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Running with the Demon (Word & Void, #1)
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Running with the Demon

(The Word & The Void #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  27,538 ratings  ·  708 reviews
Twenty years ago, Terry Brooks turned fantasy fiction on its head with The Sword of Shannara, the first fantasy novel to make the mainstream bestseller lists, and the first in an unbroken string of thirteen bestselling books. Now, in Running with the Demon, Brooks does nothing less than revitalize fantasy fiction again, inventing the complex and powerful new mythos of the ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 420 pages
Published August 19th 1997 by Del Rey Books
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Ais Dareth Yes! I read it as a stand alone and it's a fantastic read by itself.…moreYes! I read it as a stand alone and it's a fantastic read by itself.(less)
Linnea Kroeger "The Knight of the Word" trilogy does have to do with the "Shannara" books but you don't see how until you read "The Genesis of Shannara" which includ…more"The Knight of the Word" trilogy does have to do with the "Shannara" books but you don't see how until you read "The Genesis of Shannara" which include: Armageddon's Children, The Elves of Cintra, & The Gypsy Morph.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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I skimmed. A lot.
While the plot was pretty interesting, there was just too much in the way of nonsense descriptions about the landscape and history of the town, which had no bearing on the story, for me to pay attention to every word.
I just don't do well with stuff like that.


But once you scraped off all the useless information, this was a fairly neat take on the tale of the Battle Between Good and Evil.
The young girl in this coming of age story has a power inside of her that can be used to save
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Good versus evil in a cool dark urban fantasy.

Terry Brooks is of course THAT Terry Brooks, the same guy who wrote the fabulously well to do Sword of Shannara series that won much acclaim and earned oodles of coin for him and the publishers.

This takes place in a small midwestern town setting that made me think of Ray Bradbury and the idea of an invisible battle between good and evil forces also reminded me of Frank E. Peretti’s 1986 novel This Present Darkness. A knight of the WORD is there and i
Not the correct edition. It was the unabridged one, but since I also have the paperback shelved, I can't seem to get this to switch to the correct audio edition.

This book gets 2 stars only if you're expecting a YA read & not much else. Actually, it's kind of a neat idea, but the execution was horribly flawed. Reading it, I was able to skim & ignore much of the stupid & repetitive writing. Listening to it was pretty torturous, though.

The idea of the 'Word & Void', opposites, good & evil is obviou
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brooks fans
Note, Nov. 23, 2019: I've just completely re-edited this review, because in the 17 years since I read the book, and the 11 years since I reviewed it, my assessment has changed significantly.

Brooks is best known as a fantasy author, but I've classified this work as supernatural fiction because it's set strictly in this world. Of course, the boundaries of all of the speculative genres can be a bit fuzzy around the edges; and in fact in the subsequent novels, Brooks actually ties this trilogy in to
Now that was just what I needed. After reading a pretentious spewing of literary "greatness", I needed something that I could actually enjoy. And enjoy it I did, more than I expected to.

I've been reading Brooks for years. When I was ten years old, I read his only book at the time, The Sword of Shannara. I remember liking it a lot and being really annoyed that he didn't have anymore books out. When Elfstones of Shannara came out a few years later, I was enthralled; it was even better.

I got side-t
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shannara
What do a fourteen year old girl, a wanderer with a wicked limp, and a calculating demon have in common? The answer is three-fold.

Hopewell, Indiana is your typical small town where everyone knows everyone else, it's economy reliant on a single industry - in this case it's the now quiet steel mill as the strike grinds into it's third month. It is also the home of Nest Freemark, growing up under the watchful eyes of her grandparents, a sylvan, a magical dog, and the knowledge that she has a powerf
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Sorry about this book (and the two that follow it) I couldn't escape the feeling that they could have been so much better. A good idea with what I felt was poor execution.

I note that after the trilogy he started a series based on the failure of his protaginists in this series...ouch.
J.K. Grice
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Not a particularly memorable horror offering from fantasy writer Brooks, but I recall liking it well enough.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I read this one a while ago, and I need to reread for a proper review. But in my memory I liked it so much, why did I give it three stars back in 2017? To be continued..

2021 reread: Absolutely loved it. Couldn't stop reading even though I had read it before. The story takes place in current day & age, different from the Shannara stories. I think this is where the magic was born and the Void is probably the beginning of the Forbidding? I hope I'll find out. Loved Nest, she grew up a lot in this b
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good vs. Evil

It is a common theme throughout literature, and the struggle between the two sides can become cliche, but when it is done well, with a realistic setting, unforgettable characters, and an absolutely riveting plot then a reader can be given a small glimpse of humanity and life. That is exactly what Terry Brooks gifts to his readers in Running With The Demon, which is an extremely well-written novel. I have heard Brooks say more than once, that he considers this to be one of his best n
The Word and Void trilogy is the worst I've read from Brooks, and I've read most his work. I mainly pushed through just so I wouldn't miss any background necessary for the books that come after - and I kept hoping that something exciting / meaningful / magical would actually happen in this series. It was boring, there were no goals that I could determine (a defined quest might have helped), and little hope.

