The Sword of Shannara (Shannara Series #1)

The Sword of Shannara (Shannara Series #1)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345314253
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/1983
Series: Shannara Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 736
Sales rank: 30,265
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.57(d)
Lexile: 1160L (what's this?)

About the Author

Terry Brooks has thrilled readers for decades with his powers of imagination and storytelling. He is the author of more than thirty books, most of which have been New York Times bestsellers. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.


Pacific Northwest and Hawaii

Date of Birth:

January 8, 1944

Place of Birth:

Sterling, Illinois


B.A. in English, Hamilton College, 1966; J.D., Washington and Lee University

Read an Excerpt

The Sword of Shannara

By Terry Brooks

Ballantine Books

Copyright © 1996 Terry Brooks
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0345909577

Chapter One


"Junk, nothing but junk!" roared Panamon Creel in frustration, kicking once more the pile of worthless metal blades and jewelry that lay on the ground before him. "How could I have been such a fool? I should have seen it right away!"

Shea walked silently to the north end of the clearing, his eyes staring at the faint trail in the forest earth that the crafty Orl Fane had left in his flight northward. He had been so close. He had held the precious Sword in his own hands-only to lose it through an unforgivable failure to recognize the truth. The massive form of Keltset loomed silently beside him, the great bulk bending close to the damp, leaf-strewn ground, the inscrutable face almost next to his own as the strangely gentle eyes studied and searched. Shea turned quietly back to the raging Panamon.

"It wasn't your fault-you had no reason to suspect the truth," he muttered dejectedly. "I should have listened to his raving with a little more wisdom and a little less . . . whatever. I knew the signs to look for and I forgot to keep my eyes open when it counted."

Panamon nodded and shrugged, stroking the carefully trimmed mustache with the point of his piked hand. With a last kick at the discarded implements, he called once to Keltset, and without further discussion the two began quickly to break camp, strapping together the gear and weapons that had been deposited for the night. Shea watched them for a moment, still unable to accept his failure to gain possession of the Sword. Panamon called gruffly to him to lend a hand, and he silently obeyed. He could not face the inevitable aftermath of this most recent setback. Panamon Creel had obviously been pushed as far as he would stand it, chaperoning a foolish and amazingly stupid little Valeman around in the dangerous borderlands of Paranor, searching for some people who might very well turn out to be enemies and for a Sword that only Shea knew anything about, but couldn't recognize when he had it in his own hands. The scarlet highwayman and his giant companion had nearly lost their lives once already over this mysterious Sword and undoubtedly once was more than enough. The Valeman had no choice now except to try to locate his friends. But when he did find them, he would have to confront Allanon and tell him how he had failed-failed them all. He shuddered at the prospect of facing the grim Druid, of feeling those remorseless eyes peer into his most carefully hidden thoughts for the whole truth. It was not going to be pleasant.

He recalled suddenly the strange prophecy related to them in the Valley of Shale on that dark, misted dawn over a week ago. It was the Shade of Bremen who had forewarned of the danger in the forbidding Dragon's Teeth-how one would not see Paranor, how one would not reach the other side of the mountain, yet would be first to lay hands on the Sword of Shannara. It had all been foretold, but Shea had forgotten it in the stress and excitement of the past few days.

The weary Valeman closed his eyes against the world for a few moments and wondered how on earth he could possibly be a part of this incredible puzzle that centered around a war of power with the spirit world and a legendary Sword. He felt so small and helpless that it seemed that the easiest path for him to choose now was to bury himself and pray for a quick end to life. So much depended on him, if Allanon were to be believed, and from the beginning he had been completely inadequate to the task. He had been unable to do anything for himself, depending on the strength of other men to get him this far. How much had they all sacrificed for him so that he might lay hands on the magic Sword. Yet when he had it in his grasp . . .

"I've decided. We're going after him."

Panamon Creel's deep voice cut through the quiet of the little clearing like the sharp crack of an iron blade through dry wood. Shea stared at the broad, unsmiling face in astonishment.

"You mean . . . into the Northland?"

The scarlet thief shot him one of those angry looks that dismissed the Valeman as an idiot incapable of understanding sane men.

"He made a fool out of me. I'd rather cut my own throat than let the little rat get away from me now. When I get my hands on him this time, I'll leave him for the worms to chew on."

The handsome face was emotionless, but there was undisguisable hatred in the menacing tone of voice that cut through to the bone. This was the other side of Panamon-the cold professional who had ruthlessly destroyed an entire encampment of Gnomes and later stood in battle against the incomparable power of the Skull Bearer. He wasn't doing this for Shea or even to gain possession of the Sword of Shannara. This was strictly a matter of his injured pride and desire for revenge on the unfortunate creature who had dared to bruise it. Shea glanced quickly at the motionless Keltset, but the giant Rock Troll gave no indication of either approval or disapproval; the barklike face was blank, the deep-set eyes expressionless. Panamon laughed sharply, taking a few quick strides toward the hesitant Valeman.

"Think on this, Shea. Our Gnome friend has made matters so much more simple by revealing the exact location of the Sword you have been searching so long to find. Now you don't have to search for it-we know where it is."

