Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks – A Review

So, I have had this book, and the accompanying two for a number of years now, but never got around to reading them until now.  I’m not sure what took so long, but after reading the first book of the Word and the Void trilogy, I wish I had read it earlier.

For those unfamiliar with Terry Brooks, he wrote the very successful Shannara series.  It was in those books, more to the point the latter ones in the series which mentioned his concepts of the Word and the Void, which in turn made me seek these out – even though they had been written years earlier.

In summary, Running with the Demon takes place over four days time.  We are introduced to the main protagonist, Nest Freemark who is all of fourteen years old and yet the crux on which the book and the whole series rests.  Even though she’s young, she knows she is different as she has magic and no one else does except for two people.  One of them is her Gran and the other is John Ross who is a Knight of the Word.

John Ross is sent to Hopewell by the Word to stop the catastrophe which will happen on the fourth of July.  He knows this will happen as he dreams of the future that will come to pass unless he can prevent it.  That problem is the demon that the Void has sent to cause the disaster, as well as the role that Nest must play and the truth that she must face.

Brooks does a fantastic job of chronicling the day’s events up until the cataclysmic end. He makes the characters realistic and grounded even though some might have abilities such as magic. The heroes are heroic, but flawed – which make the best kind of heroes. Super-heroes are great and all, but those with flaws are more relatable and thus more human. The threat of the demon, the feeders and the maentwrog are impending and evil, but made to seem like they are just a part of everyday life. Everything about the book feels familiar, as if Nest’s house was your house and the town was your town. And as the days passed by in the book, it felt as if you lived them.

That is my favourite type of writing – I suppose we could just call it good writing.  A good author makes you care.  Care about the characters, the places, people and things and the outcome of events.  Good, if not great, solid writing.

I have enjoyed all of the Shannara books to date and was a little worried going into this one that I might not enjoy it as much, which is why it might have sat around the house for so long without my reading it.  I had no reason to be.  This book is fantastic and I recommend it to all.

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