Reading: Voyage of the Jerle Shannara (I know, I know …)

Fugit here. Did I miss the entire month of April? Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the spring growth, the Florida sky, or the spellbinding beginning to Season (3) of Game of Thrones on HBO. Either way, it’s gone, and here I am, faced squarely with the beginning of May.

Cool illustration I lifted from Brooks’ site. Hope he doesn’t mind.

So I just finished the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks. They’re the only Brooks novels I’ve read. I had high expectations, as one might choosing to enter such a massively successful body of work. Unfortunately, I have mixed feelings about this trilogy … *spoilers*

First mistake: buying the all-in-one trilogy hardcover. What the actual fuck was I thinking? *massages aching wrists from holding the twelve pound book for hundreds of hours*. Okay, hundreds of hours might be a stretch, but that’s what it felt like.

I’m a slow reader. I can’t burn through a novel in two days. It’s just impossible for me. It takes me a while, in the little bit of time I get to set aside for reading, to finish a novel. Book I: The Isle Witch was slow, but interesting. I don’t mind slow, as long as interesting follows. Book II: Antrax was a step in the right direction. It was fun to see the fantasy world tackle an ancient computer system. But then Book III: Morgawr happened and I couldn’t help but think, “Let’s wrap it up here, Brooks, my goodness …”

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I actually started reading the first sentence in each paragraph and skipping the rest towards the end–Just. Too. Much.

I enjoy multiple perspective storytelling, but when they’re all part of the same storyline it just feels like too much rehashing. I know his style is meant to be high-adventure / epic-ish, but I find the amount of insight and explanation and description and backstory to be intolerable in some areas. I think there are close to a dozen protagonists. Yikes.

A perfect example comes in the end of Morgawr. We finally get the showdown between the witch and the lizard and it read like an episode of Dragonball-Z.

“I am more powerful than you!”Ball of power grows larger.

“How dare you think you’re more powerful than me! Can’t you see my power?!”Opposing ball of power grows even larger.

Then, in the middle of the battle, the perspective changes … Then it changes again, and again (not kidding) … Finally it gets back to the confrontation, but in the middle of the action Brooks rambles out two pages of Morgawr’s backstory! Little late for that, don’t ya think?

I probably won’t read another book by Brooks. *shrugs* I’m eager to dig into some modern sci-fi next. I’d ask for some tips, but nobody reads this blog! Haha.

See you soon, hopefully with some good news about my short work that is currently being considered.