Dark Wraith of Shannara by Terry Brooks Graphic Novel Review

Title: Dark Wraith of Shannara

Author: Terry Brooks

Illustrations: Edwin David

Adaptation: Robert Place Napton

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN: 9780345494627


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


Possessing an awesome power he is only beginning to understand, young Jair Ohmsford must summon the devastating yet darkly seductive magic of the wishsong on a fateful mission to save his friends . . . and protect the future from the forces of evil.
If you’ve never ventured into the wondrous world of Shannara, consider this an ideal opportunity. Prepare to enter the breathtaking realm of the Four Lands, where beings both noble and sinister have quested and clashed, crossed swords in the names of darkness and light, and engaged in adventures rich with mystery and majesty.

This title has languished far too long in the TBR pile.  The Sword of Shannara was one of the very first fantasy novels that I ever read, and I still have fond memories of the book.  I was drawn to it because of the cover, which was illustrated by the talented Brothers Hildebrandt.  It even had a little fold out poster, which sealed the deal and convinced me to spend my hard earned allowance on the book.  The poster was quickly removed and placed on my bedroom wall, where I would stare at it and dream of lands far away.  I was an odd little teenager, and I think I am an odder adult. 

It’s been a long time since I have read anything by Terry Brooks, but I was reassured after reading the forward.  This graphic novel stands completely on its own, and you don’t have to be familiar with any of the previous novels to understand what’s going on.  After reading the book, I agree – this is something you could pick up and enjoy without having any knowledge of the world of Shannara.   It’s been so long since I read The Sword of Shannara that I only remember a few plot points, but I was able to understand this comic with no trouble.  I think maybe I enjoyed it more, because I had zero expectations for it, and was happy with the fast-paced adventure presented within the pages.

Jair Ohmsford is recruited back into the service of Allanon, after the wizard pays a spectral visit to the hero.  Jair only wants to go home and keep his promise to his sister.  After learning that he has used his wishsong magic to become Garet Nix, the dead Weapons Master, Brin is appalled and worried that Jair will lose himself.  So she makes him vow to never use the magic again.  When he agrees to save the lands of Shannara again, this time from the evil Croton Witch, Jair finds that keeping his word isn’t as easy as he thought.  I enjoyed his inner struggle to not break his promise, but with so much at stake, he finds it very difficult to keep his word.

The story is standard fantasy fare; Jair and a very reluctant companion set off to end an evil threat, one that they have little hope of overcoming.  The action is non-stop, the danger never ending, and I was quickly caught up in the adventure and Jair’s inner struggle to complete the task at hand without resorting to magical aids.  There is really nothing new or groundbreaking here, just a solid little action yarn with lots of fighting and daring do. 

I’m not so sure that I liked the art.  There are samples in the back showing illustrations prior to tone being added, and I liked them better.  I feel that details were lost with all of the toning added to the drawings, and there is almost no white space at all, anywhere in the book.  It just got overwhelming for me, and the visuals weren’t as crisp and clear as I would have liked.

Overall, Dark Wraith of Shannara is a fun read.   I think this would be a good title to coax a reluctant reader into sitting down with a book.  The even pacing and likable hero make for an engaging read.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher