life needs to be blown back into the base plot.
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on April 24, 2003
B has always a good writing style. he is getting more inventing, and learning to make the characters more interesting. he is learning to carry out on amore deatiled level too, like combats. but this wasn't as good as the first book. there were some uninteresting stuff here, and the plot took a too much stereotypical turn for me. but masybe it's a "second book thing". haven't read the third one. anyway, it's still a good read from a , hopefully, "growing" writer
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