Let me preface this by saying that I am not familiar with Terry Brooks’ other works. I own the first “Magic Kingdom of Landover” book, but I’ve never read it and I have never read any of the Shannara books. That being said, I do not know what ties this book has to Shannara (though I do know it ties in somehow) so I didn’t read “Running With the Demon” as a Shannara but as the first book in a new Trilogy. Some people I’ve met who love Shannara hate this book, while it was actually recommended to me by someone who has read everything Brooks has ever written and says Word and the Void is her favorite of them all.
Disclaimers out of the way, to the review!
Running With the Demon by Terry Brooks
Synopsis (from Goodreads)On the hottest Fourth of July weekend in decades, two men have come to Hopewell, Illinois, site of a lengthy, bitter steel strike. One is a demon, dark servant of the Void, who will use the anger and frustration of the community to attain a terrible secret goal. The other is John Ross, a Knight of the Word, a man who, while he sleeps, lives in the hell the world will become if he fails to change its course on waking. Ross has been given the ability to see the future. But does he have the power to change it? At stake is the soul of a fourteen-year-old girl mysteriously linked to both men. And the lives of the people of Hopewell. And the future of the country.
My Rating 4/5
I’ve written this review a couple of times and, by now, I realize that when I write it I tend to rant about what bothered me-which were a few things-so that it doesn’t really sound like I liked it.
But I did like it, for the most part.
So I’m doing my review a little different. I’m going to break it up into pro and con categories to limit the amount of ranting that I do and to, theoretically, give you a better feel for what worked and what didn’t in the context of the book.
-Moved very slow for the first half of the book
-I felt like I was being beaten over the head with some of the things he wanted his reader to know. Specifically, he kept repeating the words “Cataclysm does not come from one large event but from many small events” Over and over. To the point that I cringed whenever ANOTHER character would say it.
-I don’t feel the antagonist was taken care of properly. It kind of felt like Brooks got bored with what he was writing and so dispatched the main bad guy in less than two paragraphs and not even by either of the main protagonists.
-Nothing surprised me. I could guess at every twist and turn of the book.
-Even when I was slamming my head into my coffee table, I cared enough to keep going and finish the book.
-The book picked up A LOT in the second half of the book.
-When the book finished, despite my disappointment with how the antagonist was taken care of, I still felt satisfied. It ended on a good point and I was excited to start the next book.
-It took some time, but eventually I did like the characters. I never fell in love with any of them or grew attached to them in anyway, but I did like them and I wanted them to succeed. Which, really, is more than I could say in Allegiant.
-Even though Good vs. Evil is a pretty played out story, I liked Brooks’ twist on it and how it works. Rather than Heaven and Hell there is the Word and the Void and the Balance. It was interesting. I would like more information on the Word and the Void so I will probably have to read Shannara (when I figure out the best order to read them in) eventually.
So overall, some things worked really well and some things didn’t. I feel like I would have understood the magic system better if I had read Shannara, but as it stood I could easily pick out how the magic system worked from context. I did end up liking the book-hence the star rating-and I am looking forward to book two. My hope for “Knight of the Word” is that, because all of the back story is out of the way, the story moves much quicker.