Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks
|Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks|
|Category: Graphic Novels|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: While accessible to people who've never read Terry Brooks before, this latest foray into the world of Shannara will likely please old fans, but won't attract any new ones.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 208||Date: April 2008|
|External links: Author's website|
I should probably start this review by confessing that I've never read any of Terry Brooks' work before. As a completely new reader, I was both excited and intimidated to read and review Dark Wraith of Shannara. The blurb declares it as an ideal opportunity to venture into the world of Shannara for the first time, however, I think whoever wrote it was being a bit optimistic.
The story follows Jair Ohmsford and the gnome Slanter as they travel through treacherous lands to rescue old friends Kimber and Cogline from the evil Croton Witch, who plans to pull the secrets of the Druids from Cogline's mind, by any means necessary.
You don't have to have read any other Shannara stories to understand this book. It's a fairly simple tale of good versus evil, that explores the seduction of power, and how it can be bad even when used for good. These themes are accessible to all readers, but the characters all have backgrounds together, and events are alluded to that only someone who had read the Shannara series would know about.
While this doesn't make the story inaccessible, I did get the sense that there was something bigger and better going on than I was able to understand. While I can see how this could be viewed as intriguing, getting a taste of something that leaves you wanting more, I personally found it a little irritating. The balance seemed to be a bit wrong – there was too much for it to be a simple, stand alone story, not enough to really catch your interest and make you want to go out and buy the rest of Brooks' work.
If, as the blurb implies, this book was intended to draw in new readers, perhaps what would have been better would be an entirely new story set in Shannara, rather than one that continues with adventures undergone in other books. As it stands, I think this is only going to be enjoyed by fans.
The world of Shannara is well suited to the graphic novel form. The action packed fight sequences jump to life on the page, and the monsters are terrifying – the Rets and the Croton witch are particularly sinister illustrations. But it's a bit of a let down that there aren't a couple of colour pictures. There's nothing wrong with the black and white, it just seems a shame not to treat what appears to be such a vivid world to a burst of colour.
There are some interesting extras after the story about how the artwork was created. These include a written 'making of', explaining the process of how the book was brought together and what influences the artists had, early concept sketches illustrating how the sketch artist brought Terry's vision to life, and step by step examples of how the pictures went from sketch to the finished product. It also includes the opening chapter of The Wishsong of Shannara, furthering the impression that this book is intended for new readers.
As a long time fan of several fantasy series, I would want to read anything my favourite authors brought out. I get the feeling Dark Wraith of Shannara is going to appeal most to those who feel the same way about Brooks, but it just doesn't stand alone. It's too short for you to get attached to the characters, or to really get a feel for the world. This latest foray into the world of Shannara will likely please old fans, but won't attract any new ones.
For another graphic novel companion to a fantasy series try Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel by Eoin Colfer.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy of this book.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks at Amazon.com.
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