The setting is a big problem for me. We find ourselves in modern-day Washington State. The
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't have much memory of this from my first read. I'm now starting a Brooks re-read and am going chronological. Previously I read the first five series'. I have five unread. Chronology leaps about so it'll be interesting to see what happens.

In this book we meet Pick, a Sylvain. He's an elf in Imaginary Friends so that was odd. Particularly as in future books elves are people size rather than 6".

Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it
2.5 stars - rounding up to 3
I had read a couple of Terry Brooks’ Magic Kingdom of Landover novels many years ago and I still remember how much I enjoyed them. So I felt sure I would enjoy Running with the Demon as much. Unfortunately that was not the case. This book lacked the charm and originality of the Magic Kingdom of Landover novels. There were so many characters I had trouble keeping track of them and way too many plot threads. There were a lot of things going on that weren’t clearly expla
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-read
The beginning of my reread of the Shannara series. Since this is not my first time through a lot of this series, I am reading them in the order that is suggested for the revisitation of the series, instead of the publication order, which is how I read them initially. The last book comes out this June, but I know there is no way I'll finish the 37 books in this series before then lol...Shannara is one of my all time favorite series and I am looking forward to this journey :) ...more
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pre-review thoughts
I've finally read Terry Brooks - usually they are higher fantasy than I read. Pick is adorable and my favorite of the characters. The demon is light-eyed and creepy without being cheesy. Nest is a worthy heroine who is finding herself in an unconventional family - a grandfather I adore who does his best in a mad world he can't see, and a grandmother too haunted by her past to move on other than saving her energy for an ultimate battle. Nest's bandit of realistic friends is a f
QUICK SYNOPSIS: Story opens with a prologue where we gather insights into the dark dreams that John Ross, a Knight of the Word, must always have; every evening; every time he sleeps. It then opens with Nest Freemark, 13 and talking with a faerie pixie creature in a small town, racing to rescue a child from the dark creatures. Nest is sort of a guardian for people against the Feeders, who feed on the fears and negative emotions of humans, and does her best to keep them all safe. But larger events ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest.

A 14-year-old girl, who is descended from a line of females who have been chosen to aid a sylvan in protecting a park in Hopewell, Illinois, is forced to confront the mysteries surrounding her family. A crippled drifter bearing an intricately-carved walking stick, arrives in Hopewell, on the trail of a demon who is set on reclaiming what is his and ushering in the end of our world. And Terry Brooks, the mastermind behind the internationally best-selling fantasy T
Barbara ★
This is the first book I've read by Terry Brooks and I loved it. I listened to the abridged version of the audiobook and it makes me really want to listen to the unabridged version for the remaining books in the series. The writing is spectacular and the scene-setting is truly amazing. You can feel and see everything that is described as if it is happening right in front of you. I was very impressed by everything about this story.

Nest Freemark is a 14 year old girl with magic. She patrols the p
Sarah Lau
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First and most importantly, any book written by Terry Brooks is worth reading. His unique and detailed style of description is what I aspire to achieve in my writing. What I believe is most incredible about his novels is that the majority of them are interlinked. Although his numerously connected fantasy trilogies seem completely in another world than to his few modern 21st century novels, it took me over a year to realise that the fantasies were in fact sequels. That discovery made Terry Brooks ...more
Matthew Hunter
Jul 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Good versus Evil; Word versus Void; Angel (well, a Knight of the Word) versus Demon - a fairly typical dualistic view of the universe, really. Brooks throws in some magic, fairies, a shaman, a Sylvan (little grumpy tree creature), and zombie-ghost-like Feeders that thrive on disharmony (sort of a yin yang situation). Brooks’s creativity is found in the interplay between gnostic and high fantasy elements, all set in Hopewell, Illinois in early July 1997.

I agree with other reviewers that Running w
Conrad Zero
Apr 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent writing, but I'd expect no less from an English major with a track record like Terry's. Great story. Nice, tight pacing. Really real characters in really real places having some really unreal situations.

Modern-day paranormal thriller with a dash of Shannara because... Terry Brooks. Would make a good movie. Looking forward to more in this series.
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really like the pace of the book. There aren't any pointless details (though I do tend to skip some of the longer descriptions). There aren't any pointless climaxes either. Instead of the flow of the book being loaded with ups and downs, this book is just one steady climb to the top. Everything flows nicely. I was never bored or discouraged to continue reading. It's well done and I'm excited for book #2. ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Please note: This review originally posted 3/1/2008 on Amazon. Please do not base judgment of review upon my current format.

