A Review of The Tangle Box

The Tangle Box (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #4)The Tangle Box by Terry Brooks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tangle Box was a very enjoyable book to read. The fourth in the Landover series, I have read the first one several times, but this is the only other one I’ve gotten to. Fortunately, it can stand on its own merits, so you needn’t have read the preceding books, although I suspect it might have helped. It’s a good book.

Ben Holiday, the king of Landover, discovers that he and his sylph wife, Willow, are going to have a baby and he’s overjoyed, only to become disappointed when Willow tells him she must go on a solo journey for their baby’s sake. And so off she goes, and her journey is a doozy. Meanwhile, Horris Kew and Biggar, exiles from Landover, are returned there from Earth by powerful magic, tricked by a magical evil fairy called the Gorse, who has escaped from the Tangle Box, a box of fairy mists one can never escape from without outside help, and which he uses to trap Ben, Strabo the dragon, and Nightshade the witch. A good part of this book tells of their travels through the gloom of the Tangle Box. In the meantime, Questor Thews and Abernathy are left to care for the kingdom, not knowing what has happened to Ben.

In the Tangle Box, everyone’s worst fears are realized, and it’s interesting to see the interrelationships of Ben, Strabo, and Nightshade, sworn enemies, as they no longer remember their previous lives and work together to try and escape whatever it is they’re trapped in.

So Kew and Biggar help the Gorse as he seeks vengeance on Landover through an elaborate scheme to take over the kingdom before allowing it to be destroyed by demons Ben has battled before. Abernathy and Questor suspect, but seem powerless to intervene. Soon the whole kingdom is in uproar and has marched on the castle. Where is Ben? And what of Willow? She has traveled to Earth, on a mission from the Earth Mother, and back into the fairy mists. Her story nearly becomes a back story, though, and I think Brooks falters a little here. Until the birth of the baby, it seems to be an afterthought for much of the book.

I’m not going to give away the ending, but it’s good to see Ben not have to resort to calling the Paladin to save everyone. The ending is abrupt, but satisfying, in my opinion, and leaves an opening for the next book in the series, which I intend to read soon. This book wasn’t as good as the first, and there’s a bit too much Tangle Box here for me to give it five stars, but it’s a good four star effort and worth the read. Recommended.

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