Saturday, March 17, 2007

Armegeddon's Children - reviewed

Back in January, I noted that I had received several books over Christmas and I was looking forward to reading them. The first book on the list was Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks.

In truth, I didn't receive this book for Christmas, but I bought it last September. When I bought it, it was billed as a new series for those who had never read Terry Brooks. Ahh, just the thing, I thought. I've read Brooks' Shannara series and enjoyed them. I never got around to reading his "Word and Void" series though. But here was something new. I sat down to read.

About a quarter of the way into the prologue, the text mentions a "Knight of the Word". My heart drops. A Knight of the Word was the second book in the "Word and Void" series. I absolutely hate reading books out of order as it spoils so much of the previous story. Therefore I endeavored to read the other three books before continuing to this one.

So, a week after Abigail was born last September, I read the first book, Running with the Demon. I read it mainly during my commute to and from work, as well as over lunch breaks. Because I also ready several magazines and papers, it took me the better part of the month to read it. I then continued on to A Knight of the Word in October, finishing up in November. I didn't start on the final book, Angel Fire East, until December. By then, I was taking care of Abigail full time and my reading time evaporated. I was able to plow through the whole thing over our Christmas vacation and finished up in early January.

Finally, I was able to start on Armegeddon's Children. Set approximately 100 years after the end of Angel Fire East, the plot is definitely different then the previous three and it is not as interconnected as the previous books were. That's where they get the "new series for new people" line from. However, if I had not read the previous series, I would not have had nearly the appreciation for the world of Armegeddon's Children. Thus, reading the Word and the Void series first is optional, but actually highly recommended.

Anyway, the book was a very pleasant read-the beginning of a series of books linking the Word and the Void series to the later Shannara series. Those who have read both series will appreciate the references to both worlds. Those who haven't may quite well get lost.

There are four storylines in Armageddon's Children. The main story line seems to revolve around a group of children in Seattle. This storyline provides the most detailed view of the destruction which has spread throughout the landscape. Two other storylines deal with two Knights of the Word and their struggles to save humanity. A knowledge of the "Word and the Void" series is particularly helpful in figuring on the what and why things are happening in these storylines.

The final story line is about the Elves. In the Shannara series, there were many hints that the Four Lands were actually Earth in the far distant future. The presence of Elves (in present day Oregon no less) confirms these hints and begins the bridge that will connect the "Word and Void" series with the Shannara series.

Actually, the plot lines of Shannara had gotten old, quite frankly. In fact, I was rather disappointed with the "High Druid of Shannara" series. The "Word and Void" series was therefore a refreshing change from the stale Shannara plotlines. Armegeddon's Children continues more on the path of the "Word and Void" series, and as such, was interesting to read.
However, this is what troubles me about the introduction of the Elves. There have previously been two books centered around the Elves, magical elfstones, and their sacred tree, the Ellcrys. (The Elfstones of Shannara and the Elf Queen of Shannara). When the "quest" is finally introduced for the Elves, I saw that it was remarkable similar to the two Shannara books. I just hope that new ideas are introduced that don't rewrite the old material.

Anyway, I felt that this was a much better book then his later Shannara works, and was quite an interesting read. If you're a Terry Brooks fan, I'd say go for it. If you're new to the Terry Brooks world, I'd suggest that you start with the "Word and Void" series before reading Armageddon's Children. All in all, I'm looking forward to the next installment!

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