It appears that Terry Brooks is getting darker in his old age. The second book in the Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy is a good bit more grim than most of his writing. I don’t remember him killing off so many of his characters in previous novels and certainly not in such violent ways. This novel has more of an apocalyptic feel to it than his other work. It continues right after the first novel ends with a group of druids and the Ohmsford boys, and a company of others accidentally going into the Forbidding searching for the missing elf stones. They encounter the demonic creatures who live in this land, who had been locked away with Elven magic in the form of the Ellcrys, which is dying, allowing the magic protecting the Four Lands from the Forbidding to weaken.
Although I certainly don’t mind my fantasy being dark, it seems odd coming from Brooks. I have read so many of his novels, and this seems a bit of a departure for him. All the same, the writing is strong, the pacing is good, and the action sequences work. There are almost too many characters to keep track of, but that problem gets solved with the author killing off many of these characters during the course of this book. Perhaps that was the reason he started off with so many characters to begin with. Although I didn’t like this as much as book one, this was a good sequel, and I look forward to reading the final chapter of this trilogy.