The Elves of Cintra review

Demons: 10 Humans: 0. Can Mankind make a comeback?

Author: Terry Brooks

Publisher: Orbit

375 pages • £18.99

ISBN: 978-1-84149-574-3

Rating:

What a gripper of a story! In the second book of the Genesis of Shannara series, Brooks delivers a tension-fuelled tale mixing Shannara fantasy with the contemporary world of the Knights of the Word.

It’s the end of modern civilisation. Climate collapse and plague has decimated humanity and now demons are moving in to finish the job. Man’s only hope rests with Hawk, but he must discover his true identity to lead them to a safer world. With the Columbia river as the starting point for mankind’s mass exodus, Knight of the Word Logan battles through Mad Max-style countryside with a group of street kids to reach the rendezvous. Meanwhile, elf Kirisin must find the blue Elfstones and lead his own reluctant race out of the Cintra Forest before they’re destroyed.

Brooks has created an atmospheric post-apocalyptic Earth. It may lack some of the grittier aspects of survival in a poisoned world, but it’s compelling with its triple-stranded approach. The Elves maintain a tense chase sequence; Hawk provides the growing sense of discovery; and Logan Tom’s slower strand explores the violent landscape through the eyes of feral kids.

These storylines merge into a typical Brooks book: traditional fantasy, well told. There are quests aplenty and oodles of self-doubt. The occasional character pops their clogs, and prose is concise with no obvious padding. It all culminates in an emotional (if slightly predictable) climax that combines loose closure with clear understanding that the journey has barely begun. Bring it on.

Sandy Auden

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