Witch Wraith is the third and final book in Terry Brooks’ The Dark Legacy of Shannara series. I liked the previous two books and this one was about on par. You really know what you are getting with a Brooks novel and there was nothing shocking, but at the same time it was extremely entertaining with a good bit of emotion packed away. I will not try to spoil anything for those that have not read it yet. If you have read it, keep reading from here.
-I feel like Brooks missed out on a golden opportunity to explore an idea. When Redden finds the Elfstones inside the Forbidding, he comes to a realization: that maybe this banishment to this land was unfair. His new friend Tesla Dart does not seem evil to him at all. She helps him and he makes a promise to her that she can stay in the Four Lands. Unfortunately when the Ellcrys is reborn, Tesla is sucked back to the Forbidding.
I really wish Brooks would have went deeper with this idea. Maybe there are multiple factions in the Forbidding. The Darkling Boy that originally stole the Elfstones mentions this in his note. Would have been better to see it, these not-so-evil groups who are just trying to survive, having some kind of resistance to the Straken Lord. Also, did anyone think that the note would be signed by Tael Riverine? That would have been a pretty cool ending if the Straken Lord ended up being the boy who fell in love with the elf girl. Oh well.
-It was pretty obvious during the Railing’s conversation with the Tanequil that he would not get the Grianne he wanted. The Ilse Witch wants to take control of the Jarka Ruus after she kills the Straken Lord. There was nothing shocking about it, nor was it shocking when she turned on Railing & Redden.
-I feel like the ending was a bit rushed. There should have been about one hundred more pages to really do it justice. The death of Cymrian was excellent (and sad), but then it was like “okay, let’s go to the city and make you a tree!”
Or the entire battle, which seemed to be at a standstill. I thought this was the battle that would help unite the Four Lands. Instead, the elves needed no help from the Dwarves and Bordermen. If Brooks wanted to keep this world fresh, he could have had the other races join the fight and actually defeat the demons, even with the Ilse Witch leading them.
I think it would have been more interesting to go in this direction: As the sisters arrive, Redden stops them, explaining that the Forbidding is wrong and that the two lands need to merge and become one again. Who gets to decide which creatures are evil? To me that would have been a pretty cool ending. You could still kill off Grianne the same way by having Redden use the red elfstones to defeat her. After that though, you would have a whole new world, new problems to contend with.
Those were my only problems with the book. Some of the stuff was extremely powerful, such as the idea of allowing your sibling to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. I do not know how a person could really do that.
I also love that the Four Lands changes. It has been hundreds of years since the last time the Ellcrys failed. Obviously the quest will be similar, but not necessarily the same. In a small region, it is cool to see the same cities and towns visited and that they do change over time. Although, how come we do not see much of the Border Cities, or almost anything of the Dwarves?