The Dark Thorn by Shawn Speakman REVIEW

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NOTE: Back in 2011, Terry Brook’s webmaster, Shawn Speakman, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He fought the disease and survived. The problem now is that Speakman had no Health Insurance. So instead of declaring medical bankruptcy, Shawn decided to self-publish his fantasy novel The Dark Thorn and use the proceeds from the book to pay off his debts. (To learn more, follow this link.)  I didn’t buy this book out of pity. I bought it because frankly the blurb grabbed my attention.

Currently the Fantasy genre has seen a huge influx of tales set in a modern-day setting.  There are many subpar knockoffs of these books released every year. The Dark Thorn however is able to be on the same level of books by authors such as Butcher and Hamilton. And I think in some respects the book outshines a lot of newly released fantasies. Traditionally Published and Self Published.

The plot of Speakman’s novel is a unique blend of Arthurian mythology, ancient Church conspiracies, modern history, and the classic Quest tale. These unlikely themes are combined to create a very human tale.

The characters are very superb also. The POV shifts from character to character and at each switch, Speakman takes you on a ride in the character’s mind. Every character had clear motives, and the way they proceed to act makes sense.

At times the writing style reminded me a lot of Terry Brooks. (Speakman is good friends with Brooks, who also taught him at the Maui Writers Workshop.) Speakman is no knockoff though. He may be similar but his style is all his own, and is rather refreshing. The only problem I had was that there were a lot of “ly” adverbs after Speakman wrote said. There were a few “Swifties” here and there but it never stopped me from finishing the novel or liking the story.

Overall, I give the book 4 stars out of 5! A great debut from a new writer! Recommended for fans of Jim Butcher, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Brooks, and Dan Brown. For the price of $6.99 it’s worth every penny.

 Available on B&N,, and in Print.


Indomitable by Terry Brooks REVIEW

*Note: I recommend reading The Sword of Shannara, Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara before reading this book.


The evil Illdatch, a book of evil sorcery was once thought destroyed by the descendant of Shea Ohmsford, by Brin Ohmsford. But, there was a page she didn’t know about that was missing. It is up to her brother Jair, to destroy it once and for all. Can he do it without dying? One can try.


The old school Shannara books are arguably the best I’ve read by Terry Brooks, the new ones after like 2005, aren’t really that good. When I bought this short novel on Kindle, I was hoping the magic from the old series would come back.

And come back it did.

The novel takes place two years after the events that unfolded in The Wishsong of Shannara. Brin Ohmsford has grown up, and is now out of Shady Vale, is now married to Rone Leah and is pregnant. Jair on the otherhand is still in Shady Vale, working in the family Inn. His life is vey peaceful, and all of it is shattered when Kimber Boh, grandaughter of the Druid Cogline, comes and tells Jair to come with her to destroy the last page of the Ildatch, that is locked up in the Fortress Dun Fee Aran.

The plot really isn’t surprising at first. Just classic Terry Brooks. I was reminded why I like him. I love quest stories. So if you hate it, stay away. Brooks is back!

The characters are realistic , and are exactly how I remembered them, except for Jair. Jair is no longer a whiner, he is tough and has grown up. He is far more fun to read about now.

Writing quality is wordy at times. Thank Amazon for putting a dictionary easy to get into on the Kindle. His writing is reminiscent of Tolkien and if you hate Tolkien, again stay away. I also like the fact it’s a short novel, or novella. No eat, fight, sleep pattern that plague many an epic fantasy.


5 out of 5 stars! Grab it, it’s worth the whole $2.99!

Also available in print in the Legends II Anthology and Nook!

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