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Ilse Witch

(Voyage of the Jerle Shannara #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  16,699 ratings  ·  255 reviews
When a half-drowned elf is found floating in the seas of the Blue Divide, an old mystery resurfaces. Thirty years ago, an elven prince led an expedition in search of a legendary magic said to be more powerful than any in the world. Of all those who set out on that ill-fated voyage, not one has ever returned. Until now. The rescued elf carries a map covered with mysterious ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Del Rey (first published September 2000)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,699 ratings  ·  255 reviews

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"Listen to me. Listen to what I have seen in my dreams. You will make your voyage across the Blue Divide in search of something precious - more to you than to any who go with you. Those who accompany you will be both brave and strong of heart, but only some will return. One will save your life. One will try to take it. One will love you unconditionally. One will hate you with unmatched passion. One will lead you astray. One will bring you back again. I have seen all this in my dreams, and I am m ...more
Carl Alves
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some might say that Terry Brooks’s work is formulaic, and they might be right. His series usually go something like this: There is a treasure/magic/evil thing that must be stopped. A druid holds special knowledge on how to do this. He gathers a group of people to carry out this mission. This group must include elves, a member of the Leah family, a dwarf, some humans, and an Ohmsford or two. Use of magic is dangerous and takes a toll on the user. There is a powerful and evil person who is trying ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

I've had this on my shelf for a while now so in a conscious effort to try and clear the old books to replace with new ones I thought I would tackle this trilogy which had gathered large amounts of dust.

The synopsis on the back of the book was appealing, a half drowned elf is found with his tongue chopped off and his eyes pierced but he holds a mysterious map to mysterious lands which hold magic of which the "world" has not seen before. Then add in the fact that to get to this land with mega-
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a good fantasy book, it is very fun to read and has good imagery. If you enjoy fantasy then you'll most likely like this book. It is fairly easy to read but to not easy for advanced readers.I recommend reading any of Terry brooks' books. They are all very interesting and all throughout will keep you glued to the pages. In my opinion it is much better then a lot of fantasy books and if you're looking for a good series to read then this is a book for you. This is the first book of the Voya ...more
#18/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest.

There had to come a time when Brooks' reliance on his formula of a druid seeking out an Ohmsford and manipulating him into undertaking a quest to save the Four Lands would catch up with him and it has in this book.

In what is probably the best of the Shannara books (remembering that none of the pre-Shannara books had been published by that point), The Druid of Shannara, Walker Boh emphatically stated that the new druidic order he established would not be based on
Feb 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was ready for some light reading after dredging through David Copperfield for the better part of November and December, and thought, "why not read some more of those Shannara books I used to read back in Jr. High?" So I did. The result? Lukewarm at best.

While I certainly purchased "Isle Witch" as part of a trilogy, I still expected it to be largely a stand-alone novel. So it wasn't until after nearly 300 pages of the druid gathering the group together for an epic quest in search of some all-p
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
The first in a trilogy this book is an introduction to a fantastical story. When an elf is found floating on flotsam in the sea with a map with mysterious symbols, a thirty year mystery is brought to light. The elven king's brother has gone on a expedition in search of ancient magic but never returned. Walker Boh, the last remaining druid persuades the current elven king to finance a new expedition. The people he has chosen to go with him have special skills of their own. The Ilse Witch also wan ...more
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara - Isle Witch is unlike other books by Brooks in that it opens introducing an element of the steampunk genre and this Brooks does very well. However, the book then becomes rather dull, even with the various quests there is really no serious danger or action involved and I was left feeling like I was just reading filler. However, the last 100 pages come with some plot twists and a moment that even feels a bit like you're reading Sherlock Holmes. I also appreciated ...more
Drew Warner
Where to start?

Expecting the first book of a trilogy to be anything other than lead up was my own fault I suppose. Isle Witch starts with an interesting discovery, propels to a great adventure, and then stalls after about one hundred pages.
Brooks tries to jump start the novel at a few dramatic/action-packed points which really aren't action packed or dramatic feeling at all.

