The Elves of Cintra  - Terry Brooks This is the second book in the Genesis of Shannara series so expect spoilers if you have not read the first, Armageddon's Children, which I reviewed here. The second thing to note is that I am not a previous fan of the Shannara series. When I first attempted to read it, I gave up due to boredom. My brother told me this series was really good, so I'm working my way through with an eye on possibly attempting the original Shannara books again.

The Elves of Cintra jumps right in where Armageddon's Children left off, with the various groups all coming together and separating in new and interesting ways to pursue their now clear-ish quests. Logan Tom, now with the Ghosts, is searching for Hawk, with the once-men hot on their trail. Meanwhile, Hawk awakens in the presence of a magical being who cryptically explains his new status as the gypsy morph and his destiny to save everyone by taking them to the promised land. The elves Kirisin and Erisha, now joined by Kirisin's sister Simralin, are still seeking the elfstones and trying to convince Erisha's father, the king of the importance of their mission to move the Ellcrys to a safe location. They are aided by an old historian elf named Culph and they are joined by Angel Perez and her fae conscience, Ailie. Angel is still pursued by the demon Delloreen, now fully transformed into a wolf-lizard creature.

The previous book spent a lot of time introducing the characters and giving them all backstories that made it clear that every human had suffered horrible childhoods that have led them to their currently place in this dystopian world of mutation and violence. They are all survivors in their own way. At the end of the last book, everyone has been set on the quests mentioned above so now, we are reading about how they survive the various pitfalls they meet along the way. Despite the efforts made to define the characters, I have not yet come to care about many of them. The ones that died in this book were not overly memorable and I can't say a I felt like their friends' reactions to their deaths were well written enough for me to feel their loss.

A new character was introduced, Catalya, and she alone is the bright spark in the series. A survivor just like the others, she actually doesn't get one of the melodramatic backstories. Her actions and personality in the face of danger and contempt make up for that loss and easily make her a favourite. When she teams up with one of the Ghosts on a rescue mission, things perked up a bit, but that part of the story continues in the sequel.

But what about the elves? The title implies that this is their story and their quest to find the elfstones and the Loden certainly seems important. But Erisha, Kirisin and Simralen are so unmemorable. Some of the elves they deal with on their journey are quite interesting, but they are not around nearly long enough.

I previously listened to the audiobook, but chose to read the hardcover to see if it affected my judgment. I can conclude that listening to an audiobook would definitely have made the tedium more tolerable, however, it's much easier to skim over pages when actually reading. The Elves of Cintra did not impress me enough to care about the future of Shannara, but I'm still just interested enough to at least find out how this trilogy ends. Eventually.