The Word and Void Trilogy is a series of books written by Terry Brooks consisting of Running with the Demon, A Knight of the Word, and Angel Fire East.
The books relate the stories of Nest Freemark, a young woman born with magic powers, and John Ross, a weary middle-aged man that hunts demons. The two heroes are unwillingly swept up into a secret war between two entities called the Word and the Void.
Like most fantasy novels, there is a clear good side and a blatantly evil side. Those that support the Word uphold values such as not killing people and saving the world. Nest Freemark represents many of the ideals of the Word. An incredibly fast track runner, she works hard, bakes cookies for church, and she saves children in her neighborhood from evil. A powerful ghost wolf named Wraith comes to her rescue almost every time she's in danger. John Ross is the hand of the Word; he lays the smackdown on meaningless violence, conspiratorial plots, and demonic evil. Wishing to live a normal life, but bound to his service to the Word, John is a conflicted man. His magical black staff imbues him with enough power to take on demons head to head. Together, they form a duo that gives the series a balance between decent action sequences, introspective drama, and societal morals.
The reclusive followers of the Void are rotten-to-the-core demons, which are the main antagonists. Demons, in this series, are the most sinister of sinister spirits. Unrecognizable by those unaided by magic, the demons possess bodies of humans, then go around and try to fuck shit up. There are various types of demons with different powers. Some can change shape with seconds, some are mere shadows that creep through darkness without form, some are the big, stupid and silent type. The worst kind of demons are the ancient ones that know how to manipulate human weakness as well as a bunch of arcane magic stuff.
The setting is modern times in various locales across the US. Although no dates are given, it is likely 1980s or 1990s. Running with the Demon and Angel Fire East take place in a suburbanite town called Hopewell. A Knight of the Word has portions in Hopewell, but most of it is set in Seattle, Washington.
Several things set this series apart from other fantasy novels, namely the fact that they are slightly deeper and more critical of society. Since the books are set in modern times, Brooks uses the opportunity to draw attention to terrible faucets of modern society and human nature. According to the world presented in these books, gratuitously violent and fatal events would be the result of a demon's meddling. However, a demon is mostly powerless in the physical world. To bring their devious plans about, the demons manipulate negative human emotions to turn events in their favor. Terry Brooks is suggesting that the road to Columbine is started by letting small amounts of these negative emotions like anger and rage go unchecked. John Ross, as a champion of the Word, has the bonus of living out prophetic dreams in a post apocalyptic world that comes a direct result because of events such as these. In short, Brooks is implying that all the negative human emotions such as hatred, jealousy, and greed coupled with ignorance will lead the world to downfall.
All in all, I found it to be a good series. While nothing ground breaking or incredibly original, I found this it to have more literary value, deeper emotional impact, and better writing than Brooks' high fantasy powerhouse of Shannara. However it still suffers from downfalls such as superfluous sequels, dragging things out too long, and not so mysterious mysteries. I would not be at all surprised if this series continued despite the fact Angel Fire East has "The spellbinding conclusion to Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word" written on the back.