Over the centuries, whenever dark forces have emerged in The Four Lands, the Leahs have always been part of the small group of heroes who fight the good fight and save the day. Legend has it that the family sword that now hangs above the fireplace was once a magical weapon but Paxon Leah has never found a way to unlock that power. That will soon change. The Leahs aren’t the only ones aware of the sword’s history — a powerful sorcerer has set his sights on the sword AND the two youngest members of the Leah family. Arcannen intends to take down the Druids and the Leahs play an important role in his plan.
Disappointed. I love the world of Shannara and I don’t mind if the quests from one book to another are overly similar to one another. Brooks has always been good at creating a strong sense of place and he’s always given me a character or two that I really care about. That said, the first in the The Defenders of Shannara spin-off didn’t work for me.
The first problem I had with the book was the lack of urgency felt when Chrys is threatened. Jayet and Paxon walk quickly, sure, but shouldn’t Paxon have been running? He’s just been told that his sister is in trouble at the local tavern over a dice game with a stranger. I could have let that slide — maybe — but Paxon’s long introspection after Arcannen escapes with Chrys as his hostage — that was a bit much. Yes, I know he just got pummeled. Yes, Arcannen is clearly powerful so Paxon needs a plan — but couldn’t he plan as he did something? His sister’s been abducted by someone who clearly means her harm — I find it hard to believe that he wouldn’t have given chase immediately, if for no other reason than not trusting that Arcannen would take her where he said he was taking her. Couldn’t he have told someone from the airfield what was going on and send a message to Jayet asking someone follow him, bringing weapons — or something?
The lack of urgency isn’t the only problem. Things are also too easy. Chrys is tortured — turns out, there’s a potion for that. The Druids are framed, quite convincingly, but crisis is averted because the Federation guy is different from every other Federation leader Brooks has given us. That sort of thing. Assuming Brooks continues this storyline, I’m sure he’ll introduce wrinkles, but as it stands, everything was simply too easy.