Customer Reviews for

The Sword of Shannara (Shannara Series #1)

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Please be informed before reading!

Some people write off this series because of this book and they are truly missing out because this is one of the best series ever written. The complaint is that this book is too similar to the Lord of the Rings, and the truth is that, well it is ON PURPOSE. Terry Brooks...
Some people write off this series because of this book and they are truly missing out because this is one of the best series ever written. The complaint is that this book is too similar to the Lord of the Rings, and the truth is that, well it is ON PURPOSE. Terry Brooks was actually friends with Tolkien and this book was originally written personally for Tolkien as a gift. Tolkien liked it so much that he convinced Brooks to publish it. Despite the similarities the book is able to stand on it's own and the series is completely original.

posted by Merickel-books on May 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Unoriginal and very boring

I had to force my way through this entire book. A lot of reviews said this book was a good read, but it was horrible. And yes I did finish it just so I could rightfully write this review. The main character Shea had no personality at all. You should feel some sort of em...
I had to force my way through this entire book. A lot of reviews said this book was a good read, but it was horrible. And yes I did finish it just so I could rightfully write this review. The main character Shea had no personality at all. You should feel some sort of emotion for the main character as you read the book. You should hope they win or lose. But the main character had no feelings toward anything that was happening in the book. If the main character doesn't care what happens then why should I? Setting, Characters, and Plot were just like Lord of the Ring trilogy, only not as well written. It was like reading Lord of the Rings again only this time I didn't enjoy it. I really suggest that you chose a different book for a fun read, but it is really your choice.

posted by Anonymous on May 28, 2008

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  • Posted January 27, 2013

    I eventually decided to give this book a read, since my brother

    I eventually decided to give this book a read, since my brother is head over heels in love with the Shannara series. Every year there's a new Shannara book on his Christmas and Birthday list, so I decided to crack open the first one and see what all the fuss was about.




    I must be honest, I wasn't particularly impressed. This book is long--and not in the sense of word count; I've read books with higher word counts, in far less time. This one is long-winded. I simply could not get into it. Often while reading I would "zone out" for pages and pages, and then have no idea what was going on later in the story. The characters aren't particularly memorable, and their manner of speaking is inconsistent. That, coupled with the author's infuriating habit of using "the other" to refer to a speaker after the first speaker has just finished a two page diatribe, makes it insanely difficult to keep track of who's in a particular scene.




    There are more twists and turns in this book than a snakes and ladders game, and it's frequently also not entirely clear where one scene or point in time ends and other starts (see what I did there?).




    I've read many people bemoaning how derivative this book is of Lord of the Rings. I have to say, I didn't find that at all. Granted, there were certain small sections of this book which reminded me of lots of things I'd read in lots of books before, including but not limited to Lord of the Rings. However, many of those books were actually written AFTER this one, so which is derivative of which? Tolkein was the father of modern fantasy anyway, so all fantasy written since will always tend to have a semblance of familiarity with his books. Besides, I wasn't in love with Lord of the Rings anyway.




    There's not much more to say about this book. It's a decent story, I guess, but I found it those parts I was awake for a bit predictable. If you can follow the plot and all the characters (again, of which there are far too many, in my opinion), you might enjoy it. I didn't particularly, though.

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  • Posted August 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Can't finish

    So I did a "halfway through" review for this book, i was originally going to finish it and post a full review - but alas, i cannot continue reading a book that does not hold my interest. Yes it's like Lord of the Rings - to my understanding it was meant to be that way. Everything is description and details, I didn't feel for any of the characters - they were very bland, the "action" was not captivating and was quickly over.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Not Brooks' best

    I read this first as a teen and loved it, thought it was the best fantasy ever written. It got me started on his other books. I reread it as an adult last year and had to skim it. The cliches, the poor writing, the unbelievable plot elements got on my nerves. Thankfully Mr Brooks' writing skills have improved over the years with his experience. Now the only thing to get on my nerves is the constant "I just saved the lives of x number of people with my magic. I must never use it again! I hate it!"

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  • Posted February 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ok...

    This book was recommended to me by a friend who I tend to agree with; one of his favorite series. I was sorely disappointed. The book wasn't completely awful, but it wasn't good either. I continually found myself skipping through paragraphs because the author felt the need to be so descriptive about the characters thoughts and feelings. I love getting to know the characters in the books I read, but this was a bit too much for me. That, and I found myself thinking of Lord of the Rings more than once as I read through it. There are much better books out there for your money.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2006

    this book made me sick

    I had really high hopes when I began this book because all these people apparently LOVED it. After about twenty pages, I knew things werent going to work out. In my opinion, a book isnt good if the main charecter is an imbecile. I was actually embarressed and ashamed of Shea at points. Isnt he supposed to be some mystical, kick butt elf guy? I just found him sickening. I read about half the book in hopes that it might get better, or Shea might have a personality transplant, but to no avail. I then skipped to the end, because I wanted to see Shea finally kill some bad guys with that legendary sword. I wont say what happens, but to me, it was very dissapointing and ugggh...mushy. It was like some stupid Bambi movie. Also, it was a total Tolkien knockoff. Shea reminded me of a hobbit. Enough said.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2005

