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Tolkien & Beyond: Terry Brooks' Modern Magic

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Tired of fantasy books that only take place in medieval-type worlds? Want to be able to relate to the world of your favorite characters for once? Then you should read Terry Brooks’ The Word and the Void trilogy! The Word and the Void takes place in Hopewell, Illinois in the 1990’s. The story centers on John Ross, who is a Knight of the Word. The Word is the good magical power that fights against the Void – the powers of evil. John Ross is sent to protect a girl named Nest Freemark, a girl who helps him in one of his quests against the Void. John Ross enlists her help and protects her from demons invading Hopewell. Years later, he must find her again and ask for help finding the gypsy morph child – a creature of wild magics that will one day be the savior of the world. As much as I love the historical-style fantasy novels, it’s refreshing to read about characters in my own world. It makes the idea of magic seem so real!

Terry Brooks went back to this magical world more recently, as well, in his trilogy The Genesis of Shannara. In this trilogy, Brooks shows what Armageddon could look like – just with the magic of the Word and the Void. In The Genesis of Shannara, Logan Tom is a Knight of the Word trying to do what he can to help save the world, despite how close they are to the end. Logan Tom has to find the gypsy morph that was carried by Nest Freemark over a century ago – except it is now in the form of a teenage boy. Brooks uses this trilogy to link The Word and the Void with his extended Shannara series. He bridges the gap between the two, showing that the events of The Genesis of Shannara are all a part of the Great Wars. The Great Wars are referenced many times throughout the Shannara series, but there was never an explanation. This trilogy provides more background for the series, and makes the world of Shannara seem more connected to our own world.

The Word and the Void is one of my favorite fantasy series, and I would highly recommend it as well as The Genesis of Shannara, especially if you’re up for a magical world a bit closer to home. But if you want to read The Genesis of Shannara, don’t forget to read the Shannara series first!

–Alyssa Krueger

Photos: fantastic fiction


Written by whitney teal

May 5, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Posted in Tolkein and Beyond

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  1. The idea of magic is an interesting one, and I can understand the fascination almost.

    Also, I love your liberal use of exclamation points so very, very much. 🙂

    On another note, I wonder if the Void is responsible for the abominable aesthetic taste of the 90s. 😀


    May 18, 2010 at 10:14 am

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