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Why give this trash three stars if I have trouble reading it? Well, break it down to components. We are introduced to Pied Sanderling in Book 2 and meet him again in Book 3. Well, his story is very interesting, I enjoyed reading it although it broke up the continuity of the plot. Brooks goofed, I wanted Pied and Troon to have a whole book to themselves. Why put them in this series, what have they to do with Pen and Grianne? Dunsidan, yes, he is a minor character, essential to Moric, but little suspense is developed, Brooks is not his usual self here, and both time and space are wasted on a good story deserving of a better treatment, and all to no purpose. Then we have two other characters deserving of better, and more, treatment, the demon Riverine should have a book of his own and hopefully he gets killed. and Weka Dart is a very intriguing figure, he may need a trilogy of his own but Brooks has backed himself into a corner, these two characters, interesting as they are are confined to the Forbidding and unless Brooks breaks his own rules for the confinement they must stay there. Can he write something as fascinating as Shannara for the Forbidding? He has, perhaps, given himself some freeway in his Genesis series with the moving of the Ellcrys Tree during the flight of the elves. Then there are the Rock Trolls. Ermadec and Alatine, brothers and rivals for the Maturen. Will we know any more of this? Do their fights signal intense competition or is it just brotherly love? Brooks\’ writing seems to have degenerated lately, is he growing old or is it lack of interest, writer\’s block? He has generated a load of interest in this series, too many questions, not enough answers, good writing in spots but too much is foreshadowed or even indicated, losing suspense and even creating boredom. Characters are mishandled, almost all other reviews note this, I hope Brooks reads them and takes note. We can only hope for more books with improved plot and suspense. His characters are good, I hope we see them again.
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Straken is the concluding volume of the High Druid of Shanarra trilogy. This series covers the normal Good Vs Bad kind of story that is always at the heart of epic fantasies. In this case, the generations of Ohmsfords who battle evil is evolving from Bek and Grianne to Pen (Bek\’s son). As we learned in the previous two books, Grianne was transported to the Forbidding in a swap with a demon so that her enemies in the Druid ranks can take over the Druid order. The Demons are looking to break down the barriers holding them prisoners and are using the opportunity provided to them by the druid Shade\’a and Prime Minister Sen Dunsidan. Pen is tapped by the King of the Silver River to save the situation and manages to enlist many allies to help him including his parents and some Elessedils, Rock Trolls, Dwarves, and Rangers. Like all of Terry Brook\’s trilogies, the various storylines branch off into various littler quests and several background storylines also contribute to the confusion, mayhem – and opportunities! In this case, we have a major background element in the ongoing battle between the Federation and the Freeborn and the development of a new weapon. The Jerle Shannara series introduced the concepts of the flying sailing ship (why do you need sails when you have the concept of Diapson Crystals?) and in this series we are introduced to a medieval laser. I do not like the direction of taking medieval sword and sorcery societies and spinkling into them 20th-century concepts, but that is one of the decisions that Terry Brooks made with these two books. Anyway, since this is the concluding volume of the series, most of the storylines converge and resolve themselves. One of my major disappointments with this book was the hurried pace of the resolutions. Brooks spends 750 pages figuring out how to get Pen into the Forbidding – but then it takes 10 pages and maybe 2 days of story time to have Pen find Grianne? Come on! All the other plot resolutions are similarly resolved in a crushing hurry – The changeling demon who manages to elude notice of any of the major characters for three volumes is transported back to the Forbidding by Pen in an instant; The development of the Laser is kept in the mind of one engineer who is conveniently killed at the end and all his models and manuscripts burned with no hint of what he did surviving; And worst of all, Grianne fate and how it was resolved in the end. In the middle volume, we read lots about how she was tortured in the Forbidding. In this volume, she does not really appear until the middle of the book when she escapes with the help of Weka Dart (who fades away at the end in another completely implausible resolution), finds Pen, wins an epic battle against three druids and Gnome Hunters, and then forsakes it all and dissolves the Druid order? Huh? Hello? What\’s this? I think that Brooks got carried away in his sub-plotting and eventually started chopping down his ideas to fit within the 330 page format he must have been given. Nonetheless, as a long-time fan of Brooks\’s Shannara world, I enjoyed this story immensely. He has not lost the knack of describing an immensely appealing world. While his fantasy is on the darker side, the resolutions are positive and leave hope for the future of the Ohmsfords and other denizens of Shanarra.
Audiobook Straken by Terry Brooks
I\’ve read every single Terry Brooks release so far except for the Star Wars one. I read Straken primarily because I\’m a fan of the Shannara series, BIG fan. Without spoiling anything, I will say that if you didn\’t read the Voyage series, you won\’t be able to fully appreciate what\’s going on in the High Druid series. You won\’t get lost or anything – you just won\’t have a full appreciation of certain characters and events, and why some things are as they are now. Straken started off very slow, attempting to pick up the pieces left over from Tanequil, the previous version in the series, due to the mandatory year-long delay between book releases. So it tries really hard to tie up loose threads to bring the story back to a sensible medium. The problem is that this approach feels like fluff, as the first few chapters of the book really don\’t feel that compelling. The \”climax\” of this entry doesn\’t feel climactic at all, as Brooks chose to go a different path than what the reader expected to see. Some might see this as smart writing, I see it as a cop-out. To say any more would spoil it, but trust me…it didn\’t make me happy when I read it. That said, the ending was top notch. I\’d say the last 5 chapters in particular were very well written, and even a slight plot twist that actually gets you emotionally involved, causing you to express feelings for one particular character. It leads one to question exactly what more could be done at this point in the Shannara series. Would I recommend this book? ONLY if you\’ve read the Voyage series and ONLY if you\’ve read both Jarka Ruus and Tanequil. If you don\’t read the Voyage series you won\’t appreciate what\’s going on, and if you don\’t read both Jarka Ruus and Tanequil you will be confused.
Audio Straken narrated by Paul Boehmer
Terry gets a lot of flak (as you can see in his other reviews), but this trilogy is actually very good. Having read all his books in succession up to the latest release over the past few months, it\’s easier to see the arc he\’s created, however in isolation I can see it can be a little frustrating. The plot-lines can be samey (as anyone familiar to his other work can attest to) but then with Terry you know what to expect and I genuinely enjoy his work.
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dad loves this book and is looking forward to any others in the Shannara books to add to his collection.