Shea nodded in silent agreement, still wary of the adventurer's true motives. "Do we have a chance of catching up with him?"

"That's more like it-that's the spirit we need." Panamon grinned at him, his face a mask of confidence. "Of course we can catch up with him-it's merely a matter of time. The difficulty will be if someone else catches up with him first. Keltset knows the Northland as well as anyone alive. The Gnome will not be able to hide from us. He will have to run, run, and keep running, because he has no one to turn to, not even his own people. It's impossible to know exactly how he stumbled onto the Sword, or even how he surmised its value, but I do know I was not mistaken about his being a deserter and a scavenger."

"He could have been a member of the band of Gnomes transporting the Sword to the Warlock Lord-or perhaps even a prisoner?" Shea suggested thoughtfully.

"More probably the latter," the other agreed, hesitating as if trying to recall something, staring northward into the gray mistiness of the forest morning. The sun had already cleared the horizon of the eastern edge of the world, its fresh light bright and warm, seeping slowly into the darkened corners of the forestland. But the mist of early morning had not yet cleared, leaving the three companions shrouded in a hazy mixture of sunlight and dying night. The sky to the north appeared unaccountably dark and forbidding even for early morning, causing the normally verbose Panamon to stare wordlessly at this curious blackness for several long minutes. Finally he turned back to them, his face clouded with doubt.

"Something strange is going on to the north. Keltset, let's move out now-find that Gnome before he has a chance to stumble onto a patrol of hunters. I don't want to share his final moments in this world with anyone!"

The giant Rock Troll moved into the lead in quick, easy strides, his head lowered slightly as he searched the ground before him, picking out the signs left by the fleeing Orl Fane. Panamon and Shea followed close behind in silent concentration. The trail of their quarry was readily apparent to the keen eyes of Keltset. He turned back to them and made a short signal with one hand, which Panamon translated for the curious Shea to mean that the Gnome was running hard and fast, not bothering to hide his footsteps, and had evidently decided on his eventual destination.

Shea began to speculate in his own mind where the wily little fellow would run. With the Sword in his possession, he might be able to redeem himself in the eyes of his own people by turning it over to them for presentation to the Warlock Lord. But Orl Fane had appeared highly irrational in his behavior while he was their prisoner, and Shea felt certain that the Gnome had not been faking. He had rambled on as if the victim of a madness he could only partially control, speaking in garbled sentences that had in a jumbled fashion revealed the truth concerning the whereabouts of the Sword. If Shea had thought the matter through a little more carefully, he would have seen it-he would have known that Orl Fane had the coveted talisman with him. No, the Gnome had crossed the mental barrier between sanity and madness, and his actions would not be entirely predictable. He would run from them, but to whom would he run?

"I remember now." Panamon broke into his thoughts as they continued to make their way back toward the Plains of Streleheim. "That winged creature insisted that we had possession of the Sword when it confronted us yesterday. It kept telling us that it could sense the presence of the Sword-and so it could, because Orl Fane was concealed in the brush with the weapon hidden in his sack."

Shea nodded quietly, recalling the incident bitterly. The Skull Bearer had unwittingly tipped them off that the precious Sword was in the area, but they had failed to notice this important clue in the heat and fury of their battle to survive. Panamon continued to ramble on in barely concealed fury, threatening to dispose of Orl Fane when they caught up with him in a number of extremely unpleasant ways. Then abruptly the fringes of the forest broke away, opening into the vast expanse of the Plains of Streleheim.

In astonishment, the three halted together, their disbelieving eyes fixed on the awesome spectacle that loomed directly to the north-a huge, unbroken wall of blackness, towering skyward until it vanished into the infinity of space, stretching along the horizon to encircle the entire Northland. It was as if the Skull King had bound the ancient land in the shroud of darkness that lay upon the spirit world. It was more than the blackness of a clouded night. It was a heavy mistiness that rolled and swirled in deepening shades of gray as it ran northward toward the heart of the Skull Kingdom. It was the most terrifying sight that Shea had ever witnessed. His initial fear was heightened twice over by a sudden, unexplainable certainty in his mind that this huge wall was crawling slowly southward, blanketing the entire world. It meant that the Warlock Lord was coming. . . .

"What in heaven's name is that . . . ?" Panamon trailed off into stunned silence.

Shea shook his head absently. There could be no answer to that question. This was something beyond the understanding of mortal man. The three stood looking at the massive wall for several long moments, as if waiting for something more to happen. Finally, Keltset stooped to peer carefully at the hard grassland before them, moving forward several yards at a time until he was some distance away. Then he rose and pointed directly into the center of the ominous black haze. Panamon started, his face frozen.

"The Gnome is running directly into that stuff," he muttered angrily. "If we do not catch him before he reaches it, the darkness will hide his trail completely. We will have lost him."

