cover image Small Magic: Short Fiction, 1977-2020

Small Magic: Short Fiction, 1977-2020

Terry Brooks. Del Rey, $28.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-525-61996-3

Though Brooks states, “For me, writing a short story is much harder than writing a novel,” the 11 entries in this confident collection demonstrate his considerable skill in using the short format to further explore his established fantasy worlds. “Imaginary Friends” and “Warrior” return to the setting of the Word and the Void series, while “An Unfortunate Influx of Fillipians” reenters the world of the Magic Kingdom series. The collection’s high points are the stories that flesh out the universe of Brooks’s decades-long Shannara epic fantasy saga. Readers hooked on this Tolkienesque world will be especially pleased by a prequel and sequel to series debut The Sword of Shannara: “Allanon’s Quest” follows the eponymous druid’s search for an heir to the royal line who can oppose the evil Warlock Lord, Brona, immediately prior to the events of the series, while “The Black Irix” reintroduces a charismatic rogue, Panamon Creel, who persuades the Ohmsford brothers to join him in seeking out a missing valuable. By emphasizing characterizations and human relationships, Brooks is often better here than in his sprawling, action-packed novels. This is an easy pick for Brooks fans. (Mar.)