... fails to provide that resounding and uplifting conclusion to the overall epic that is Shannara. Ultimately, this is not a great disservice because it does work so perfectly as the ending of the Fall of Shannara. It takes the four novels of that series and ties them together beautifully while reaching back a ways to complete Grianne's tale. What it doesn't do is delve into the early novels and weave threads that pull the entire history into a cohesive whole. There are so many touchpoints, ideas and characters that could have been revisited over 40 years. Yes, it does do some, but for an ending of all things, you hope for more after taking such a long journey.
... a thrilling conclusion to The Fall of Shannara series that offers some of Brooks’s best character writer, though it’s missing the climactic scope of some of his earlier work ... Brooks set up a lot of various storylines throughout the first three volumes, and brings each of them to reasonable ends, even if I’d have liked their conclusions to be more intertwined, instead of occurring independently of one another. Most importantly, though, the characters we met in The Black Elfstone grew and changed in interesting ways that drove the plot forward. I had genuine goosebumps as I reached my final pages with characters like Tarsha Kaynin, Shea Ohmsford, and Belladrin Rish ... As a conclusion to the story that started with Ilse Witch, it works well, providing a satisfying climax and believable closure to Brooks’s greatest character. As a conclusion to the entire Shannara series, it feels a little flat, like it’s lost touch with themes and ideas explored in its earliest volume.
The first volume of Brooks’s quartet, which will bring this decades-old Shannara epic fantasy saga to a close, works best for readers at opposite poles: series devotees who are conversant with the lengthy backstory, and newcomers who can focus on the three major plot threads ... The conclusion will have most readers eager for the sequel.