Friday, March 28, 2008

Dark Wraith of Shannara

By Terry Brooks, Adapted by Robert Place Napton and Illustrated by Edwin David
Released by Del Rey

Slugline: Not fantasy byproduct, very specific generic fantasy product.

The Shannara series is a classic fantasy series but I only read the first few volumes, so the Dark Wraith of Shannara starts from a point in the series that I am not familiar with. That being said, the book does a good job catching you up so that you can follow it easily. Jair has destroyed the Ildatch, a mystical living scroll, but in the process tapped something dark within himself and his wishsong, the fighting spirit of a slain comrade. His sister Brin who once had similar abilities but gave them up and is concerned that his wishsong power may yet consume him, but circumstances conspire to force Jair to rely on his wishsong in order to rescue comrades that had helped him in a previous quest.

The fact that you can follow the story, reflects on the reason that I originally stopped reading the series, that everything is spelled out in detail. I have not this many editorial boxes explaining the action to use in years, in either US comics or manga. Perhaps that is merely of its origin as a novel series, but I think it is more from the Terry Brook's style. It just feels very workmanlike, A is followed B followed by C, then there is handy set of instructions, then some audio-visual aids showing from a different perspective and so on. But the Shannara series does have its fans and putting the title together with other fantasy titles may introduce them to other titles.


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