Appendix N, The Elfstones Of Shannara By Terry Brooks

  Thirty years ago, when I was but a lad of fourteen years, I believed this novel was truly an amazing work of fiction.  Unlike Tolkien, where the writing seemed to plod along, and the inclusion of songs seemed totally pointless, Terry Brooks' writings were dynamic and magical, and I found it nearly impossible to set the book down until I had reached the conclusion.
  Thirty years later, and those lofty opinions have come down to the ground floor of adult reality.  The same style and qualities I found so intriguing as a teenager are what now makes this only an average fantasy story at best. 
  The actions of Wil and Amberle move along not by their fierce determination to complete their quest, but only by the repeated (and repeated, and repeated, and repeated...) fortuitous intervention of strangers and minor characters.
  The story of Ander has a little depth, and the battles between the Elven army and the demons is well told.  I had a lot of trouble identifying with or caring for the protagonists, and it's because of the juvenile world view this book is written from.  The trials and tribulations of the characters are the same things, albeit less fantastical, that teenagers and young adults face as they enter the real world of work, family, and responsibility.
  If you're of that age, then the book will probably resonate strongly with you, and be meaningful to your own journey through life.  If you are like me, a little further down the road of life, this can be a nice look back at the path behind you, but not much more.  Let your son, daughter, niece or nephew find delight in the pages, and remember that you were just like that once.


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