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Friday, July 06, 2007

Armageddon's Children

****½ Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks. Horror.

This is a book I've been waiting for--a continuation of the demon series, connecting it to the Shannara series. I'm calling it horror instead of fantasy, because that's what the tone feels like to me--and because the demon trilogy was horror. Barnes & Noble calls it "dark fantasy," but isn't that really just another term for horror?

It's a post-apocalyptic world, a hundred years or so after Angel Fire East. Humankind has gathered into small groups for safety and survival, living in abandoned sports arenas or office buildings. And then there are those on the outside, like the boy Hawk and his little band of children. Mistrusting adults and mistrusted by them, the children form a family of their own, and live by scavenging and bartering.

The humans are in danger from territorial disputes with each other, but also from the demons who've gained ascendancy in the lawlessness. The demons have slave camps in which they experiment on humans and turn them into creatures known as once-men. And all that stands between humans and the demons are the Knights of the Word: Logan Tom and Angel Perez.

Logan Tom's been waging war against the slave camps, but he has a new mission: to find and protect the gypsy morph--a sort of savior that first appeared in the demon trilogy.

Angel Perez's mission of protecting children is also changed, when she's tasked with finding and assisting elves in their quest for the loden stone, with which they can protect and preserve the Ellcrys--a sentient tree that figures prominently in several of the Shannara books.

And there are the elves themselves. Young elves serve the Ellcrys for a year, and it's usually an uneventful life, but then the Ellcrys speaks to Kirisin, warning him of impending doom and telling him the steps to save the Ellcrys and with it the elves.

Armageddon's Children is quite definitely the first in a trilogy--some issues are resolved by the end of the book, but most are not. I wasn't specifically aware of that when I started reading, but I wasn't surprised--most of Terry Brooks's books come in trilogy form.

I found each of the plot threads exciting, and the characters engaging, if tending toward the young-ish side.

The only thing that really gave me pause was the romance between Hawk, who's in his late teens, and a young settlement girl, who's 11. Creeped me out a bit, particularly since I was still reeling from the pedophilia in Taltos. Still, it's not a huge part of the story, and most of the time I could pretend she was a few years older, so it didn't ruin the book for me.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, The Elves of Cintra, which is due out in a little less than two months.


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