Haydn's Reviews > The Measure of the Magic

The Measure of the Magic by Terry Brooks
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's review
Jun 14, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: owned
Read from June 14 to August 22, 2011 — I own a copy

Preface: I haven't read a Shannara book in about three years, and I didn't have much time to prepare before picking this up as an advanced copy so this is a review based on remembrance of past works and a reading that was lacking a full picture.

Brooks has always been iconic as a writer of epic fantasy. His works inspire others, and there are few that would argue that he deserves a place of recognition in the genre. This novel delivers aspects of his past works, but I found it to be shallow in story and depth. There were moments that were too coincidental, the magic was never fully explored, and the back-story, while mentioned and lightly touched on, was never clear to someone who hadn't read the Genesis of Shannara trilogy or Bearers of the Black Staff.

The Measure of Magic takes place in a once protected valley inhabited by elves and humans alike, but the protective barrier has fallen and the trolls are on the march along with an evil older and more powerful than anything they are ready to face--a demon. Luckily for the valley, the surprisingly skilled teenagers, Pan and Prue, along with the elven princess Phryne (an accused regicide) are on the case! Each of these confusingly named characters (it was almost as hard to keep them in line as reading Beowulf. Seriously.) comes across some powerful magic with varying consequences and uses them in defense of their people--but none of it comes without a horrible price.

Overall, it was an enjoyable story. The characters, while not especially deep, were certainly distinctive (though I found it odd how they all seemed to have a deep connection with Pan), and their dialogue was never stale or forced. With such a small world to work with, the conflict was reasonably scaled and built in a way that three magic wielding heroes could reasonably combat the threat so that it never seemed too over the top as it could have been. The end was a bit anticlimactic, as you'd think a demon would put up a more entertaining battle, but it was reasonable considering the scale of the story. All in all, it was a reasonable novel--just not particularly memorable. I'd say that if this were written by a new author, it'd be a great debut, but coming from a known quantity like Brooks, it just didn't quite meet expectations.

But hey. At least there were no vampires.

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