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Review: The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks

Monday, July 28, 2014

The High Druid's Blade
Terry Brooks

Series: The Defenders of Shannara #1
Genre: Fantasy
Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: July 8, 2014
by Del Ray


Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life—until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world . . . and rewrite his destiny.

When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him—and within his ancestors’ ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.

But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.


Paxon Leah runs an airfreight business. He makes  enough to support his family but feels unsatisfied with his life and wonders if there isn’t more out there for him in the world. He constantly worries about his reckless and wild younger sister Chrys, and his fears come to life when she is kidnapped by the sorcerer Arcannen, who seeks to use her as a bargaining chip, as Paxon has something that he wants.

The plot is fairly typical for a fantasy adventure novel. To save his sister, Paxon discovers powers that he did not know he had, receives training from the magical Druids, and confronts the dark sorcerer. Despite this, I enjoyed the book and found it very well written. One aspect I found particularly interesting was how the point of view changed between characters, even showing those of the villains. This gives a lot of insight into the various characters and thus the plot.

As opposed to most fantasy villains, Arcannen is not unrealistically powerful compared to everyone else. In fact, he is not even significantly more powerful than an experienced Druid. He relies more on strategy and wits and readily flees from combat if he feels he cannot win, which I found really cool. I also found Paxon to be a likeable protagonist. He is kindhearted and does not like to put his friends in danger. He does act recklessly at times and without much thought at some points, which does consequently puts his friends in danger and even indirectly leads to a death. However, his behavior is understandable, as he's a young man, and most of his reckless acts are efforts to save his sister.

While I have not personally read any other books in Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, I did not feel lost at all while reading this book. The High Druid's Blade does a good job portraying the parts of the world in the Shannara series that are applicable to it. Still, if you have any interest in reading more Shannara books, I would recommend reading them to get a better understanding of the world.

Additional Information
  1. The High Druid's Blade
  2. The Darkling Child
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3 comments on "Review: The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks"
  1. I usually feel horribly lost whenever I start a new Fantasy series, so I am relieved to hear that that wasn't the case here. I've been reluctant to read any of Terry Brooks' novels for this very reason. Now, after reading your review, I'm thinking that it's time to reevaluate. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. The fantasy adventure sounds great and glad you could jump right in without reading the ones before.

  3. This is a new one to me and I do really like the fantasy adventurous side of this one. Great review.


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