Now the second book of the series are more complex and conflicted than the first book. By now the Druids of Paranor had their numbers dwindled and divided between the events of the first book when Ard Rhys lead a group of expedition to find the elfstones only to found themselves in a dangerous land called Forbidding where demonic creatures are imprisoned inside the world. Unfortunately, the magic can no longer keep the prison intact as the tree Ellcrys is slowly dying and so was her hold on Forbidding.
At the start of the book, Arlingfant Elessedil was back in Arborlon after the siege of Paranor, only to find herself being chosen by the Ellcrys to be her successor. Ellcrys are actually a magical being formerly a female elf who became a sacred talisman to maintain the Forbidding. Arling was initially scared and denial about her fate to become the Ellcrys and seek the help of her sister, Aphenglow who was starting her own quest to seek the missing Ard Rhys and her group. Meanwhile in Forbidding, the Ard Rhys knew that they’re in mortal danger as more and more of their numbers were killed and taken away. Its up to her and the young Redden Ohmsford to find the way out before it was too late for them.
As much as my grievance with the first book of the series, the second book provide an even form of character developments and conflicts that was intertwined and developed well through the book. However, Aphenglow’s characterization was reduced to allow the other characters to flourish. This allow an even more depth to the storylines and even out the inconsistencies in the first book. This time the narrations focus more on Arling, Khyber, Redden, Railing and the primary antagonist. However, I couldn’t quite buy into the antagonist’s storyline and his vendetta against Aphenglow but I was more interested with the story of Grianne Ohmsford which was a recurrent character across the Shannara chronologies and this time her past catch up with the present.
I enjoyed the airship battles and the fight scenes. As the story goes on from the predictable beginning, the death toll starting to rise and I began to enjoy it when the characters became desperate, suicidal, scared etc among the natural human range of responses. I have a pathological need to see fictional characters showing some humanity and this book is full of them.
However, the series does remain predictable for those who are familiar with the original series but the book’s story around the Ellcrys is quite minimal than “The Elfstones of Shannara”. Most of the events in this book was an intermediary to the third book of this series. So in a sense, it does revolve around the Shannara universe but only to a point and not Shannara history repeating itself. It is but not exactly alike. The Dark Legacy series is actually literally the dark legacy of Shannara’s history. All of the things revolved in this book seem to came from the unsolved past which the present have to pay its price. None of them happen exactly “happily ever after”.