Jarka Ruus - The High Druid of Shannara (Book 1)

There is a reason I love reading fantasy novels. The stories are so imaginative and many of the characters noble. There is such a lack of this in society today that I find it refreshing that there are people in this genre of novels that have redeeming traits. There are always lessons that are learned in these books as well as good against evil. Jarka Ruus is no exception.

The book is about a redeemed witch that has become the leader of the Druids and the boy who searches to free her from those who wish to eliminate her. Grianne Ohmsford was introduced in The Voyage of Jerle Shannara series as a deceived witch of ultimate evil. She has become the leader of the Druids in Jarka Ruus and has been eliminated as leader through a dark and mysterious way. Her nephew, Pen Ohmsford, has been charged with finding her and bringing her back to Paranor to regain control of the Druid Council.

The characters are all faced with difficult choices. Pen has to decide whether to seek the aunt he barely knows, or try to continue his life as he wants. While the decision is somewhat made for him, he does choose the noble path and takes up the cross to find her. Grianne herself has choices to make. Does she continue on the path of a good Druid, or revert to her old self in order to survive? Terry Brooks makes his characters with personal flaws which makes it easy for a reader to identify with them. Whether the character struggles with anger or impulsiveness, the characters continually learn from these flaws and makes the reader contemplate how they can better deal with their own flaws. I like that the book is a bit introspective in this way while a good adventure with danger is occurring.

Will the book change your life? No...but will you have fun reading it? I believe so! This has been the most intriguing of Terry Brooks' Shannara books since The Heritage of Shannara series. If you want to read these books, start with The Sword of Shannara and work your way forward. Brooks references past books in the series as you read through them. You might suffer through the first book, The Sword of Shannara because it is strikingly similar to Lord of the Rings. However, the rest of his books are more original, and I really enjoyed them. I recommend them as a fun read that will have you at the end of your seat!

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