    Somewhat disappointing

    When I first began reading this book, I became entranced by the environment and history of this world. However, it soon became apparent that this book was a virtual rewrite of the Lord of the Rings. Didn't anyone else see that? There are too many similarities to mention here. I was, well, a bit sad after reading this book. I mean, the Sword of Shannara is the coolest title, and parts of the world were so awsome. But once I finished, I didn't want to finish the series. Shea is more like Frodo than his elf brothers. quite the disappointment, especially after hearing the title and wanting to read it for awhile before I finally got to.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2004

    Terrible

    just as I said this book was a disappointment. Too many parallels to LOTR and little Character development. Most of the book is just description of scenery and events an you just lose sight of the plot. Very few enjoyable moments and the style seems very childish. I reccomend this to people who like to read Over written rip offs.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2004

    An Uninspiring Tale, decently written, but predictable nonetheless.

    Like many have said before, this series resembles LORD OF THE RINGS far too closely. The themes and ideas presented in this book were merely stripped from the pages of Tolkien's classics. I didn't realize how many people have also noticed this similarity until I read through the critiques of this site and others. There were some attempts at originality, but they failed miserably. For instance, 'A nightmare mutation of living flesh and machine, its crooked legs balanced a body formed half of metal plating, half of coarse-haired flesh. An insect-like head bobbed fitfully on a neck of metal.(197)' Such a monster belongs in a sci-fi horror film and was awkwardly placed in the story. The post-apocalyptic world felt dead and vacuous, much to my disinterest. I would never recommend this book to anyone that hasn't read LOTR, in fact, I wouldn't even recommend it to anyone that has. There are plenty of better fantasy novels available to read. Don't settle for less.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2004

    A Decent Story, Impeded by Mediocre Writing

    Mediocre writing, and a boatload of cliches. The Sword of Shannara may have been written in the late seventies, but Tolkien's Lord of the Rings was written well over a decade earlier. There can be no doubt that the Lord of the Rings bore a heavy influence of The Sword of Shannara; too many elements are arranged in too similar a fashion. Moreover, I find Brooks' idea of a post-apocalyptic world that may or may not be Earth (perhaps revealed in later books) to be an irritating and half-baked attempt at what could, in more able hands, be a viable subgenre mix. Reservations about 'borrowing' and a poor mixing of genres aside, one of the more painful faults in this book is that Terry Brooks writes as though he gets paid by the word. Verbosity is mistaken for eloquence, and adjectives are unthinkingly used and re-used ad infinitum. Moreover, for all his lengthy descriptions, Brooks writes in a manner that is, in my opinion, overly simplistic for the story. Either this is a book meant primarily for children (in which case the vocabulary is probably too advanced and the wordiness too boring), or it is a pointlessly antiseptic and rather dull 'adventure' novel. The unnerving part is that I read this book and found it nearly enjoyable. The story itself is really quite compelling; I only dislike the way the story is told. Written differently, perhaps The Sword of Shannara would be worthy of its reputation.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2003

    Best rip-off of Lord of the Rings I've ever read

    Not a bad book. Actually quite good. But the plot is almost identical to Lord of the Rings. I suppose some of the later Shannara books must have an original plot, only because there are more Shannara books than there are Tolkien books, but this one is one of the most blatent rip-offs I've ever seen.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2001

    Where's the substance?

    I have read plenty of fantasy books, but this one is lacking in substance. The dialouge is usually rare and unengaging, and a bit childish at times. There was no character development. Most of the characters have no personality, especially the main. Brooks seem to spend too much time describing scenery than anything. The basic plot is tired and the storyline wouldn't have been half bad if the first 650 pages hadn't been exasperating dull. I'd heard how great this book was and I really wanted to like, but I just didn't. Not worth the effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2001

    One of the most over rated books of the science fiction genre

    Throughout the years, I've come to read and enjoy many novels of the science fiction genre. Starting out with the epitome of these books <u>The Legend of Huma</u> of the beloved <u>Dragonlance</u> series, nothing will ever match this novel. Of all of the series I have read, though, the <u>Sword of Shanara</u> is the worst. To me, a good book is simply one that frees you from the stresses of this world and, above else, makes you loose sleep over reading the book. SoS did this for about the first fifty pages and last fifty or so pages of the book. The middle couple hundred pages are shere boredom of mindless description of the surrounding lands that have no relevence to actual story. The main hero of the novel, Shea, was a also a very drab character. Most heroes make you want to go out and save the world when you are done reading...Shea just put a sour taste in my mind. The only saving grace of this novel (and only reason for 2 stars) was the last of the Druids, Allanon. He is by far the character that comes most alive with his powerful blue magik and fighting off hoards of beasts. The presence of Allanon is the only reason I even read three installments of this trilogy. It seems Terry Brooks was almost trying to emulate JRR Tolkien in describing the world of fantasy, yet Brooks comes nowhere close and is some of the worst fiction I have ever read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 12, 2009

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