The Gypsy Morph
By: Terry Brooks
From the back cover of the book:
Eighty years into the future, the United States is a no-man’s-land, it’s landscape blighted by chemical warfare, pollution, and plague. In fortified compounds, survivors hold the line against an enemy neither mortal nor merciful; demons and their minions bent on slaughtering and subjugating the last of humankind.
But from around the country, allies of good unite to challenge the rampaging evil. Logan Tom wielding the magic staff of a Knight of the Word, has promised to protect the world’s only hope of salvation. Angel Perez, Logan’s fellow Knight, has risked her life to aid the peaceful elvish race, marked for extermination by the forces of the Void. Kirisin Belloruus, a young elf entrusted with an ancient magic, must deliver his entire civilization from a monstrous army. And Hawk, the rootless boy who is nothing less than destiny’s instrument, must lead the last of humanity to a latter-day promised land before the final darkness falls.
Quite the blurb, for quite the book. Gypsy Morph is the last in the Genesis of Shannara series, that tells the tale of the pre-Shannara world and how it becomes the world of Shannara. As a long time fan of the Shannara books, and of Terry Brooks’, I couldn’t help but start the series. I’m very glad that I did. I’m also a huge fan of alternative history novels, and while this one tells of a alternate future, it feels the same.
There’s likely to be a few spoilers beyond this point, so if you don’t like that sort of thing, stop reading now.
In the first two novels, we meet all the characters as they begin the journeys that will lead them to the end of the world. With demons breathing down their neck, they’ve managed to secure the Loden Stone and the Elfstones as well as begin their trek to the promised land. Brooks takes us through the rest of the story in what feels like a very short time, but really isn’t. The book is an incredibly good read. I only made it to about half way before getting that ever familiar urge to just keep reading until I had it finished. I found myself falling deeper and deeper into a wonderfully sculpted world melded of the one I live in and the one that Terry Brooks has created.
Like usual, the overall plot was a bit formulaic, but the story kept it from being feeling that way. It’s a small nitpick, but one of the laws of writing is broken within the pages. That law being that if there’s a gun on the mantle in the first act, it must go off in the third. In the course of the story, Logan Tom finds a Ventra AV that possesses a weapon called “Carbon Seekers”.
They targeted carbon-based life-forms — everything human, for starters — dispatched a dissolver, and the target simply ceased to exist.
And so, Brooks gives us a horribly tantalizing gun on the mantle. Throughout the rest of the book, I was waiting for it to go off. It never did. But, if that’s the worst thing that I can find about the book, it’s still a pretty good book.
I think that Brooks wrote himself into a bit of a corner by the end of the novel. The series is a very good series. The plot encompasses the death and salvation of races and the rebirth of those races to an entirely new world. And being so epic in scale, I don’t think the ending would have satisfied no matter how it was written. As I have mentioned before, one of the key indicators of a books worth is how well it draws you in to the story, making you want to not put it down and finish it. Another indicator is in whether you are saddened by the fact that, at the end of the story, you have to leave the characters and their world. This series and this novel have both of those things. Well worth the read.
If you want to start at the beginning, and I suggest you should, you can pick up the first two books in the series at Amazon (and since these are affiliate links, you can support this site at the same time!) Book one is Armageddon’s Children and book two is The Elves of Cintra.