The Sorcerer’s Daughter. Book Review

Orbit. h/b. 352pp. £20
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The pilgrim passes unseen through Arishaig, just as he planned. Just one more visitor to the capital, and not worth a glance from anyone. If only they knew who the pilgrim really was.

Leofur has been in Paranor for a year now. With Paxon. For Paxon, really. Because his sister was here and it was where he needed to be. And for now it is where Leofur needs to be also. Paxon is the High Druid’s Blade and he has his duties. At least in his sister, Chrysallin Leah, Leofur has found a firm friend.

Chrysallin has grown up. Time is a good healer and it has done her some good since her trial with Mischa the witch. Paxon is away on a mission, as he so often is, but unfortunately it will not be long before Chrysallin faces her next trial. And let’s not forget the sorcerer, Arcannon Rai, for there is always a chance that he will show up again.

The Sorcerer’s Daughter is predominantly about Leofur, her relationship with the Leah siblings and the ever distant but looming threat of her father. She, Paxon at times, and Chrysallin bear the bulk of the point of view between them but at key moments the antagonists take their turns, granting the reader a view into their minds and deeds.

You know what you are getting with a Shannara story, and yet like with the others in the recent The Defenders of Shannara series, you are not quite getting what you expect by the end. The darker undertone has followed through from The Darkling Child and again we have a classic tale that this time puts the past and its nostalgia on the backburner and delivers a forward-moving narrative with a couple of nice surprises along the way.

Like the last book in this series this too is billed as a stand alone and there is enough new content and focus here that you don’t need to know what has gone before; so much is centred on Leofur’s current relationships and situations that you could be left thinking that little else is needed. There is pace, maybe too much at times. There is classic Shannara, of course, but perhaps not enough for existing or long standing fans, and the lack of backstory does mean there is a sacrifice when it comes to empathy and understanding with the main characters; their motives are understood but not wholly conveyed or felt with the shallower approach that this narrative offers.