Friday, June 17, 2011

The Platypus of Shannara: The Platypus Reads Part CII

Ending off the Rover episode-

The appearance of the monster that attacks the camp is carefully handled.  Brooks does a good job of building up our sense of foreboding with the rumors about a demon and then the "coughs" in the dark leading up to the attack.  The creature he describes kept reminding me of the slug beast in Doug TenNapel's "Creature Tech," but maybe that's because I'm reading through it right now.  Once again, Terry Brooks is an adept at narrating action sequences.  Every time there's a fight or a chase, I know exactly what's going on without having to pause or reread.  Wil's use of the Elfstones feels a bit perfunctory, but if we've read "The Sword of Shannara," we know that these things work and will respond to Wil in his hour of need.  Cephelo's reaction to the whole incident is spot-on as is Amberle's.  Eretria's flirty insistence on throwing herself at Wil's head baffles me.  She should be running away screaming after that or at least be in shock.

The road trip that follows gives us a chance to settle down a bit and gather our energy before the next frantic chase to the boarder of the elven kingdom.  We also get a chance for Amberle to be a little more endearing.  She seems to be settling down into "sweet but spoiled teenage girl."  One wonders how she managed to survive on her own for months.  Brooks continually points us to her ability to find food in the wilderness, but that's only one part of the equation.  The reappearance of the Dagda Mor is too reminiscent of a Nazgul, but otherwise the chase scene excellent; especially since we don't see the demon wolves this time.  Allanon shows up and serves as a good explanation for how Wil and Amberle escape without having to do any more fire-flinging.  That shows good restraint on the authors part.  He's varying his episodes to avoid redundancy.  Allanon cuts Amberle more slack than he's usually willing to give.  Again, if we've been following Brooks up to this point, we should realize that it's because he sees some similarity between himself and Amberle and pities her, even in the middle of a full teenage meltdown.  Wil's reaction is spot on.  Knowing a bit more about how the series goes, it seems clear to me that the author has the process of becoming a druid in mind already and is writing in light of it.  Even if Brook's world is "thin" and pulpy, he still creates an underlying cohesion that sustains it and should pass an increasingly added interest to each successive volume.

As an afterthought, teenagers seem to replace hobbits in the world of Shannara.  Maybe Brooks just knows his audience.

...and that bring us up to page 177.    

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