Once your a successful writer, like Terry Brooks, you don’t have to bother with stuff like plot logic and story structure and character development-you can if you want to, but why bother? I read The Sword of Shannara when I was right out of High School, and I wasn’t that crazy about it then. Terry Brooks is one of those writers who inspires non-writers to take up the craft of fiction writing. If this guy got published, so can I. So it is possible that Terry Brooks is personally responsible for most of the up and coming writers of the past twenty-five years or so.
I found Armageddon’s Children in audio book form at my local library and thought I would give it a try. I had passed it up a number of other times, but having worked my way through most of the books I wanted to read, there was little left. The writing is dead and dreadful. The reader, Dick Hill, does what he can with the lifeless prose, tossing in the occasional odd accent and actually singing when song is called for-but it doesn’t really help much.
There are at least four story lines running through Armageddon’s Children, none of which seem to matter much, not to the characters living out the events, not to author dragging his feet before making anything happens, not the reader looking for some reason to keep reading. There are a few loose threads connecting the tales and there is every expectation that they will all met up at some point and something will happen.
After listening to Terry Brooks Armageddon’s Children for twelve hours-the story comes to a jarring non-ending with a cheerful-We Hope You Enjoyed This Book. I’m assuming there is another book, or two, or three. I seldom read new Science Fiction and Fantasy as I once did because everything is a ten volume chronicles with four or five sequels. I like the good old days when every book was a new world to explore and you didn’t need years worth of reading to know what is going on. Terry Pratchett’s Disc World books do a brilliant job of standing on their own with only the briefest of acquaintances with the basic structure of that universe.
Armageddon’s Children left me baffled and pissed off. Something finally starts to happen in the last couple of chapters, and then it is over. I should have known better than to listen to anything by Terry Brooks-and I will not be tempted to ever try again. Terry Brooks must have a lot of fans out there, or there wouldn’t be so many of his books published. He is not my kind of writer. Find some Heinlein or Asimov to listen to instead.