Thursday, August 9, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (The Tangle Box - Terry Brooks)

Pardon me if I start slacking on posts again, but things are going crazy around here again.

Magic Kingdom of Landover, book four.

Everything should have been quiet and pleasant for Ben Holiday, the former Chicago lawyer who became sovereign of the Magic Kingdom of Landover. But it wasn't.

Horris Kew, conjurer, confidence-man, and trickster, had returned to Landover from Ben's own world. Alas, Horris had not returned of his own volition--he had been sent by the Gorse, a sorcerer of great evil, whom Horris had unwittingly freed from the magic Tangle Box, where it had long ago been imprisoned by the fairy folk. Now it had returned to enslave those who had once dared condemn it. But first, it would rid Landover of all who could stand in its way...

Soon Ben found himself imprisoned within the gloom of the Tangle Box, lost in its mists and its labyrinthine ways. The only one who could free Ben from the Tangle Box was the lady Willow. But she had disappeared, was gone from Landover on a mysterious mission of her own....


My review:

I'm glad Terry Brooks took that time from the series before coming back to it, because this one feels much better than Wizard At Large. There's more depth of character and more care in the whole kit and kaboodle, and thank God he's broken away from his usual patterns!

Horris Kew, an exile returned to Landover through the magic of an evil being called the Gorse, manages to trap Ben Holiday, along with Strabo and Nightshade (will that old witch EVER clear out of here?!) in the mysterious Tangle Box, a prison of sorts filled with fairy mists where imagination is reality and your worst fears come to life. Willow can't help him, as she's off on a mission to prepare for the fairy birth of her and Ben's child. And Questor Thews and Abernathy can't help either, as they've got their hands full trying to keep Landover from falling apart in the King's absence. There's quite a bit going on, but each plot line remains distinct while still keeping in time with the others.

Abernathy is once again my favorite character, but I'm also growing fonder of Strabo. Stripped of his identity (as everyone is in the Tangle Box), we get to understand him more. And I was also happy to see Edgewood Dirk, the prism cat, make an appearance again, though he wasn't around long enough, in my opinion. What pleased me most with this one was that even though Ben lost himself--yet again--he had companions for the ride that added new complications and food for thought as I watched them interact with each other. And three cheers for someone other than the goshdarned Paladin saving the day!

The only thing that annoyed me was the way Willow's story was handled. For being such an important event, she felt like an afterthought between everything else, and in the end it felt too anticlimactic for me. Oh well, can't have everything.

Your humble book nerd,

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