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The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara


The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara

In the saga of Terry Brooks’ Shannara, there have been centuries of daring quests, cataclysmic wars, dastardly demons and the few heroes who bravely stand above the fray. In THE SORCERER’S DAUGHTER, the most recent title in the Defenders of Shannara series, the nations and their five races survive and live together in a tentative peace. What divides the nations at this point in Shannara’s history isn’t the division of trolls against elves or men or gnomes, but of the religions and philosophies. Do citizens believe in the sciences and alchemy of the Federation? Or perhaps in the magic of the Druid Order? With talks between these two powers approaching and peace almost a certainty to result from them, it would take a true catastrophe to muck the whole thing up.

"Brooks has been around a long time in the fantasy genre, and with THE SORCERER’S DAUGHTER, he has proven that he should stick around for a good while longer."

THE SORCERER’S DAUGHTER, the third part of the series, follows the quest and trials of Leofur Rai, the estranged daughter of Arcannen Rai, the sorcerer who has vowed vengeance upon the Four Lands of Shannara and Leofur’s life partner, Paxon Leah. Paxon, also known as the High Druid’s Blade and single protector of the Druid Order, has been dispatched with a Druid ambassador and attache to seek a lasting peace with the nation of men known as the Federation. After years of distrust due to treachery carried out by the Sorcerer Arcannen Rai, the Federation thankfully has extended an invitation of good faith. However, shortly after the start of the peace talks, an unstoppable beast attacks the summit, slaying the Federation council and casting suspicions on the surviving Druids.

Meanwhile, Leofur seeks out Paxon’s kidnapped sister, Chrysallin, who is the protector of the strongest known magic in all of Shannara: the Wishsong. Chrysallin’s voice has immeasurable power, but she was kidnapped from the usually watchful protection of Leofur. With her tenacity, a couple of guns and a seemingly heartless shapeshifter named Imric Cort, Leofur must track down the kidnappers before her father can exact his final revenge on the Leah family.

Terry Brooks is a fantasy-writing machine. With each new book, he grows both as a writer and as a person. His ability to touch on addiction without over-romanticizing its dangers in a friendship or relationship works spectacularly well. Imric and Leofur’s friendship is more richly developed through their shared burden surrounding Imric’s powers. As a shapeshifter, Imric can become lost in the form he assumes, partly due to a loss of his initial personality and his unbridled joy in having given over to his primal instincts through changing shapes. With this character, Brooks is able to touch on a very difficult facet of addiction to discuss: distrust toward the recovering addict. Imric might be looking to improve himself, but how can you be sure when so much is at stake? After all, he could change shape at any time and just leave Leofur holding the reins of this dangerous rescue alone.

Like many of my favorite fantasy titles, I could go on for hours circling the themes attached to this novel. Addiction, lovers growing apart, friendships being tested, and even some moments of abuse that stuck with me long after it was passed --- and those are all before I really start digging. Brooks has been around a long time in the fantasy genre, and with THE SORCERER’S DAUGHTER, he has proven that he should stick around for a good while longer.

Reviewed by Matthew Burbridge on June 3, 2016

The Sorcerer's Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara
by Terry Brooks

  • Publication Date: March 28, 2017
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-10: 0345540840
  • ISBN-13: 9780345540843