Orbit. h/b Â£18.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
Aphenglow Elessedil may be an Elf but she is also a Druid and her duties have taken her away from home. Not that many of her kin will be missing her; they never agreed to her becoming a Druid in the first place. She is a pariah and much as it hurts, being a Druid and taking up a search for ancient magic is what she wanted. Now she has discovered an ancient diary that tells of a forbidden love and the loss of the great Elfstones. This may hold the secret she has been searching for.
Khyber Elessedil is Ard Rhys of the Druids. She has been in the Druid Sleep for years waiting until Paranor needs her once again. With Aphenglowâ€™s finding of the diary and the first real possibility the Druids have of actually finding the lost Elfstones, her time to awaken comes. Her quest is clear but before she can set off she must seek advice from the shades of Druids gone before her.
Wards of Faerie is the first in a new series from Terry Brooks set in the familiar world of Shannara. It traces the footsteps of Aphenglow and Khyber as they both set off to see if they can at last find the missing Elfstones and restore full magic to a world in a time where magic, science and political manoeuvring are all vying for superiority.
One of the great strengths of this story was its antagonist, a character so deliciously lacking in scruples that his actions compel the reader to speculate about what he will do next and wait in anticipation for him to act. In fact all of the characters in this story were individually appealing, easy to empathise with and stronger than many Brooks has written for years, which will cement this as perhaps his greatest release of the last decade.
This is traditional fantasy with just enough of a dark touch to give it a slightly more modern feel whilst still preserving those old conventions that we love so much. In Wards of Faerie we of course have all the classic Brooks hallmarks, though with a renewed pace that will have readers racing their way through the book and leave them gasping for the next in the series at the end. Good news though: the next instalment is set for release in Spring 2013 so there is not too long to wait.