Review: The Skaar Invasion by Terry Brooks - 5/10*
Terry Brooks is a fine writer of fantasy. His world building is strong and it comes with a huge amount of history and lore, some of which stems from previous books. It’s a great world, though the more books the author churns out the worse it gets.
The problem I have is with Brooks’ inability to devise new plots and characters. I feel like I’ve read this book before because it is so similar to what I have seen before. We have a pair of siblings, the brother is trying to murder the sister whilst the sister is intent on saving her fallen brother from madness. We have an all-powerful druid leader who is trying to save the land from certain doom. Sound familiar? The characters just aren’t distinct enough. I feel like Brooks has just changed the names and written about the same people again.
The Four Lands just do not evolve over time. Despite the vast history and tumultuous events that have occurred, nothing has changed. The only difference here is that we have an outside invader who is about to shake things up and perhaps change the destiny of all the races in Shannara, perhaps leaving it forever different. But I don’t think Brooks has the stones to do that. I think this will all pretty much end where it began. He came up with a good world, and he is clearly reluctant to move away from it or change it at all.
Instead he has milked from it every single last drop of blood to tell his stories. They are trite, clichéd and almost self-plagiarised. I saw some of this surfacing in The Black Elfstone and I really hoped that Brooks was just asserting the familiar to then move away from it in subsequent books. I was wrong. This got worse and it got even more similar to what has come before. I want stand out characters! I want unique heroes! Not three or four characters that are awkwardly identical to their ancestors in every respect but their first name.
There is nothing in particular wrong with The Skaar Invasion or The Fall of Shannara as a series; it’s just that we’ve seen all this sort of thing happen before and I am getting bored of it. For a new reader it would be fine. I will finish this series, but I do hope that it gets better.
5/10 stars- Generous, I know, but this is still Shannara.