Friday, December 27, 2013

The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks

The High Druid's Blade


Title: The High Druid's Blade (The Defenders of Shannara #1)
Author: Terry Brooks
Series: The Defenders of Shannara (Shannara #32)
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Del Ray Spectra
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Source: Netgalley

Goodreads Summary: Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life—until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.

When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him—and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.

But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.

Praise for Terry Brooks: The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks’s cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy.”—Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.”—Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear

“I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’s books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.”—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind

“Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading.”—Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy

“The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks.”—Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series

My Thoughts
         Plot: Paxon Leah lives a relatively boring life taking care of his late father's business. He is descended from the Omsfords and Leahs of legend, and yet he feels there is nothing special about his life, that all changes when his sister, Chrys, is kidnapped by Arcannen the sorcerer. Paxon knows he will need a weapon to go against the sorcerer, but all he can find is the ancient sword that hangs over the fireplace. With the help of Jayet, his sister's friend he sets out to regain his sister.
                  However, it isn't his sister that the sorcerer wants, it's the sword, The Sword of Shannara. But if Arcannen thinks that getting the sword will be easy, he's in for a big surprise. There's more to Paxon than meets the eye, and it's a fatal mistake to underestimate the power of the sword.

                This book is about Paxon's journey to understand the power of the sword, and to become a protector of the Druids. It's a story of intense loyalty and love. It's a story about understanding who people really are, and realizing just how much everyone is capable of. Gifts can be hidden deep inside, and sometimes it takes quite a lot to bring them out.

********WARNING SPOILERS********

         FEELINGS!!!!!!!!!!: As a reader of the first few Shannara books, I have a lot of feelings about certain things including but not limited to: the Sword of Shannara, the Wishsong, the Elfstones, the Stiehl, Walker Boh, Minion Leah, really, I could keep going, it was like a montage of all my favorite elements!!!!! AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!
                     Okay, moving on. I most of the characters in this book. They were very likeable and most of them experienced growth, in other words they weren't the same character at the end of the book as they were at the beginning.
                    Paxon Leah: Paxon is annoyed by his younger sister, sure sometimes he wishes she had turned out differently, or maybe even that he didn't have to deal with her, but she is his sister, and he would protect her with his life. I loved the loyalty and trust that Paxon and Chrys have for each other. Paxon will do anything for his sister, even if it means facing down Arcannen a second time. It is because of his love for her that Chrys has total faith that no matter who kidnaps her, or how well they hide her, her brother will come, and he will get her back. One of my favorite things about Paxon was that no matter how dark things seemed he always had hope and pity. Even when he was attacked by the girl who happened to be a wolf, he kept his pity with him. That is what makes the Leahs different from the druids: the druids have distanced themselves too much from the human world and the emotions that it holds, which is why they often need common people to accomplish their tasks for them. Not because the "regular people" are stronger or more powerful then them, but because they're not. Because they haven't distanced themselves from the world and can use the emotions that the druids so often condemn to save themselves and others. Yes, Paxon's loyalty may not be the best quality in the view of the druids because he will always put his family above the order. But it is because he puts his family first that he is such a great man.Yes, Paxon is impulsive, but it is his quick thinking and ability to throw himself in front of the enemy that saves Chrys and her rescuers from the creature that the witch creates. It is because he is only human that he is such a fantastic protagonist and hero.
                   Chrys Leah: Chrys has practically been raised by her brother, and she has complete faith in him. Even when she has been captured by the witch, has no idea where she is, and thinks she will die, she never for a moment doubts that Paxon will find her. Yes, she wonders what is taking him so long, but she never once thinks he won't find her. I loved the bond that Brooks created between the siblings. Another thing I admired about Chrys was how strong she was. Arcannen and the witch thought that Chrys would be easy to break but they had underestimated the power of the stock of Leah and the gift of the wishsong. I think the character of Chrys teaches the reader that you should never underestimate those around you.
                  Grehling: Grehling was awesome. I loved how much he fooled Arcannen and even the witch. No one would ever imagine just how powerful Grehling is. Sure, he doesn't have magic, or even a weapon, but he still manages to rescue Chrys and escape the witch and her creature. Grehling is brave and clever. Grehling illustrates, just like Paxon does, that common folk should never be underestimated when dealing with things seemingly out of their control.
                  Arcannen: Arcannen is the mastermind bad guy of the story, but he doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes. Arcannen's fatal flaw is that he only sees the outside of people and judges them on that. Upon seeing Paxon he thought him only a stupid farm boy who would willingly give an old sword for his sister. He never imagined that Paxon would stand up to him and survive, or that he would manage to escape him time after time. He had forgotten that Paxon was a Leah, and that was a serious mistake. When kidnapping Chrys the second time he thought she would be easy to break and wield as a tool, but he underestimated the magic that flowed through her veins. Arcannen sees Grehling as the boy at the airfield, not as someone who could outwit him repeatedly. And then there's Loef. She's his daughter, and yet she has made her own decisions in life and decides to side against him. Arcannen's downfall will come about because he underestimates his enemy.

So, yeah I really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next two in the trilogy!


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