CBR #95 – If You Give a Half-Elf a Quest

The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks

My missus and I have a running joke where she gives me a seemingly simple task which I then grumble “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.”  See, there’s a children’s book series called “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie.”  Which goes, if you give a mouse a cookies, he’s going to want a glass of milk.  And so on.  Basically, if you tell me to do this one thing, it means I have to do this other thing first.  And when I do that other thing, I actually have to do two other things first.  So what was supposed to just be, Go get Thai food at Saladang.  Well, to do that, I have to get money out of the bank.  Also we need gas.  But if I’m going to go to Costco to get gas, I mine as well pick up a chicken and other groceries.  And if I’m going to the bank, deposit these checks.  Check the mail for other checks.  And then there’s my day.

That’s what this middle book felt like.  All the events happen decades after the first book.  The surviving members of Sword of Shannara are older and make brief grumbly cameos.  It’s a whole new quest, initiated by Allanon.  He recruits Shea’s grandson, Wil, who is a healer.  The Allspark Allacrys is the elven tree that keeps the demons from taking over the world, and it’s dying, so the demons are taking over the world.  Allanon forces Wil and Amberle, an elven girl who was the tree’s caretaker before she fled into exile, to go and get the seed from the tree.  But if you give a half-elf a quest.

Every time they have to do one thing, it leads to another.  In the meanwhile, there’s another huge battle between the forces of darkness and the good guys.  It’s a pretty goddamn great battle, way better than the dumbass quest.  But Wil uses the Elfstones like Egg Chen shooting 80’s lasers at Lo Pan, and Amberle does some hippie shit, and there’s even a gypsy and giant eagles!  And again, it’s like, wait, wait, wait, we’ve been through all this shit before.  But still, it’s a slow burn but it’s keeping my attention.  I like that we’re leaping forward decades, and since I’m already into book three, I know the same thing’s happening again.  I don’t think I’m going to barrel through this entire series.  I’ll let the fates decide. Or not.  Who the fuck cares?


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