If Terry Brooks uses the word "shrugged" one more time I will scream. Moody teenagers shrug, not the heroes of epic fantasy. I can't believe his editor didn't take a read pen to every single appearance of that word in the text. Other than that, at a little more than a quarter through the book the writing style of "The Wishsong of Shannara" continues to be a definate improvement over "The Elfstones of Shannara." I would also add that the plot is more complex than that of the Elfstones while also being easier to follow and generally more artistically interlaced. There's a definite learning curve in Brooks' work and I'd be interested to know where it caps out over the course of his thirty + year career. He also seems to be much more certain of his audience (young teenage boys) and writes consistently with them in mind (Note that the story cannot primarily be about Brin but about Jair's quest to save Brin).
In other news, he has dispensed with the human meatshields of the Elfstones. Doing so, however, means a return to the stock-in-trade company-on-a-quest motif and begins to drag the book back toward "The Sword of Shannara" and second-rate Tolkien pastiche. It also runs the risk of Brooks repeating himself. The skull bearers are replaced by Mord Wraiths, the besieged Wesland replaced by the besieged Eastland, Elstones and Sword of Shannara replaced by the Wishsong, and the Reaper replaced by the Jakra. It's a good thing that he decided to end the first series at this point as it really does run the risk of becoming a mere "Hardy Boys meets Tolkien."