Orbit, h/b, £18.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
The second in the Legends of Shannara duology picks up where part one left off but with the addition of a new character: the ragpicker. Scruffy and harmless looking, he sings to himself as he searches for a legend, but the first person he meets gets a sharp lesson in not judging by appearances and his true intentions become clear.
Panterra finds himself the reluctant bearer of the black staff but he knows little of its secrets. Adrift from his tracking partner and best friend, Prue, he sets out to find her, taking the burden of the unknown magic with him. The Elf Princess Phryne is trapped in her stepmother’s clutches and can only wait and hope for rescue. The Elfstones have vanished, the Troll armies are still amassing and Prue stumbles across the ragpicker’s path to detrimental consequence.
The Measure of the Magic did clear up many of the questions part one left me with and the title of the series became clearer. Brooks really does plunge us into the histories of Shannara and once again we find ourselves on a quest to find the Elfstones and save the valley dwellers. There isn’t much more to say, other than once again this book contains all the elements you would expect from such an established fantasy author. We have pairs of heroes questing, a blossoming love, magic, demons, danger, double crossing and a good dose of classic narrative giving a great opportunity for escapism.