We don't tend to recommend much sci-fi/fantasy at BookBrowse.
Partially because the sci-fi/fantasy genre covers such a wide variety of writing
that BookBrowse simply can't do it justice, partly because relatively few
BookBrowse visitors say that they read sci-fi, and partly because there's
relatively little sci-fi/fantasy that seems good enough to warrant inclusion.
Terry Brooks is one writer who continuously delivers the goods - with at
least 24 novels to his name (see full bibliography at
fantasticfiction), most, if not all, of which have been bestsellers, he
continues to find new directions and new worlds in which to express his talents.
Armageddon's Children, the first in a new series (that picks up where his The Word and The Void trilogy ended, but can be read independently), is set in a near-future version of the USA, with a fair dollop of magic thrown in for good measure. It's about 80 years from now, and civilization has collapsed as a result of global ecological disasters, weapons of mass destruction and massive plagues; mutants roam freely and the few remaining survivors are walled up inside makeshift stockades that used to be stadiums.
As always, Brooks's fluid writing style makes even the most convoluted of plots intelligible as the large cast of characters, including demons, street gangs, mutants, elves and giant insects, battle it out.
The first part of this first in a new series offers a refreshing and challenging new look at a post-apocalyptic world, vividly realized and frighteningly plausible. However as the book moves into the second half Brooks's imagination seems to falter and the book teeters dangerously close to becoming formulaic. However, overall Armageddon's Children is an exciting read that few sci-fi aficionados will want to miss.
The real test will come as The Genesis of Shannara series develops (Brooks says there could be as many as 9 or 10 books in the arc) to see whether it has the legs to be an effective standalone series, or just a recasting of his previous books. The second in the opening trilogy, The Elves of Cintra will be published later this month.
This review was originally published in October 2006, and has been updated for the July 2007 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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