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Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Adapted by: Robert Place Napton
Cover Artist: Edwin David
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345494627
Date: 25 March 2008 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Jair Ohmsford is having nightmares. Having destroyed the last of the Ildatch, a book of evil magic, he finds he cannot rest -- something is wrong and he must learn what it is.

In Dark Wraith of Shannara, an illustrated sequel to Wishsong of Shannara, Terry Brooks returns to this young hero in an exploration of magic's dangers and temptations.

Jair and his sister Brin share the power of the wishsong -- a musical magic that can change reality. Brin can change things in reality, but Jair can only create the illusion of change. He used this power to trick the Mwellrets (a race of magic-using reptiles), disguising himself as the dead Weapons Master Garet Jax in order to burn up the last page of the Ildatch.

Problem was, his illusion was a little too good; Jair nearly lost himself inside that magical disguise.

After visiting Brin and her husband, Rone Leah, on the way home, Jair is visited by the ghost of Allanon, the last of the Druids. Allanon warns him that the Mwellrets haven't given up their dark quest for power and have enlisted a sorceress called the Croton Witch in their latest scheme. They intend to force their way into Paranor, home of the Druids, and plunder their vast stores of knowledge.

Thus empowered, nothing could stop them from ruling the world.

Nothing except Jair and his magic.

Jair seeks out his comrade, the Gnome tracker Slanter, and they hurry to find the ex-Druid Cogline and Cogline's granddaughter, Kimber Boh. But they are too late -- both have been kidnapped by the Mwellrets and are being taken to Paranor's hiding place. With Cogline's knowledge, they can restore the missing Paranor to the world and claim its power for themselves.

If Jair -- now distrustful of his own magic -- and Slanter can't beat them to it.

Robert Place Napton walks a fine line in writing this graphic novel. Working from an extensive plot by Terry Brooks, he nevertheless makes the tale of Jair and his contemporaries his own. The boy worries about using the magic and how much he could lose if the temptations of power prove too much. Given the brief span of pages, however, there is not much time to explore this dilemma as deeply as Brooks has in the Shannara novels.

Edwin David creates vivid portrayals of the characters, crafting images of Jair, Brin, Allanon and Kimber in particular that evoke the essence of the characters. The dark mood of much of the story is conveyed by the heavy shadows and the way that clothing often conceals the faces of the characters -- heroes and villains alike -- so that very little lies in plain sight.

Fans of the Shannara novels especially will want this volume, as it represents a true sequel to the first trilogy. New readers might want to read the first three books before delving into this, however, as some knowledge of the story so far would be very helpful.

Recommended.

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