Top positive review
Enjoyable and annoying at the same time.
on September 4, 2003
This is the second book in The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy (after Ilse Witch and before Morgawr).
After his visits on Flay Creech, Shatterstone and Mephitic, the Druid Walker realizes that the challenges he and his friends faced on these islands were nothing but a test, the castaway's map nothing but a lure. Whatever lives in the ruined catacombs of Castledown, the ancient, giant city from the Old World, covets their magic.
At the beginning of Antrax, picking up where Ilse Witch left off, the protagonists are scattered in little groups, exploring Castledown and its surrounding jungle in search of the legendary books of magic. It won't be long until they come across hoards of metallic monsters and fire threads, trying to block their way at all costs. And soon they'll learn that the whole city is controlled by Antrax, an intelligent computer from before the Great Wars, programmed to protect this great knowledge forever.
Meanwhile, on the Jerle Shannara, the members of her crew have been made prisoners after being attacked by the Ilse Witch's airship, Black Moclips. They are locked up in her hold and Little Red, who is dangling from a rope attached to the ship's rigging and all but exhausted, might be their sole hope of survival, as the Jerle Shannara is slowly drifting in the wind, heading towards the huge, stomping and crushing ice pillars of the Squirm.
At the same time, Bek Rowe is facing Grianne, the Ilse Witch, trying to make her see the truth about who she is, nothing but a pawn in the Morgawr's game.
Even though this book is quite suspenseful and contains some interesting character development, what I didn't expect is that in this volume, Terry Brooks blends a great deal of Science Fiction into his Sword & Sorcery. Antrax is crammed with hackneyed themes reminiscent of Brazil or The Matrix, and with all kinds of stereotypical robots that reminded me, in turns, of R2D2 or Robocop. The fate of some of the heroes is so horrible it might even have made good Thriller matter. As a whole I enjoyed this book but also found it all a tad annoying.