You know the saying “It’s like riding a bike”? Well, The Last Druid by Terry Brooks isn’t that.
It’s more like learning to ice skate.
And while I suppose this could be said of any series after a year since you read the previous book, it seemed more pronounced here.
When Drisker Arc was first mentioned, I couldn’t remember who Drisker Arc was. Never you mind that he’s our hero. I thought he was the antagonist.
But no, that’s Clizia Porse, whom I remembered very little about.
It’s odd that I forget a story so much I disconnect this badly.
After completing the first two chapters, I went and re-read my review of The Stiehl Assassin. That helped a little bit, but I still felt detached from the characters and story.
So much so that I really struggled to get into The Last Druid. What normally would have taken me 3-5 days, lasted a full two weeks.
So while it wasn’t like riding a bike, it felt more like ice skating.
It wasn’t so bad as starting from scratch, but I had to relearn balance and movement, despite having been quite good at it a few decades ago.
The Last Druid Review
The Last Druid begins literally where The Stiehl Assassin ends.
Tarsha Kaynin is hanging by a thread at the bottom of a cliff. Clizia Porse assumes she is dead.
Tarsha uses the wishsong to raise herself back to the top to find her brother dead and Drisker gone, stuck in the Forbidding.
Meanwhile, Darcon Leah and Ajin D’Amphere, the Skaar Princess, are fighting their way to the Skaar Homeland with a whole host of people in tow hoping to end the eternal winter on Skaarsland.
And Belladrin Rish, having just killed the Skaar infiltrator whose name I’ve forgotten already as well as the Federation leader, Ketter Vause.
This is like strapping on the ice skates.
You’re getting familiar to the feel of your foot in the skate again. Feeling the leather or whatever material it’s made out of. You feel the pressure as the laces are tied.
It’s familiar, yet foreign. Something you haven’t done in awhile.
Then the story propels forward.
Getting on the Ice
After you’re all strapped in, you stand up and take a few wobbly steps toward the rink.
These are stilted and awkward, perhaps a little painful. Once you get on the ice, your movements are erratic and slow.
That’s how I felt during the first few chapters of The Last Druid.
I quickly recalled Tarsha and Drisker, and since the first few chapters were about them, I quickly relished them. Becoming comfortable after some initial discomfort.
But as soon as the POV switches, and it switched a lot, I quickly grew frustrated with the story.
Here were all these characters I’d forgotten and had storylines I don’t care about. I just want to follow Tarsha and Drisker.
And, truthfully, even at the end the only other POV I cared about was Dar and Ajin’s. I skimmed every occasion of Shea Ohmsford, and was only mildly interested in Belladrin.
Even Clizia Porse’s few POV scenes I quickly sped through. I simply didn’t care about the old women’s failed attempts to be idiotic.
This lack of interest made the, say, first 40% of the book really drag and I had the hardest time getting into it.
It all starts coming back
After those first few very awkward moments on the ice, you start to get your rhythm.
Of course, it’s slow, and you might fall or run into the wall, but you get back up again and you get moving again.
If you’re by yourself, it’s easy enough to test the frozen waters, but if your skating with a crowd, some apprehension might exist.
Likewise, the story of The Last Druid quickly came back to me, but my care for it did not.
I loved the initial three books and read them all at once since I had been introduced to the series a little late in the game. And I still ended up enjoying The Last Druid.
A lot more than some of the more recent books I’ve read.
But I’m in no hurry to reread this series, and my interest in picking up The Sword of Shannara after finishing The Stiehl Assassin is all but gone.
I may return to Shannara someday, but it is not this day.
Time is up before you know it
Usually when you go ice skating, you’re paying for a certain amount of time. Say an hour or two hours or however long it may be.
The last time I went skating, I was just getting my groove back when my time ended.
That perfectly epitomizes The Last Druid.
About 75% of the way through the story, I hit my stride. I’ve finally redeveloped some interest in the characters and everything starts to come to a head.
Plotlines are resolved, situations come to a head, and where do I go but down. The falling action of the story arc has arrived.
But I was just getting into it!
Time is up, now we’ve got to tie it off so we aren’t left with any disparaging open-ended feelings.
And The Last Druid does a pretty good job of this. It is the final book in the entire Shannara Chronicles of course.
The final words of the book answer every single question but one.
What is to become of the Druids?
Brooks specifically leaves it up to you to decide what our heroes choose to do, raise it up again or let it die.
We’ll never know.
Or Brooks is leaving it open in case he decides this wasn’t the end and he wants to write some more.
I guess only time will tell.
I know I didn’t talk about The Last Druid hardly at all, and I’m sorry. If you came here wanting to know what the book was about, you just need to read it for yourself.
I’m giving The Last Druid a solid 4/5 stars.
Brooks is an seasoned writer who knows his stuff, and this book is no exception. You won’t be disappointed in this epic conclusion to a decades old franchise.