I grew up reading Terry Brooks and have loved his books for a long time. As I read this new addition to the world of Shannara, The High Druid's Blade, I couldn't help compare it to my absolutely favorite story, The Wishsong of Shannara. It is in Wishsong where we are first introduced to the powerful magic of the Sword of Leah, a talisman that has become just as important to this series as the Omhsfords themselves. I was thrilled that here was finally a tale that would allow us to learn more about this enchanted and dangerous blade.
The High Druid's Blade didn't quite live up to my expectations. It is not a bad book really. It's just that this story doesn't quite have the same...charisma...as the Wishsong of Shannara or the earlier Shannara books. Many of the characters are not well fleshed out yet, with the exception of two (the villian, of course, and the Druid Starks). The story isn't as complex as other Brooks novels (and that is okay—not everything has to be a cataclysmic adventure), and it does suffer from a few pacing issues.
As I said, it is not a bad book. I do like the idea of Paxon's development into a Knight Errant, and the idea that this is technically a standalone novel (though there are enough unanswered questions that hopefully the next book will help to answer). Definitely recommended for longtime fans. Although a new reader could pick up this book, he/she may feel a little lost with the references to other adventures.