Armageddon’s Children (Genesis of Shannara #1) is a 2006 fantasy adventure novel written by Terry Brooks, published by Del Rey Books. Set as the book one of the Genesis of Shannara trilogy, the story follows the quest of two Knights of the Word in protecting two powerful magics in a post-apocalyptic Earth.
- Deep, rich characters
- Well-written story
- Memorable antagonists
- Great world-building
- Writing is well-rounded
Plot: There are four main story lines; the Ghost trying to survive in post-apocalyptic Seattle against both man and mutants. A Knight of the Word named Logan Tom is tasked with finding the gypsy morph, a magical being destined to save the remnants of humanity. Another Knight of the word Angel Perez is tasked with seeking out the Elves of Cintra. To accomplish this, she must locate the Elfstones. The fourth part follows Elves Kirisin and Erisha trying to save their home. The two learn they must locate the Elfstones so they can locate the Loden which they can safely seal away the Ellcrys for protection and transportation.
Admittedly this story is an enjoyable read with a premise that’s interesting, though a little slow in the initial stages. It is a pretty well-written and original concept with interesting twists. Perhaps the most interesting bit of the story follows the Ghosts and how they live their lives in Seattle. It is the strong characterization, their relationships, and development that make their story that much more interesting. Yes, Logan and Angel’s stories feel larger in scope because of the end of the world scenario that is quickly counting down while the Ghosts feel more intimate and personal. There is some backstory given that fleshes out the characters, enriching the story. The story does leave off on a strong cliffhanger. (4 out of 5)
Characters: Quite frankly, I loved the cast. They were well-written, interesting, and felt unique enough to be diverse. Let’s talk about the heroes of our story. First, there are the Ghosts, a gang of kids living in the ruins of a devastated Seattle. The group consist of their leader Hawk, Panther, Sparrow, Squirrel, Candle, Bear, River, Chalk, Fixit, Owl, and their awesome dog, Cheney. Now, for those wary of the kids because of the large cast, never fear. Brooks does a great job of fleshing them out with great personalities and interesting quirks, enough to make them different and it would be hard not to like some of them. Anyway, this group is special as one of them is the famed gypsy morph destined to lead the last of humanity into the new world. I won’t say who.
Also, included are Knights of the Word Logan Tom and Angel Perez, both magical warriors dedicated to fighting the demons of the void. Logan Tom was a pretty good character who feels well rounded and not the desperado the book initially paints him as. Angel is just as good a character and actually a really good strong female protagonist. Yes, both are badasses but they’re also human and their commitment and determination make them awesome in the face of danger, which they face pretty damn often.
On the other side of things, let’s take a look at the story’s main antagonist, Findo Gask and his right hand Delloreen. Gask is just a douchebag, and it’s the kind of douchebag you love to hate. He’s pretty cool as he’s just badass. Yeah, he’s the most generic villain but his methods, though process, and commanding presence make him pretty damn memorable. If there was someone who embodies the dark essence of the Void, it’s Findo Gask. After all, he was freakin experimenting on kids turning them into demons. Next to Gask, there is his right hand Delloreen. She’s every bit as dark and twisted as Gask, and in someways more twisted due to her lack of restraints. I even like that despite her position Gask even sees her as a threat.
Of course, the story has a pretty good supporting cast that definitely give the world more diversity. Everyone from the citizens holding up in the compounds to the elves to even the other tribes living in Seattle. Thumbs up to the great characters provided. (5 out of 5)
Writing: Terry Brooks is pretty brilliant with the writing, establishing a great setting and characterization. The writing supports strong unique perspectives among the characters. The action scenes are handled well enough to paint a clear picture without showing being too obscure. There are some good flashbacks that don’t feel like they detour from the main story’s good pacing. There is action, there is romance, there is mystery, suspense, even humor, and it keeps the writing well-rounded.
The concept and setting of the world is interesting and well constructed, though I’ve compared it to the Fallout video game series at several points. Some points are the setting that are similar is the nuclear holocaust, post-apocalyptic setting and mutated creatures. More familiar comparisons are Logan Tom is the Lone Warrior, Cheney is Dogmeat, the Ghosts are similar to the citizens of Little Lamplight, the oncemen are supermutants, and Findo Gask is the Master. (4 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, Armageddon’s Children (Genesis of Shannara #1) is not only a good read but a great introduction to the Shannara series written by Terry Brooks, who’s masterful at his craft. The setting and world building is immersive, especially with how popular the post-apocalyptic genre has become. But at the heart of everything is the characters and their relationships, characters we can root for. Armageddon’s Children (Genesis of Shannara #1) gets 5 out of 5.