March 5, 2011

Straken by Terry Brooks

Title:  Straken
Author:  Terry Brooks
Format:  PB
Pages:  409
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Del Rey, 2007
ISBN-13:  978-0345499400
Series:  Shannara, Book 17

Favorite Quote:  She had found freedom.

Synopsis (Amazon):  For reasons known only to himself, the King of the Silver River has charged young Penderrin Ohmsford, barely more than a boy, with the daunting task of rescuing his aunt, Grianne, Ard Rhys of the Druid order, from her forced exile in the terrifying dimension of all things damned: the Forbidding. With the noble dwarf Tagwen and the prodigal elven princess Khyber Elessedil by his side–and with the outcome of the bloody war between the Federation and the Free-born at stake–Pen has accepted his mission without question. But not without risk . . . or sacrifice.

Because Shadea a’Ru, the ruthless Druid responsible for imprisoning the true Ard Rhys and usurping leadership at Paranor, has sent her agents and assassins in relentless pursuit of Pen and his comrades. And in securing the talisman he needs to breach the Forbidding, Pen has paid a devastating price. Now if the Free-born forces–already decimated by the Federation’s death-dealing new weapon–should fall, Shadea’s domination of the Four Lands will be assured. Nothing short of Pen’s success can turn the tide.

But Pen’s challenge grows greater when he learns that his parents, Bek Ohmsford and Rue Meridian, have fallen into Shadea’s hands. He must try to help them–but once within the walls of Druid’s Keep, where Shadea’s minions and dark magic lurk at every turn, Pen’s survival is far from assured. Yet it will all pale in comparison to the horrors that wait inside the Forbidding–horrors poised to break free upon the Four Lands when the time is right. . . .

Review:  This was a very satisfying book.  In this, the final story in the 'High Druid' trilogy, the quest is complete and the danger averted.  There was no really great 'bad guy', although there were certainly plenty of evil beings, but the story was not weakened by this fact.  As the story closes, Grianne, the Ard Rhys and Ilse Witch, has found peace in an unexpected way.  All is looking hopeful for the Four Lands.  I only wish I knew what happened to the demon Weka Dart after Grianne was saved from the Forbidding.  I became quite attached to him, but am left with no information on whether he will ever find his place in his world.

I'm sad because I will not be reading about the Four Lands again for a while.  The next trilogy returns to the past, to closer to 'our time'.  After that, there are no more books to read until the author finishes the next duology, which also seems to be set in the past.  I wonder, will he return to the Four Lands some day, to give his readers a true finale?  Or was the quietly hopeful ending in this book meant to satisfy that?

Upon checking his website, I see he will start a trilogy which is set in the time after these.  Promised completion is sometime in 2014.  I'll be keeping an eye out for them.

Rating:  4 / 5

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