Add your review
Avg. Rating: 4
A solid third installment in the Shannara series
The final part of the original Shannara series, Wishsong continues the story of the Ohmsfords and their relationship with Allanon. Once again evil magic threatens the Four Lands and Allanon appears to do battle with it. This time he seeks the services of Brin Ohmsford, the daughter of Wil and Eretria. Wil's use of the Elfstones during his defense of Amberle in the Elfstones of Shannara have left their mark in him: by passing on the elven magic to his children. Now the magic is not contained within an object, but inside Wil's children: older sister Brin and younger brother Jair. It takes the form of "the Wishsong" (so termed by Brin), a magical ability that can make anything Brin sings for happen. Jair has this ability too, but to a lesser extent: for him, the power is one of illusion only. Allanon needs Brin's help to defeat the Illdatch, a book of ineffable damnation and long the source of evil magic in the Four Lands. Allanon intends to find this book and destroy it once and for all, but he needs Brin's strange magic Wishsong to succeed.
This effort by Brooks comes on the heels of his best book in the Shannara series, and seems a bit flat in the very beginning, with old, familiar scenes: a dark and stormy night, evil shadows slipping around, the appearance of Allanon, evil in the land-oh, my! But the story line quickly picks up as Brin and Allanon set out on their epic journey in the company of Rone Leah, a descendent of the Menion Leah from the first book. Left behind, Jair quickly runs afoul of the forces conspiring against his sister and realizes that the danger is more than either of them realize. And off he goes to try and find his sister and Allanon to warn them of their danger. Before long he is caught up in his own quest to save his sister from the evil allure of the dark magic and to cleanse the land of the evil taint.
Wishsong delivers the old Brooks standards of a racing storyline, poignant self-discoveries by the protagonists, and of course, a great supporting cast. Slanter, the gnome who seems to be an outcast from all the races of the lands, finds hope through Jair's sacrifices. We meet Cogline, an irrascible old coot living in the middle of nowhere with strange powers and ancient knowledge that belie his wild mannerisms and appearance. But the best of all these characters is Garet Jax, the Weapons Master. A mysterious figure misunderstood by almost all the other characters, Jax represents the ultimate single warrior. He has never lost a fight no matter what the odds. He appears to flat through most combats in the book, dealing out indiscriminate death almost effortlessly. But in true Brooks fashion, the Weapons Master is not the hard unfeeling character he seems: he feels empty, unchallanged, and agrees to help Jair reach his destination only becuase he is promised in a vision a chance to win the ultimate combat.
At times this book seems to drag a bit, although nowhere near as much as the Sword of Shannara. Despite an obvious decline from his second book, the Elfstones of Shannara, Brooks proves that he can still deliver a solid storyline with interesting characters even when he's not exactly on his A-game. This book is a great read, and as one would expect, sets the table for future Shannara series while delivering a definite end to the first trilogy. Terry Brooks has shown that he is one of the premier fantasy writers of the last 20 years, and with this book finishes his first trilogy with a resounding crescendo. I highly recommend all of these books, the frequent clunky parts of Book 1 are well worth the pain, thanks to Books 2 and 3.
The Third Novel, Setting Up Everything Afterwards
Borrowing from a failed second Shannara novel, never published, Brooks wrote Wishsong. Allanon is back and this time calls upon Brin Ohmsford to help him. The Illdatch, ancient book of dark magic is sending forth the evil Mord Wraiths to take over and destroy the Four Lands. The Eastland is being poisoned by it's evil power. Only Brin, who has the power of the wishsong (a consequence of her father, Wil using the elfstones). Only the wishsong can get them into the Illdatch's lair and it is the only way to destroy it. On the journey to the Eastland also is Rone Leah, Brin's friend. They set off leaving Brin's brother Jair behind. But after an attack he is also on the run. And after a warning from the King of the Silver River, he also starts a journey east hell bent on saving his sister from a fate worse than death. Along the way with both journey's we meet new charcters like Garett Jax. We also meet Cogline (a failed Druid) who is a center piece in the next tales and his grand daughter Kimber Boh. And the moor cats are introduced too. And the gnomes have a bigger part too.
Really this book is about family and the power a bond between sibling can achieve. Brin and Jair are really the centerpiece and their love is the most powerful magic of all. For a interesting epilogue to Wishsong read "Indomitable" which is in the Legends II collection.
Revised reviews needed
Now I was just reading some of the reviews for this book, and there was one that caught my attention. There was one kid who reviewed the novel who sounded like he really knew what he wanted in a fantasy novel. I appreciated this because it showed that people have standards that need to be met, but it was throughly unneccesary for him to continually slag the writings of Terry with utter disregard for the authors devoute fans. There are some things that this reviwer must first learn before they critique. One there are very basic guidelines for an author to follow, among them is a sort of repitition. Not a carbon copy of their previous works but a general guideline for them to follow. Also if you read Terry's other works they are quite different than the first three books of his Shannara series. I have read every book that Terry Brooks has ever written. The Wishsong standing among my all time favorites. There is a sense of desperation in Allanon as he goes headlong into another quest for the salvation fo the Four Lands without gratitude. Brin and Jair set some of the building blocks for many of Terry's novels to follow, Cogline is intruduced as a Woodsman with countless years behind him, and there is also the return of familiar characters, and allusions to past characters. This book easily captivates the attention of the reader and will leave you pondering and re-reading the book over and over. I see it as a MUST for any avid reader. A definite 5/5 from me. Check it out and see for yourself why so many other than myself love this book.
Review this book