Publication Date: August 21st, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Source: ARC provided by Edelweiss
When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled—and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart. Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins. Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. For whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come. But Aphenglow and her allies—Druids, Elves, and humans alike—remember the monstrous history of the Demon War, and they know that the Four Lands will never survive another reign of darkness. But whether they themselves can survive the attempt to stem that tide is another question entirely.
Wards of Faerie is Terry Brooks' 22nd book, chronologically and in publication order, of his esteemed Shannara trilogy. I was lucky enough to score an ARC galley from Edelweiss and so I have completed the first instalment of the latest Shannara series.
The other elfstones. Where, oh, where could those elfstones be? What do they do? Why can't the blue seeking stones find them? The elfstones have been lost for a millenia, maybe more, and almost everyone has given up hope of finding them until Aphenglow comes across the diary of a young girl and suddenly everyone is in the running trying to find the fabled elfstones.
What I Liked: There have been a few leading ladies in the Shannara books but I can always relate to them immediately. They've been strong, independent and adventurous and Aphenglow is living up to her ancestors. It's been nice, in these later series, to get more of the Druid perspective, especially in the post Walker Boh period, they're a lot less pulled together than they seem and Aphenglow has that appealing calm nature with an obvious innocence and naivety that shows she doesn't have everything organised perfectly. It's also nice to see that the Druids aren't always holding back information because they can, it appears that they don't have much more to go on than the people they recruit.
It was good to see the characterisation of the Druids, Aphenglow's relationship with her sister, her mother, her Royal Grandfather, and with Bombax. She was human (elf) and that was a relief.
The romance wasn't brilliant,almost non-existent in the case of the twins (who I will mention later), and doomed from the beginning considering all the "don't you see it?"'s thrown around. As always, I enjoy mentions of characters from other stories. It's always nice to see Allanon at the Hadeshorn and even better to see Kimbra awaken from the Druid sleep!
Now on to the Omsfords! As the Druids always say, there must be an Omsford aboard if a mission is to succeed! This time we have Omsford twins Reddin (named after another old favourite) and Railing who have a passion for building and manning airships. They're very fun and even better they're old family friend from Leah is a woman! It's about time too.
What I Didn't Like: I'm going to be blunt here. The story ended almost as soon as it started. It's becoming a real problem in the book world where everything has to be split into three parts. Most of the time, I feel like it is unnecessary and it's only being done to speed up publishing dates. Personally, I'd rather wait a few years for a whole book than pick it up in dribs and drabs.
Fortunately, Brooks is WAYYYYYY ahead and is releasing three books this year and we will receive Bloodfire Quest in March 2013 and Witch Wraith in August 2013. I'm already excited.