For reasons known only to himself, the King of the Silver River has charged young Penderrin Ohmsford, barely more than a boy, with the daunting task of rescuing his aunt, Grianne, Ard Rhys of the Druid order, from her forced exile in the terrifying dimension of all things damned: the Forbidding. With the noble dwarf Tagwen and the prodigal elven princess Khyber Elessedil by his side, and with the outcome of the bloody war between the Federation and the Free-born at stake, Pen has accepted his mission without question. But not without risk, or sacrifice.
Shadea a'Ru, the ruthless Druid responsible for imprisoning the true Ard Rhys and usurping leadership at Paranor, has sent her agents and assassins in relentless pursuit of Pen and his comrades. In securing the talisman he needs to breach the Forbidding, Pen has paid a devastating price. Now if the Free-born forces, already decimated by the Federation's death-dealing new weapon, should fall, Shadea's domination of the Four Lands will be assured. Nothing short of Pen's success can turn the tide.
But Pen's challenge grows greater when he learns that his parents, Bek Ohmsford and Rue Meridian, have fallen into Shadea's hands. He must try to help them, but once within the walls of Druid's Keep, where Shadea's minions and dark magic lurk at every turn, Pen's survival is far from assured. Yet it will all pale in comparison to the horrors that wait inside the Forbidding, horrors poised to break free upon the Four Lands when the time is right.
©2005 Terry Brooks; (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.
"A great storyteller, Terry Brooks creates rich epics filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters. If you haven't read Terry Brooks, you haven't read fantasy."(Christopher Paolini)
"Terry's place is at the head of the fantasy world."(Philip Pullman)
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Lately I've been listening mostly to the works of Robert Stanek (The Kingdoms and the Elves, his recent story collection) - books that reminded me how much I love the fantasy genre. I must say, and I could be the only one to not like where Terry has been going with the Shannara books, but I just didn't like Jarka Ruus, the first book of the High Druid trilogy. Tanequil was more of the same, and it suffered lots from "middle book syndrome", but unlike Morgawr, the last book from the previous trilogy which was disappointing to say the least, Terry catches stride, returns to form with Straken. Straken was thoroughly enjoyable, a cut above the norm.
"narrator, not so much."
The story was good. Good turns and twists. true to Terry Brooks style. good strong characters, even the evil ones.
The narrator butchered the pronunciation of characters' names, to the point of confusing the the tale.
I still give this book a 5 star, despite the narrators blunders. And if I recommend this book for Shannara fans.
Love his books, but favor Scott Brick narration.
Probably Penn, preserverance against all odds.
His inability to match emotion with the scene he is reading or the voices of the characters.
Maybe, if if the screen writer has vision
Terry Brooks story seems to follow much of the same plot as the rest of the Shannara series, which of itself is a little tiresome. What makes this particular series absolutely horrid is the narrator, and his lack of talent to pronounce words the same way throughout the story. He constantly alters the way he'll pronounce one name or refers to something in the story then pronounces it completely different a bit later. All male voices are the same...whiney and gruff when doing all characters that are not of the "human race". Scott Brick was the narrator in the first book of this series, and he was tolerable...Paul Boehmer has no talent for making the books enjoyable. I wish they wouldv'e paid an extra $50.00 dollars to get someone else...anyone else. Save your credits. *the narrator on the abriged version is much better, and does a wonderful job, however, it is also much shorter and doesn't delve into the story as deep.*
"Overacting is painful"
Primary characters who supposedly had years of experience in politics & intrigue made inexplicably poor choices.
For some reason, Boehmer feels the need to change pronunciation of key words in equally inexplicable ways.
How does Skatelow become Skaytil-oh? The overacting is equally painful. Overly pregnant pauses, misplaced emphasis, and whiny troll voices are just a few of the multitude of unpleasantries.
I've heard Boehmer do Shannara before & didn't notice some of these things, but the narrator of one of the other books in this trilogy was phenomenal, which made Boehmer's performance obnoxious by comparison.
"boehmer is terrible"
Over reaching, mispronunciations, poor narrator boehmer caused me many times to stop listening. He is terrible. I can't believe a producer wasn't correcting him, simple words, not just those specific to Shannara.
"Many threads left untouched.."
Unless I skipped ahead on my Android while listening (something that has happened often), there were major threads that were not tied up. For example 1) Weka Dart's fate in the forbidding. It seemed like he would have a much more climatic ending. After hearing the news that he has won't be able to come back to the real word, he simply says "it sounds boring" and walks off. 2) Tael Riverine. This demon, who is powerful enough to orchestrate an abduction from the forbidding is not able to catch up to Grianne on her way back home? He has no other allies to enlist? He can't walk through
"Good Series but ending is weak"
The first two books of this trilogy are well written and full of twists. In fact it is so involved that you wonder how it can all be wrapped up in the final book. Sadly, the ending is a horrible disappointment. There are some things are just left without explanation (i.e. weka dart & Grianne's surge of power). Other wrap up items seemed rushed (Pied). But the worst part was that the ending made no sense and did not feel consistent with the story at all. It's not that you do know what's coming but rather do not understand why the author goes down that road. There is just no lead in to explain it. This book also suffers from making things waaaay too convenient at the end for the good guys. The first two books demonstrate that the evil forces are calculating and intelligent. For it to end the way it did would have required a complete mental meltdown on their parts. The bottom line is that if you have come along for the journey this far, you will wind up reading this trilogy. It's not bad but it just does not live up to the high standard that Terry has set in the past.
"Narrator ruins an excellent novel!"
I am a HUGE fan of Mr. Brooks and I was not disapointed with this addition to the Shannara Family. However, the narration of this story by Mr.Paul Boehmer is far from enjoyable. He seems to lack the ability to pronounce common every day words & his over use of dramatic pauses puts William Shatner to shame. His soft "sing song" style of reading would be much better suited to children's books.
Much as I like Terry Brooks it does seem that the same themes are repeated ad nauseam. If it just me or do female lead characters die / nobly sacrifice themselves in every book. Not that I object to either the sentiment or even the device but it can get old. In short read one series and then quit to avoid d?j? vu.
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