Monday, December 3, 2012

"Paladins of Shannara: Allanon's Quest" and "Imaginary Friends"

I keep forgetting to update this blog; about half a week ago I read two short stories by Terry Brooks on my Kindle.  The first one was "Paladins of Shannara: Allanon's Quest;" the second was "Imaginary Friends."  I was flying home when I read the two, and even though I was in the middle of another book, I just really, really wanted to read something by Terry Brooks.  So I started with "Allanon's Quest" because I've never read it before.  I just looked online and it is apparently the first of several Shannara short stories Brooks is publishing, with the next one due out this January.

"Allanon's Quest" was a really quick read.  It's been years since I read The Sword of Shannara, but I always did like Allanon as a character.  So being able to read something new about him was exciting for me. 

"Allanon's Quest" is a sort of prequel to The Sword of Shannara.  Allanon is desperately trying to find one of the Shannara heirs to weild the Sword against the Witch King, who has arisen once again in the Four Lands.  But the Witch King will not be so easily defeated; he is hunting down those heirs faster than Allanon can; all Allanon has found is death.  Almost all hope is lost, but Allanon has heard a rumour of a possible lost heir, and so he is desperately trying to track that heir down before the Witch King can.

I enjoyed the story, but it seemed kind of unnecessary to me, having read Sword.  I knew Allanon would find someone because that's the whole point of Sword.  But despite that, like I said, I enjoyed reading it.  I've always been a fan of Brooks' writing style and this story did not fail to disappoint.
So once I finished "Allanon's Quest," I wanted more Terry Brooks.  I thought about starting The Tangle Box, which is still my favourite book of his to date (and the only one I have on Kindle).  But then I remembered that I also had "Imaginary Friends."  I read "Imaginary Friends" years ago, but bought it on my Kindle in support of Brooks' Web Druid/friend who was battling cancer; Brooks sold the short story, with all the proceeds going to the cancer battle.  I thought it was a worthy cause, so I purchased it about a year ago.  "Imaginary Friends" was the story that really started Brooks' Word and Void series (many of the themes and ideas are similar to Running with the Demon, which was published several years after "Imaginary Friends").  Having read it so long ago, I didn't really remember what happened (although it was very familiar all the way through).

"Imaginary Friends" is the story of Jack.  The boy is dying of cancer.  He lives next to Sinnissippi Park, a place of magic where he has befriended an elf named Pick.  I don't want to say much more than that to avoid spoilers, but even though I haven't read it or Running with the Demon in a long time, I could still see how the two books are related (mostly through the magic of the park). 

Both "Allanon's Quest" and "Imaginary Friends" were good reads.  So if you're in need of something quick, consider giving either of these a try, particularly if you are a fan of his two series.

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