Wednesday, 27 June 2007

‘Armageddon’s Children’ Terry Brooks (Orbit Books)

While I’ve always had trouble getting into Terry Brook’s ‘Shannara’ series (okay, I never made it past the first book…) I really enjoyed reading his ‘Word and the Void’ trilogy. I had mixed feelings then when I received this book to review as it bridges a gap, previously only hinted at, between a series that I enjoy and a series that has yet to get going for me. I’m happy to say though that the end result was pleasantly suprising and may yet persuade me to pick up ‘Sword of Shannara’ and give it another go.
The end of human civilisation (as we know it) is a distant memory, only to the very old, when the story begins. The demons of the Void won their fight with the Knights of the Word and influenced humanity’s path towards mutual destruction, according to the book Dick Cheney had something to do with it as well… In this world of the future Logan Tom and Angel Perez are the only two Knights of the Word left alive. They both fight a seemingly hopeless war against the demons and their once human minions but this is about to take a new and unexpected direction. A great change is coming and if humanity is to survive then Logan and Angel must find the magic that will help this change come about…
Whilst ‘Armageddon’s Children’ was a very entertaining read, the fact that it links two well established series detracts from the sense of urgency that Brooks is trying to convey (very much like a certain sci-fi film trilogy…). Anyone who has read the ‘Shannara’ books will know how certain issues are resolved. I haven’t read any of the ‘Shannara’ books but even I could tell (just by looking at the number of Terry’s books on the shelves) where the series is ultimately headed. The overall sense of urgency may be lessened but Terry makes up for this by throwing his characters into any number of situations that make up life in his post apocalyptic world. There are a lot of tense cliff-hanger moments throughout the book that left me eager to see how things progress in the forthcoming sequel ‘The Elves of Cintra’. Favourite bits for me were the unseen killer on the streets of Seattle and the ‘terminator’ style chase between Angel and the demon Delloreen. Every one of the characters we meet is well drawn and interesting, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to them next.
The issue of ‘The Great War’ is neatly side-stepped and filed under ‘Ancient History’, this leaves Terry only having to deal with the present and I think he does a great job of showing the reader a post-apocalyptic landscape and humanity’s struggle to survive in it. It’s not quite ‘Mad Max’ but there is that sense of the surreal (Logan’s encounter with the Preacher and his Flock) and what could be more apocalyptic than a blasted landscape populated by demons and mutants?
‘Armageddon’s Children’ has its faults but does what it sets out to do very well. I for one am looking forward to seeing more.

Eight out of Ten

No comments: