The Wishsong of Shannara by Terry Brooks
This trilogy played out intriguingly, as it was more or less the same story being retold different ways. In each, the Druid Allanon appears to a child of the line of Shannara, an Ohmsford, and forces them on a quest to save the world from dark forces that only they can stop. This one was the darkest and more simplistic of the tales, and probably my favorite.
After Wil Ohmsford used the Elfstones to save the world, he absorbed part of their power, and passed it along to his children. His two kids, Jair and Brin, now have the ability of the wishsong, which they use to change leaves on trees or create illusions. It’s frighteningly powerful, and Wil makes them promise never to use it. And then leaves. Which gives time for Allanon to arrive like a drunken Doc Brown insisting they follow him to save the world. And to use the wishsong to do it.
Brin, Allanon, and the latest in the strain of highland princes to strap on the Leah sword and shout, “LEAH! LEAH!” — the worst battlecry since Leeeeeeroy Jenkins! — travel the fantasy map like all the other adventures. They must traverse the Helswamp past the Cromulent River, through the Fartbastard Mountains, where they will find the Grundletaint and swab the universe of the Munchbutts. Some shit like that. I don’t pay attention anymore.
Meanwhile, Jair, who was told to stay home, totally doesn’t. Because he gets attacked by Gnomes. Who kidnap him. And then he finds Garet Jax, the Weapons Master, who’s essentially a killblender of swordplay. Jair ends up given a quest by the King of the Silver River, who tells him he must take magic powder to Heaven’s Well and clean the river of it’s taint. Tee hee. Taint.
So we’ve got the parallel quests. Only, since this is the last of the trilogy, everybody fucking dies. It’s kind of great. Allanon dies. Pretty much all of Jair’s party dies. And the ending literally involves magic, not going to the dark side, and the power of love. It’s very Luke and Leia. Only they don’t accidentally fuck and then pretend nothing happened.
I’m curious to see what’s going on with the rest of the series. So I decided to read the next two stop gaps.