The High Druid's Blade (The Defenders of Shannara #1)

The High Druid's Blade - Terry Brooks

Paxon Leah is a young man trapped in a job he neither loves, nor truly disdains, to help his mother and sister survive.  He knows that there must be more to life but is unable to decide on a direction, until his sister Chrysallin, is kidnapped by the evil wizard Arcannan. On his way to save his sister, he picks up the Leah family sword and discovers in battle that it is imbued by magic.  Determined to learn to wield that magic, Paxon joins the druid order to train as a  protector.  Having seen the mythical sword of Leah in action however, Arcannan is determined to go to any length to possess it.  This brings Paxon on a collusion course with Arcannan, even as the Druid order struggles to discover the saboteur in their ranks.

Normally speaking, I am not a fan of high fantasy but I decided to give The High Druid's Blade a chance given the fact that Terry Brooks is a New York Times bestselling author.  Unfortunately, I found myself struggling to finish this book because I did not find the story or the characters engaging.  Paxon, the protagonist, fell completely flat and I felt like we were never offered anything substantive about him, beyond the fact that his blood allows him to wield the sword of Leah.  

Every hero needs motivation to act but I am tired of it always being the case of a damsel in distress. First, Chrysallin is kidnapped because she gets herself into a situation way over her head.  We are told that this is an example of her impulsive behaviour. Paxon acts to save her and then she is kidnapped again.  Each time, she warns that her brother will come to her rescue.  We were given a small respite when Chrysallin seeks to escape but of course, this only makes her situation worse. Ultimately, Chrysallin  is little more than the sassy victim incapable of defending herself.  We have the Ard Rhys who is the head of the druid order.  We are told that Ard Rhys is very strong but it's the kind of strength that promotes her into a position of power without us getting a true sense of her. We are told that the Ard Rhys is alone because she has lived so long and we get a vague sense of sadness about her but never really get to know her in any real sense.  The same is true of Leofur and Jayet.  These women seem to just pass through the story to help Paxon on his journey.



Read More