The Dark Legacy of Shannara isn’t intended to be a direct canon for the original series. Instead, a person could start the series without a primary motivation to read the excessive Shannara universe by the author.
The book began with the discovery of an ancient diary written by an elvish teenager who fell in love and was betrayed when her lover stole several elfstones which were missing for thousands of years. The book is largely centered around the druid Aphenglow Elessendil and the druid’s enigmatic leader Ard Rhys Khyber Elessendil and the quest for the elfstones.
As much as I enjoy the easy language and fast pacing of the novel, I couldn’t quite find myself enjoying the book as a whole. On the first chapter, I think the author does wonderful trying to imitate a teenage girl’s voice but somehow the juvenile writing and surprisingly sanitized version of the girl’s sexscapes has somehow leads to a grand quest of finding magical stones of power.
Other than that, I do feel some of the character motivation in the book aren’t strong enough and sometimes out of the blue without primary development until their eventual demise which reminded me of Final Fantasy disposable stock characters.
Later, I begin to question Terry Brooks’ capabilities to develop good storylines that centered around strong female characters. He does tend to reduce Aphenglow into a damsel in distress and seems very natural around the much gentler perfectly damsel Arlingphant Elessendil, Aphenglow’s sister. I am totally fine with Aphenglow kicking asses and saving the day, I couldn’t quite buy the tendency to render her as a ‘fragile’ strong female character by forcing her to be disabled at a point, being protected and coddled by several of the characters. The only disturbing scene involving her in the book was the fact one antagonist have a sudden heightened motivation to have her tongue and hands cut off and wanted her to be raped by his soldiers just because she openly defied him at a standoff.
Other than airships and the occasional Final Fantasy references, the book is entertaining. But not much a fodder for discussion on depth except for the lack of it. Luckily the second book is much nicer.