Series: The Defenders of Shannara #2
Published by Del Rey on June 9, 2015
Source: Amazon Vine
After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source—and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.
But danger is already afoot in the village of Portlow. Gentle traveling minstrel Reyn Frosch possesses the uncanny gift, and curse, of the wishsong. And now his coveted abilities have captured the malevolent interest of none other than Arcannen—whose quest for power is exceeded only by his thirst for vengeance. The lone survivor of a brutal assault on a notorious pirate city, the sorcerer is determined to retaliate against the Federation’s elite military guard—and use the devastating power of the wishsong as his ultimate weapon.
Even though I’m a huge fantasy fan, I’ve never read any Shannara books. I have read most of Brooks’ Magic Kingdom of Landover series and liked them, but I never knew where to start with Shannara because there are so many. THE DARKLING CHILD, the second in the Defenders of Shannara trilogy, is supposed to be a standalone, and a good entry point for new readers.
After reading THE DARKLING CHILD, I have no interest in reading any other books in the Shannara series. I struggled to get through this book, and wondered more than once how Brooks is so popular. Maybe his work has decreased in quality over the years, because THE DARKLING CHILD? Substandard fantasy. I really felt like the author was trying to hit a certain page count and that was it.
I don’t even know where to start, other than to say I can’t remember much of the book, and I finished it a day ago. I was tempted to put THE DARKLING CHILD down after the first few chapters, but I know fantasy can have a slow pace to start, so I gave it a chance. But I wish I didn’t, because this book was a slog to get through.
I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re new to Shannara, because other than explaining the origin of wishsong, there’s no real worldbuilding. I don’t know what the Federation is, what the druids do, etc. There are also references to the first book in this trilogy, THE HIGH DRUID’S BLADE, but those weren’t as bad as the shoddy writing, YA-style romances, predictable story, and lack of women other than as plot devices.
After my dismal experience with THE DARKLING CHILD, I won’t be returning to Shannara.
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