The Sorcerer’s Daughter – Terry Brooks

The Sorcerer's Daughter

The Sorcerer's Daughter


In this third book in the Defenders of Shannara subseries, rogue wizard Arcannen Rai is again set on damaging the Four Lands as best he can, setting in motion events that put the Druids and the Federation at each other’s throats.


I’ve never been a fan of Shannara. From the very first books, it seemed to me not only an obvious copy of Tolkien, but a fairly weak one. After a couple of books in the series, I gave up. I liked a few of Brooks’ other books – the first Landover books, before they got tired, and thought the first of his Word & Void series was adequate, but didn’t see a reason to follow on.

Obviously, many others have disagreed. Brooks has sold a lot of his Shannara books, and turned the series into a complex world. Unfortunately, it’s still not one I like very much. This book, the third in a sub-trilogy, takes place long after the original books, in a time when magic and science attempt to co-exist. However, Brooks’ attempt to graft steampunk onto his Tolkien-inspired magic universe doesn’t work, especially with tools that are only thinly disguised from their real-life inspirations.

Content aside, I’ve always thought of Brooks as a decent writer. Here, however, he seems to hardly even try, with what feels like rote deployment of tropes and techniques. Most of the book is an uninspired and slow-moving chase. Things proceed almost entirely as expected, even when the detail of the events is thinly credible at best. I can recommend this only for existing Shannara fans.

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