It's hard to believe that anything of great importance will happen to any of the important characters in the first book s
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brooks is such a good author and no matter how many times I read his books, I always enjoy them.

This series takes place a hundred or so years after the last. A man is found floating near the shore, his tongue and eyes cut out. He carries a map and the ring of the ruling family of the Elves. Walker Boh, only Druid of the four lands, is asked to translate the map and finds that it points to the location of a powerful magic, far across the sea. So he sets about gathering a group to go find it, all
Oct 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Since it's been 24 years since I last read a fantasy from this popular author, I thought I'd give him another go. This is the first book of a trilogy which finds a motley crew of adventures on a mission to find out what happened to an earlier mission and to recover some artifacts and hopefully get their greedy little hands on some new magic. There are elves, a druid, a seer, "Rovers" (like a gypsy), and all sorts of magic aboard the airship Jerle Shannara. It's an easy read but moves at a glacia ...more
Joe Talbot
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those who love Terry Brooks this book does not dissapoint. The entire series takes the reader on a journey to the far reaches of the fourlands and beyond, and displays some of the most provocative writing in this series to date. The basic elements of a good Shannara tale abound, but the twists its twists and turns definately keep the reader from dozing off into rehersed repetition. It is a wonderful storyline, and it brings to light some of the practical dilemmas of a character whose persona ...more
Bill Adams
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A re-read (maybe the fifth or sixth) of Ilse Witch, book one of the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara by Terry Brooks

Brief Summary:

As a Wing Rider is doing his daily flights over the Blue Divide, he spots a castaway. Turns out, the castaway was an Elf prince who set out 30 years prior to discover a forgotten magic across the ocean. Blind and mute, the castaway carries a map. When the Druid Walker deciphers the map, he brings together a ragtag team of warriors, magic-users and a young boy with a myste
Jun 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooks really took a change of pace with this novel, as it's pretty clear from the outset that the trilogy is more or less an adventure on a whim. Sure, there are reasons for all the characters to be involved in the journey, but it's not an immediate need as in almost all of Brooks' other novels. It was quite refreshing to see the characters conduct a bit more planning and have a bit more preparation - as the successes seem more earned rather than luck. That, and Walker, one of my favorite chara ...more
Rocky Sunico
Feb 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shannara
The Jerle Shannara books are somewhat refreshing but somewhat unfocused in terms of direction. I appreciate the efforts for Terry Brooks to take the Shannara series in a new direction, I'm not entirely comfortable with where he's taken the series so far.

The concept behind the Jerle Shannara reeks too much like the Weatherlight from Magic: the Gathering fame. Maybe it's just me, haha.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brooks once again hits a home run. Not only does he bring some humanity to a typically cold character, he also humanizes someone that appears quite detestable. I am admittedly biased with the Shannara world, as I have enjoyed the Four Lands and all of its tales thus far. I do not anticipate falling away from this world any time soon.
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's Terry Brooks. You know you'll be in safe hands when you read a fantasy novel by him. A bit of whimsy, wonder, magic, & daring adventure await. Elves, dark-beings, stones of power, a mysterious Druid, they're familiar and yet Brooks makes them entirely his own with each series he continues to write. :)
Jul 04, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book is really boring. I know Brooks plot is is signature (it never changes), so I was prepared for the whole 'druid turns up out of the blue etc etc'. but the storytelling is monotonous, the characters are boring and the whole thing drags on and on.
Anna Zollinger
the storyline was decent, but I felt like I had to force myself to read it after 3 chapters. I didn't end up finishing the book.

