50 years after the events of Sword of Shannara end, the grandchildren of the central characters from that book have their own adventures in Elfstones of Shannara. The titled Elfstones are the same ones Shea Ohmsford used to help him defeat the Warlock Lord 50 years earlier. They have been passed onto his grandson, Will. Drawing a quick mental family tree shows that Wil is only 1/8th elf. Is that elf enough to use the stones?
The Ellcrys, a tree from “another age” has been the prison warden of demons for ages. Now the tree is dying and the demons are escaping their prison. It is up to Eventine Elessedil’s granddaughter Amberle and Shea’s grandson Wil to replant the tree’s seed and again imprison the demons.
Elfstones of Shannara really only has 2 plot lines: one following Amberle and Wil and the other following Ander, Eventine’s youngest son. Ander’s role is to lead all the races of the four lands in defense against the demons.
In hindsight we now know Sword of Shannara is a trilogy and a little part in a multi multi part Shannara series. Though if I had to guess, I doubt Terry Brooks even had this book 2 in mind. Or at least he wasn’t sure his first book would be published or gain the success that it did. I say this because there doesn’t seem to be a cohesiveness between book 1 and book 2. Brona, the Warlock Lord from book 1, doesn’t show up in any form in Elfstones of Shannara. The Shannaran sword that was so vital in Sword of Shannara and the name of this trilogy is only mentioned once at the end as one of the characters notes that everyone during the Sword of Shannara times are either dying or dead. Everyone except Alanon who (again) threatened to go off and die at the end of the book. Does anyone actually believe it anymore?
I now understand why the whole Shannara Series is made up of so many trilogies and duologies: the stories are all fragmented and the only thing linking all of them are certain characters like Alanon. Strange you could say the same about a series like Chronicles of Narnia, and yet they seem more connected than the Shannara Series.
I mentioned in my review of Sword of Shannara that the series doesn’t seem quite as advanced as other epic adult fantasies and now I am more convinced than ever of this. Knowing what I know now, I wish I never started this series; it really isn’t all that good. Well, the Sword of Shannara trilogy anyways. Hopefully the other books are better because I still have 20 odd books to go to finish.