Fantasy Review: The High Druid’s Blade (The Defenders of Shannara #1) by Terry Brooks
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
The High Druid's Blade: Shannara's Defenders by Terry Brooks
Series: The Defenders of Shannara #1
Published by: Random House on 2014-03-11
Genres: Action & Adventure, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Magic
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life—until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.
When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him—and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.
But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.
The High Druid’s Blade is the first in a new series by Terry Brooks, The Defenders of Shannara. I was pretty excited to read this one, as it’s my first Terry Brooks novel, and I’ve heard a lot of good things. I’m happy to say that The High Druid’s Blade did not disappoint.
The story follows Paxon Leah, a young man who lives in the town of Leah, and no, that is not a typo. Once upon a time when there were still kings and queens, the Leah’s ruled Leah (go figure, right?) but now they are a family just like any other. Paxon runs an airship field and supports his mother and his younger sister, Chrysalin, who sometimes has a habit of getting herself into trouble.
Chrys is really the one who sets the story in motion, when she makes a bet that she cannot pay for and winds up being abducted by a powerful sorcerer by the name of Arcannen. So, Paxon takes up the family sword that sits above the mantle and goes to rescue his sister. However, the main plot of the story begins when Paxon goes to study magic with the Druids.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I picked up this book, other than I knew Terry Brooks was a fantasy author. There were a lot of things that I liked about his writing, the characters being one of the big parts of the story I enjoyed. Paxon was a pretty admirable character for the most part. He could be a little impulsive, which is something he needs to work on, but it leaves room for character growth throughout the series. He does really care about his sister though, and will do anything to make sure she is safe, which I really liked. He does have a tendency to let his emotions get the best of him, which go along with the impulsiveness, but again, it gives room for character development.
I was kind of on the fence about Chrys as a character. She didn’t have a lot of screen time, so to speak, and the screen time she did have it was hard to get a good read on her because she was having some really terrible things happen to her. I’ll be interested to see if she ends up playing a larger role later in the series, because I’d like to see more of her.
There were a few things about the writing style that bothered me a bit. There were some moments where a character would be trying to figure things out and there would be this inner monologue kind of rehashing what had just happened, which is fine for the character, but for the reader I was sitting there like, “I know all of this Paxon, I just read this. Like, a few pages ago.” So in that sense it was a little repetitive.
Another thing that really bugged me is that the story really lagged for me in spots. There were certain moments that were really speedy and everything was moving at a quick pace, and then there were moments that went really slow and seemed to drag on, so that was annoying.
Overall, I’m giving The High Druid’s Blade 4 out of 5 controllers. It was a really interesting story, even though there were certain things that I didn’t like stylistically, and I’m interested to see where the rest of the series goes.