The Skaar Invasion by Terry Brooks. Book Review

Orbit, h/b, 384pp, £20
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The Skaar people were dwindling, struggling for survival, in search of a new place to make their home. The Druids, divided, weakened, gave the Skaar just what they needed – the opportunity to put the Druids out of commission. Now Paranor has been overcome, the keep banished into limbo, and Ajin d’Amphere, princess of Skaar is hostage to one of the few survivors – the Blade of Paranor.

Clizia Porze betrayed the Druids in the hope of beginning the next Druid Order, with herself as Ard Rhys. She will soon discover that the one thing she needs to bring this about is in limbo, out of her reach. Perhaps Drisker Arc’s apprentice, the young Tarsha Kaynin, blessed of the wishsong, can help her.

All that is left of Paranor is the empty space on which it stood. The Fourth Druid Order is over, and Dar Leah’s only hope is to somehow bring Drisker Arc back to the Four Lands to try and stop the Skaar invasion once again.

Much of the narrative at the start of The Skaar Invasion is centred on princess Ajin and the Skaar in the aftermath of Paranor’s magical defence and disappearance. As a heroine she is painted by others both highly favourably, and with great distrust and suspicion, but when standing on her own, no matter her motives, she has a grit and a cunning, sharp intelligence which are to be admired.

There is a lot of backstory integrated with events during the opening chapters of each character’s first appearances in this book which slows the narrative at several points and feels more stilted than in previous Shannara stories. This is the second in a four part series and it very much has that ‘middle’ vibe about it, plus of course there is a raft of Brooks’ trademarks crammed in, but just as it begins to feel too familiar events ramp up to a fantastic end which injects life back into the series ready for the next book.