I had forgotten ... it had been so long, I had forgotten what it is like reading a book by Terry Brooks. I had forgotten that he creates worlds that hold such dark things; that he isn't afraid to kill characters, traumatize characters, forge them into weapons in the hottest fires of testing. I had forgotten what a ... almost tactile experience it could be reading a book by
Jan 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
I've read a lot of Terry Brooks' books, including all of the Shannara books, and unfortunately, I was a little disappointed in this book, Running with the Demon. Here, Mr. Brooks departs from his usual pure fantasy genre to tell a story that mixes present day life with fantasy elements. The story is about a girl with magical powers, a demon who has arrived in her town to plot a cataclysmic event and a Knight of the Word (i.e., a man who tracks demons) whose mission is to stop the demon. I didnt ...more
Sheila Myers
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
A very good fantasy novel about the fight between good and evil. Terry Brooks has created some wonderful characters and an exciting plot.
Branwen Sedai *of the Brown Ajah*
Apr 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of urban fantasy, Terry Brooks fans
I've been slowly but surely making my way through all of Terry Brooks' novels, and I have to say that this is my favorite, thus far. I love his Shannara and Landover series, but for some reason this delightful urban fantasy really captured my interest hard! I loved all the chracters, the setting was beautiful and described in detail (I've visited my cousin in the Midwest before so it was really great to read about it) and the twists and turns in the storyline really kept me guessing until the ve ...more
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: worth_re-reading
Terry Brooks' Running with Demon is the prototypical urban fantasy novel. Published in 1997, it is one of the earliest novels to approach the genre and gain widespread readership.

Running with the Demon introduces Brooks' world of the Word and the Void, opposing forces of chaos and order that set the stage for a well-developed unique moral relativity that serves as the bedrock of a unique narrative.

The book features excellent characters, a unique and interesting approach to its world of magic, a
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Terry Brooks novel. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a fast paced read with the perfect amount of character development and action. I really liked the characters of Pick and Old Bob. Pick was the comedic relief of sorts and his dialogue was always entertaining. I will definitely be reading the other two books in the trilogy in the future. The best way I can describe this book is to say that it is enjoyable, whimsical and light hearted. Fun stuff.
I was definitely too young to read this when I did, but I felt super smart and proud for attempting it. Terry Brooks' stuff hasn't ever really appealed to me so interesting that I recall enjoying this. ...more
L.R. Braden
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Despite growing up with Terry Brooks' Shannara books, I'd never read his Word and Void series, so I've decided to rectify that. :)
Running with the Demon is an urban fantasy in that it takes place in the contemporary world with the addition of magic. In this case, magic that most people are unaware of. However, you can definitely tell that Brooks is an epic fantasy writer at heart.

In the world that Brooks created, the battle between good and evil take the form of servants of the Word (good) and t
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Terry Brooks was born in Illinois in 1944, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received his ...more

Other books in the series

The Word & The Void (3 books)
  • A Knight of the Word (Word & Void, #2)
  • Angel Fire East (Word & Void, #3)

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“All peoples think they are forever," he growled softly. "They do not believe they will ever not be. The Sinnissippi were that way. They did not think they would be eradicated. But that is what happened. Your people, Nest, believe this of themselves. They will survive forever, they think. Nothing can destroy them, can wipe them so completely from the earth and from history that all that will remain is their name and not even that will be known with certainty. They have such faith in their invulnerability.
Yet already their destruction begins. It comes upon them gradually, in little ways. Bit by bit their belief in themselves erodes. A growing cynicism pervades their lives. Small acts of kindness and charity are abandoned as pointless and somehow indicative of weakness. Little failures of behavior lead to bigger ones. It is not enough to ignore the discourtesies of others; discourtesies must be repaid in kind. Men are intolerant and judgmental . They are without grace. If one man proclaims that God has spoken to him, another quickly proclaims that his God is false. If the homeless cannot find shelter, then surely they are to blame for their condition. If the poor do not have jobs, then surely it is because they will not work. If sickness strikes down those whose lifestyle differs from our own, then surely they have brought it on themselves.
Look at your people, Nest Freemark. They abandon their old. They shun their sick. They cast off their children. They decry any who are different. They commit acts of unfaithfulness, betrayal, and depravity every day. They foster lies that undermine beliefs. Each small darkness breeds another. Each small incident of anger, bitterness, pettiness, and greed breeds others. A sense of futility consumes them. They feel helpless to effect even the smallest change. Their madness is of their own making, and yet they are powerless against it because they refuse to acknowledge its source. They are at war with themselves, but they do not begin to understand the nature of the battle being fought."

-pages 96-97”
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