it wasn't terrible, but it only gets 1 stars from me because it gives you no real motivatoion to keep reading.
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
Hands down, this is the BEST Shannara book I've read so far!
Maria Rose
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was prepared to find another repeating storyline but this trilogy series has a surprising view as it has a more positive tone to it.
The tale starts with the recovery of a castaway floating in the water, who turns out to be the long lost brother of the current Elven King. He was identified by the bracelet that he was wearing. He was also found with a map. The Elven King called the Druid, Walker to him to discuss the map. After discussion and evaluation by Walker, it was decided that an expediti
Jonathan D
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans and Terry Brooks fans
[Book #1]

As a huge Terry Brooks Fan, I have to say that I wasn't disappointed with Isle Witch. It may seem to most people that Terry repeats himself in some of his books/series(which he kind of does), but he seems to use similar tropes(hero's journey, wise sage, quest, etc.) and he still seems to make it fresh. He does a good job of establishing the world that he writes and he literally expands the world in this novel. In Elf Queen of Shannara, he implied that there was more land past the blue d
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library, stars-3
The synopsis is very compelling, which led me to have some expectations that probably led to my disappointment. I think I was hoping for a different story style, because it seems all these Shannara books have the same style. Ilse Witch starts off really great, and I really felt the idea was fantastic. However, it seemed dull after the beginning, with characters that seem plain and boring. The characters I did care about just didn't live up to my expectations. Like I said in the beginning my expe ...more
Ian yarington
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Walker is one of my favorite characters from the previous trilogy, I love the way he was a reluctant druid, and the way Brooks related his reluctant nature to the way Allanon operated. He has grown so much as a character and it's great to follow him through his journey's. If I was to make one critic it would be that so much time passed between books that there is more lore and history that I wasn't able to gather, but it does come out in exposition and it all follows the general formula that Bro ...more
Dejanira Dawn
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-reads, own
So last night I read that the audiobook I was reading for this was abridged, which means a lot was left out. This actually makes me sad because i feel like I miss so much. I'm going to reread all the books I've listened to that were abridged after I read all of his books to see how much detail I missed. But other than that, I loved the book! I'm happy to be back in the world of Shannara and seeing Walker again!
Scott Cook
I tried listening but found myself still unsure of who the different characters were even as I neared the end of the book. For me, that probably meant I wasn't paying the utmost attention throughout the book which implies it wasn't able to strongly hold my attention. I was still entertained though which is a good thing.
Alex C.
Trash, just fucking shit.

Sorry for the vulgar language, but the plot was beyond bland, the characters ad NO depth to them and where basically slates with a few scratches on each, and the writing and amount of spelling errors made me want to strangle someone.

So overall the effort put into the book made me have a cardiac arrest and manage to get to the brink of death.
Rose Boyer
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The start of a new adventure ~ it's been quite awhile since I last read this series. It's nice to have a series with original thought and that which mentions aspects of history from the original books. Time for brother and sister to meet. :)
Mar 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read a lot of Terry Brooks and although I enjoyed the book - loved the opening setting - no wow factor throughout the rest of the book, which is unfortunate given that it's the first in a Trilogy.
Lucía Ramírez García
This reminded me a lot of LOTR!! It was good, but there were so many characters it was confusing at times and it was probably unnecessarily long.
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

Voyage of the Jerle Shannara (3 books)
  • Antrax (Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, #2)
  • Morgawr (The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, #3)
“Past, present, and future, the symbiosis of our lives," the old man continued quietly, gently. "Our birth, our life, our death, all tied into a single package that we spend our time on this earth unwrapping. Sometimes we see clearly what it is we are looking at. Sometimes we do not. Sometimes things happen to distract or deceive us, and we must look more carefully at what it is we hold.” 3 likes
“We live our lives hiding from the things that displease and discomfort us. We reinvent ourselves and our history, constantly placing things in a light most favorable to us. It is in the nature of mankind to do this. Mostly, our deceptions are small ones. But they gather weight through numbers, and having them revealed all at once can be crushing. As well, there are larger truths that, exposed, seem more than we can bear, and so we hide them most carefully.” 2 likes
More quotes…