TERRY BROOKS NOVEL series “The Word And The Void” is a trilogy telling the story of Nest Freemark and John Ross fighting the battle against evil daemons. He is not an author I’ve read anything off before, nor is the urban fantasy my favorite genre, but when I by chance discovered this trilogy collection book, I found it to look very interesting. Now I’m finished reading the three books and its was not an all positive experience.
First a short resume of the novels: Each of the three books takes places in different times in Nests and Johns life. The first book “Running with the Demon” takes place when Nest is a teenager and joins forces with John Ross to fight on the side of the Word against the daemonic world of the Void. In the second book “A Knight of the Word” John Ross can no longer carry the burden of being a sworn knight of the Word. Denouncing the knighthood is catastrophic for both John and the world, so Nest must take upon her to convince John to return to his duties. The last book is 15 years from the first encounter between Nest and John and this time they must join forces against an old and wise daemon the want the magic gypsy morph John has captured.
Elaborate summaries are available at Wikipedia.
As such the books are an interesting read. It involves dangerous daemons and creatures living in our world but seldom seen by other people that those few who got magic. It has the classic clash of outnumbered good-guys fighting the casualty filled battle against an relentless and evil enemy. But, when reading the trilogy I could not help thinking that the story is a little thin to fill its many pages. Much of the text is in-between filler stuff, with many offtrack stories that bring nothing to the general story, plus some very elaborate scene description that makes an annoying long reading in between the next few grains of valuable information or plot actions.
Two distinct features of Terry’s writing struck me time and time again. 1) He really likes to use obscure words. I’m not native English, but I almost always read English/American books in their non-translated editions, and its very seldom that I have to do a dictionary look-up of unknown words or phrases (more often when reading pre-60s books though). Looking-up the words he uses reveals that more contemporary word of the same meaning often exists. 2) He gives a very detailed description of the surrounding in which the characters are staged. Actually he spends line after line after line describing the surroundings, but it is seldom that there is any significance to this in relation to the plot.
After finishing reading the books I cannot help feeling that Terry chose poorly when selecting the main character of focus. Terry mainly writes with respect to the viewpoint of Nest Freemark, and this is a shame because the other character in the books, The Knight Of The Word (John Ross), makes for so much more an interesting character. Terry missed the opportunity of writing the story of the lone knight. A knight that didn’t really wanted to be a knight due to the high personal cost, but whom had to continue his quest in order to save the world. And save it two fold by fighting daemons in the daytime, and surviving a nighttime when the price of his magics costs him to live the night in a future where he had failed to save the world from the Void.