Friday, September 11, 2009

Terry Brooks - tonight in SLC

To all Fantasy readers in the Salt Lake area, Terry Brooks will be doing a reading from his latest book A Princess of Landover at Sam Weller's Bookstore.

For those unfamiliar with Brooks, you're missing out. I first found him in 8th grade. I'd been an avid reader in early elementary school, but dropped off a little bit in ~6th and ~7th grade. For Christmas my 8th grade year, my parents got me a copy of his first three books (Sword, Elfstones, & Wishsong of Shannara). I plowed through them and thoroughly enjoyed his fantasy world.

What I found as I tried other fantasy novels was that Brooks' fantasy writing was more enjoyable to me than other contemporary fantasy because it felt more approachable and believable. To a large extent, this was due to his character development. His characters are so vivid and lifelike that I found myself more and more attached to them and growing more sympathetic to their plights and their successes. His characters are well fleshed-out realistic individuals with their own quirks, flaws, mannerisms and motivations. Even those who fit into fairly stereotypical molds felt a bit more three-dimensional to me than the other type cast characters in many other fantasy novels I read over the years.

The adventures and struggles within Brooks' storyline were also thought provoking not only from the standpoint of pure adventurism or heroism but also with the added depth of moral dilemmas that allowed for contemplation upon situations in our own society.

This latest book release is the first new book in the Landover series in a long time. The Landover world wasn't as engaging to me as the Shannara world or as immediately relevant as the Word/Void world, but it was still a great read. I've started re-reading the Landover books to get ready for this new book.

I love the idea of a Chicago lawyer frustrated with his life and ready to throw in the towel and start over in a "fantasy land kingdom"...only to find out the time honored truth given to Brer Rabbit in Song of the South: "you can't run away from trouble...ain't know place that far." The imaginative world of Landover and the struggles of Ben Holiday, the Chicago-lawyer-turned-Landover-King, are once again a very thought provoking series of novels with relevant social commentary.

I have fond memories especially of the creativity shown in The Tangle Box and Witches' Brew and I'm looking forward to see what happens to this new Princess of Landover.

Anyway, to those of you in Salt Lake who are Brooks fans, I'll see you at Sam Weller's tonight. And for those who aren't Brooks fans, you ought to check his writing out and let me know what you think. I've fallen behind a little bit (haven't finished reading his last books), but of what I've read, I've thoroughly enjoyed nearly everything (for some reason, I couldn't get into First King...and the movie adaptations are a little blah as many novelizations are...but otherwise, I love his stuff).

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