What do a fourteen year old girl, a wanderer with a wicked limp, and a calculating demon have in common? The answer is three-fold.
Hopewell, Indiana is your typical small town where everyone knows everyone else, it's economy reliant on a single industry - in this case it's the now quiet steel mill as the strike grinds into it's third month. It is also the home of Nest Freemark, growing up under the watchful eyes of her grandparents, a sylvan, a magical dog, and the knowledge that she has a powerful magic. Stranger John Ross drifts into town on a Greyhound bus, and insinuates himself into the life of the Freemark family, claiming that he knew Nest's mother, Caitlin, back in college, before she killed herself. And then there is the demon, focused and determined to destroy not just our way of life, but life itself. They are bound by Hopewell. They are bound by deep secrets. They are bound by magic.
Terry Brooks is one of my favorite fantasy authors, but I'll admit it, I had not plan to read this or any of the other books in The Word and The Void series. Urban fantasy just didn't appeal to me, despite how popular these books became. But then he had to go and link this series to Shannara, my gateway drug into the realm of fantasy. If I didn't read these books, I would never be able to fully understand the foundations of those books. I added them to my stack of books to be read, but still I hesitated, putting book after book in front of them. I shouldn't have. Running with the Demon
is a dark and complex story of the battle between good and evil. This is not Lord of the Rings or even Shannara. It is something completely different and it hooked me right from the start. If you think you know fantasy, if you think it's all wizards and swords, you're wrong.
What I want to do is go right out and read all of the other books in this series and then jump headfirst into the Genesis of Shannara. Terry Brooks has a way of making me feel like that. He has since the first time I picked up The Sword of Shannara
. But I will be patient, I will savor these books. I will allow myself to fully enjoy them and I will say to anyone who has debated reading them because they aren't Shannara, to quit debating and start reading today.