The Barnes & Noble Review
From Terry Brooks -- the undisputed master of the epic quest fantasy -- comes Tanequil, the second volume of his High Druid of Shannara trilogy, a saga that puts the fate of the world in the hands of a boy charged with an impossible task.
With war destroying the Four Lands and an evil witch heading the Druid Council, Shannara's only chance of peace lies with Penderrin Ohmsford, an unassuming young man who must somehow find his aunt Grianne and restore her to her rightful place as High Druid of Shannara. With a hideously deformed assassin hot on his trail and an army of Druids scouring the Four Lands in search of him, all Pen has to do is travel hundreds of miles through a ghoul-infested wilderness, find a sentient tree (called the Tanequil), ask it for a limb, and fashion the branch into a darkwand that is capable of opening a portal to the Forbidding -- a mythical realm inhabited by demons and other monstrosities -- where his aunt is imprisoned.
Longtime fans who have followed this series since its inception (The Sword of Shannara, 1977) will be delighted by the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, which is (partially) set in a realm of the Shannara universe that has never been explored before: the hellish Forbidding.
As readers have come to expect -- and demand -- from Brooks, this adventure-powered narrative is filled with an irresistible group of fresh characters (trolls, elves, dwarves, et al.) who breathe new life into the much-chronicled history of this magical realm. Paul Goat Allen
Make a wish on an Elfstone and anything can happen, including a fresh second installment (after 2003's Jarka Russ) in Brooks's bestselling High Druid fantasy trilogy, part of the long-running Shannara series whose magic has been showing signs of wear. As the Free-born Federation war continues in the Four Lands, life is packed with peril for the Ohmsford family. While High Druid Grianne Ohmsford languishes in the Forbidding, a demon tracks her gifted nephew, Pen, with orders to kill him from the Druid responsible for her banishment, the evil Shadea a'Ru. Young Pen and his followers perky Elven Elfstone carrier Khyber, grumpy dwarf Tagwen, blind Rover girl Cinnaminson and helpful Rock Trolls seek the tanequil, a mysterious tree from which a "darkwand" must be formed that will aid Pen in rescuing his aunt from the Forbidding. Pen's parents, Bek and Rue, are also ensnared by Shadea, an uneasy ally of Sen Dunsidan, the Federation's prime minister. New readers may feel a little disoriented by unfamiliar references, but Brooks's efficient pacing, skillful characterizations and suspenseful plotting all bode well for the trilogy's conclusion. Anne Sibbald at Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug. 31) Forecast: Brooks has more than 21 million books in print. Expect another bestseller. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Brooks serves up another offering set in the Shannara universe. He follows the standard recipe that established him as a giant in the genre. His recipe has become comforting, just like diner food; one knows that the meal will be decent but predictable. This sequel to Jarka Ruus (Del Rey, 2003/VOYA February 2004) in the High Druid of Shannara trilogy is filled with subplots, but the main plot focuses again on Pen Ohmsford and his quest companions. They continue their mission to rescue Pen's aunt, Grianne, who is trapped in the dangerous world known as The Forbidding. Their quest is fraught with peril-but what fantasy quest is not-that includes being stalked by a demon intent on the death of Pen and his allies. The title refers to an ancient tree that Pen needs to find: A branch from the tree will allow Pen to cross over to The Forbidding. Brooks needs to branch out and escape his own Shannara universe. His books, although solid and filled with strong characters, are not covering any new territory. Fans will enjoy this new offering; however, new readers will be confused if they have not read Jarka Ruus. Although recommended for libraries where Brooks's books and fantasy in general are popular, these titles emulate Tolkien, and a thesis could be written on the similarities between the two authors. If readers are tired of Brooks's bestsellers, refer them to Tolkien's works. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S A/YA (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult-marketed book recommended for Young Adults). 2004, Del Rey, 368p., Ages 12 to Adult.
Powerful and malevolent magic has trapped Grianne Ohmsford, High Druid of Shannara, in the realm of the Forbidding, and it falls to her nephew Pen Ohmsford to come to her rescue. With his companions the dwarf Tagwen, Khyber the elf, and Kermadec the troll, Pen looks for the intelligent tree known as the Tanequil, which may help him find Grianne-and escape the assassin on his trail. Brooks's ever-popular "Shannara" series continues with another strong entry (after Jarka Ruus). Libraries should purchase multiple copies if there is demand. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
“A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven’t read Terry Brooks, you haven’t read fantasy.”
–Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon
“[The] Shannara books make up the most important contribution to fantasy literature since The Lord of the Rings.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“Nonstop action [and] well-honed characterizations . . . will certainly satisfy his devoted following.”