If I had not read lots of other books in the shannara series I dont think I would have enjoyed this book. It is worth reading just to fill out more of the big story but as a stand alone book its not the best.
This book is not as good as the previous 2. It does not stand on it's own and you must read the other 2 first. That said, it repeats many of the same concepts, events, and story lines without any real clarity established. The various plots trudge along to a reasonably good ending, but leaves a lot of stones unturned and threads hanging loose. I liked the trilogy overall, pretty good Terry Brooks, but the overall impression is that the authoe struggled to complete the series.
I always enjoy Terry Goodkind, though some books more than others. I like the whole Voyage of Jerle Shannara trilogy. Suspense, surprise, imagination, color, excitement, emotion...it's all there, and this was my favorite of the trilogy.