Bearers of the Black Staff is a fantasy novel by Terry Brooks, book one of two of the Legends of Shannara series. It was a good read but something was left missing at the end.
Now, I’ve never read any other Terry Brooks book before, meaning I jumped right into an old world with several series of books with this one. In retrospect I should’ve looked more into the other Shannara books but it’s too late now. There’s clearly a long, rich history to Shannara, and while Brooks does a good job explaining important parts of its history, there was an odd feeling I was missing something.
The plot follows different characters as they try to accept and spread news of the fact that their world is changing. After events of a Great War 500 years prior to this book, a group of Men, Elves, Lizards and Spiders escaped the war to a valley that was then guarded with magical barriers that would keep the old world out. Now, that barrier is breaking. And the world beyond the valley isn’t much friendlier than it was all those centuries ago.
Since the story will continue in the second book, The Measure of the Magic, the end of this book was unfinished, as was expected. While the plot kept moving forward at a fairly good pace and there were a few surprises along the way, the story felt more like groundwork for the next. I did enjoy reading it but I had no trouble setting it down every now and then. I’d imagine the next book is more about action and quicker pace and so forth.
With all the characters and their different backgrounds, I didn’t feel quite as connected with them as I usually do when reading. Some of their actions and the consequences of those actions were a bit too predictable at times. They were good characters, just not very outstanding and amazing. And it’s my luck that my favorite characters end up dead. I’m interested in finding out what happens to them in the next part though, so something about them still caught my interest.
I liked my visit to the world of Shannara and will return to it at least once more, to finish this story with The Measure of the Magic.