Morgawr, the end of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Trilogy is my 10th Terry Brooks novel read in the saga and histories of The Four Lands the author created. It closed the door on this trilogy and yet, it hints that the world of The Four Lands moves on despite the book having ended, just like the end of The Sword of Shannara Trilogy and The Heritage of Shannara series.
This fictional world of The Four Lands endures continuously even after the last sentence of any book in the series is read.
Morgawr is a great end to a trilogy that while built into three books is very much one singular story, which differentiates it a bit from the two series that came before in Sword and Heritage. And it doesn’t wane or wear thin. Perhaps it’s normal for someone reading their 10th book in a franchise to start seeing where things are going, but even with that “franchise” canon, Brooks still finds a way to surprise you and subvert your expectations.
The back cover shortened synopsis gives the least away if you’re not familiar with the first two books in this particular trilogy, saying “With the armies of darkness swarming against the rapidly dwindling members of the Jerle Shannara, the last stand between good and evil begins. . . .”
That might be a bit more hype than I would give it, but it is still accurate to what takes place in this third installment.
This trilogy is of equal quality to the two series that preceded it, which is saying something because you would expect that, despite all of the world-building, at a certain point, given a canon of ten books, Brooks would experience a sort of diminishing returns, and yet, that isn’t the case. The canon actually makes the story stronger the farther in you get.
In fact, the same holds true for every book in the series I have read up to this point. The nine prior, while focusing on different characters or plotlines, all build chronologically and in lore to the greater Four Lands that exists.
Back to Morgawr, it’s final in it’s ending, and yet it doesn’t close the door. If you didn’t know there was more, you could leave this be, but if you were still interested in The Four Lands, you could pick up the next trilogy; The High Druid of Shannara, which I plan to crack open at some point in the future.
And maybe in spite or because of the fact that this book represents the end of the trilogy, the memorable quotes from the pages are much more timely for an ending of a trilogy and yet still timeless:
- The experience had been horrific but empowering.
- The future is a map drawn in the sand, and the tide can wash it away in a moment.
- It seemed impossible. But then most wonderful things did until someone accomplished them.
- It was only a dream, but wasn’t reality conceived in dreams?
- All this wandering about the larger world had a way of making you feel disconnected from everything, as if your life was something so elusive that you spent all the time allotted to you chasing after it and never quite catching up.
- Friendship required space and tolerance. Love required no less.
- But that was the nature of things. You got so much time and you made the best of it. In the end, you needed to feel that the choices you had made were mostly the right ones.
- Life was a gift you accepted without questioning its generosity or reason.
- …when nothing else could save you in this world, luck would always do.
That Terry Brooks has kept me captivated, after ten novels, is pretty impressive, when you consider it’s just one singular world. Of course, the first trilogy was hundreds of years prior to when Morgawr takes place, so it’s possible that my love of history and the fact that it’s not 100% sequential one after the other is a major factor in that. I understand the world. At this point, I understand the history and lore and beliefs of all of the established characters and races I have encountered in the first ten books, and I look forward to what comes next.
As always, I suggest you start with the Sword of Shannara trilogy, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. This is an amazingly approachable series that you could jump in at any book, but I am always a fan of starting at the beginning.