Now Reading: Eyes of the Calculor by Sean McMullen.
Just Finished: Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks.
Terry Brooks is well known for his fantasy series, Shannara. Some years ago, I received a three-in-one Shannara compilation. I eventually sat down to read it to see what all the fuss was over. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it and abandoned it, I would guess, about a third of the way through the first book. I remember some people trying to cross a bridge or something. It’s still on my shelf, just in case I ever find myself wondering whatever happened next.
However, I never thought to wonder whatever happened before that. It seems that there is a prequel to Shannara called Genesis of Shannara, and there is a prequel to that called The Word and The Void, and it was this last that came highly recommended to me. And by highly recommended, I mean something along the lines of, “Hey, I know an author you might like, and here’s his book, which I just happen to have brought with me.”
With a recommendation like that, how could I refuse? Without once again coming off as astonishingly rude, of course.
So I began Running with the Demon, fully expecting to quickly find myself wishing for a magic postcard to send off for the condensed edition. But in spite of (or perhaps because of) my low expectations, I was pleasanly surprised. The heroine, Nest, is a girl who can see creatures called feeders that exist to feed off negative emotions. As guardian of the park (it’s more of a forest, but ‘guardian of the forest’ sounds even cheesier) it is Nest’s duty to keep the feeders in check. She is assisted by Pick, a sylvan creature, Wraith, a mysterious wolf, and Gran, her ornery grandmother. The feeders’ attacks have suddenly become more brazen, and this is clearly due to the arrival of the titular demon in Nest’s home town. On the trail of the demon is John Ross, Knight of the Word, a man who is determined to prevent the dark future he visits in his dreams.
I do like that the meshing of the fantastic into the everyday world was kept low-key rather than taking the rather silly track of having institutionalized wizardry and the like. The plot was rather tangled in places, but resolved itself into a well knotted net by the end.