Several miles ahead, on the graying fringes of the blackened wall of mist and haze, the small, bent form of Orl Fane hesitated momentarily in its exhausting flight as the greenish eyes peered fearfully, uncomprehendingly into the swirling darkness. The Gnome had been moving northward since his escape from the three strangers during the early hours of the morning, running while his strength held out, then pushing forward in a shuffling trot, always with one eye straying back, waiting for the inevitable pursuit. His mind no longer functioned in a rational manner; for several weeks he had lived on instinct and luck, preying off the dead, avoiding the living. He could not force himself to think of anything beyond survival, a gut instinct to live another day among those who did not want him, would not accept him as one of their own. Even his own people had turned him away, scorning him as a creature lower than the insects that crawled the earth at their feet. It was a savage land that surrounded him-a land in which one could not survive alone for very long. Yet he was alone, and the mind that had once been sane had slowly turned inward on itself, shutting away the fears that were imbedded there until madness began to take hold and all reason began to die.

Yet the inevitable death did not come easily, as fate intervened with twisted humor and favored the outcast with a final glimmer of false hope, placing in his hands the means by which to regain the seemingly unattainable warmth of human companionship once more. While still a scavenger, still fighting a losing battle to stay alive, the desperate Gnome had learned of the presence of the legendary Sword of Shannara, its awesome secret gasped in faint warning from the rigid lips of one dying on the Streleheim Plains, the blinded eyes failing as the life thread snapped. Then the Sword was in his grasp-the key to power over mortal men in the hands of Orl Fane.

But the madness lingered, the fears and doubts wrenching ceaselessly at his failing reason as he pondered a course of action. This fatal hesitation resulted in the Gnome's capture and the loss of the coveted Sword-the lifeline back to his own kind. Reason gave way to despair and raving, and the already badly unbalanced mind collapsed. There was room now for only one burning, haunting thought-the Sword must be his or his life was over. He boasted irrationally to his unsuspecting captors that the Sword was his, that only he knew where it could be found, unwittingly betraying his last chance to keep possession. But the strangers failed to read between the lines, dismissing him too hastily as merely crazed. Then came the escape, the seizure of the Sword, and the flight northward.

He paused now, staring blankly at the mysterious wall of blackness that barred his way northward. Yes, northward, northward, he mused, smiling crookedly, the eyes widening madly. There lay safety and redemption for an outcast. Deep within, he could feel an almost uncanny desire to run back the way he had come. But the thought remained locked inescapably in his mind that his salvation lay in the Northland alone. It was there that he would find . . . the Master. The Warlock Lord. His gaze dropped momentarily to the ancient blade strapped tightly to his waist, its length dragging clumsily in the dirt behind him. The gnarled yellow hands strayed briefly down over the carved handle, touching the engraved hand raised high with burning torch, the gilt paint already flecking off in chips to reveal the burnished hilt beneath. He clutched the handle tightly, as if trying to draw his own strength from its sturdy grip. Fools! Fools all, that had not treated him with the respect he should command.


Excerpted from The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks Copyright © 1996 by Terry Brooks. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Frank Herbert

Marvelous! I enjoyed every minute of it.

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The Sword of Shannara (Shannara Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 559 reviews.
Merickel-books More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books that I have ever read. Full of action and adventure. If you like J.R.R. Tolkiens books, you will like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Sword of Shannara is an ok and at times slow read .that being said , it sets the scene for the best and ongoing fantasy series on earth .
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is pleasant, and at times compelling. The power of the Sword of Shannara was imaginative. There is a nice air of fantasy. The mechanics of Brooks' writing, however, are somewhat amateur. I found his description, while occasionally imaginative, to be a little mundane and comically repetitive. Everyone's face is 'impassive' and Allanon's expression is always a 'mocking grin'. It becomes very silly after a while. The elfstones were a bit of the 'Deus ex Machina' - able to solve just about any problem. Another annoying characteristic of his writing is that, as soon as a character becomes totally despondent and hopeless about a situation, that situation resolves and they triumph despite their doubts. After this happens about twenty times, it becomes very predictable. Also, his tactic of breaking chapters into cliffhangers is a weak attempt at infusing unpredictability into this novel. Nevertheless, a good book for younger kids. Some good values such as loyalty and companionship are expressed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is amazing. Love the adventure and action. Thank you Terry Brooks!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It made me so sad when Shea went missing. But then he was okay! Also, I prefer Shannara to Lord of the Rings because it moves at a faster pace and has more modern writing. I still am a Tolkein fan, but it was harder to get through.
GrahamCDowns More than 1 year ago
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.
Clurb on LibraryThing 7 months ago
It's not that I hated this, it's just that I could not bring myself to take it seriously when it was so evidently just a LotR rehash.
vampluvr7 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is my favorite Fantasy Novel ever!! I like it better than the Lord of the Rings (although those are a great story, just very dry at some points)!! It's a great story about a young half-elf that must find a legendary sword to stop the evil god!!
reading_fox on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A quite clever idea completely spoiled by some very poor writing. In places, just once or twice, it is good, in a few others, absorbing, the remaining thousand or so pages, drag horrendously. This is possibly the worst example of telling rather than showing that I've ever read, but fortunetly the inventiveness of the world (rather than the plot) raises it someway above being the very worst fantasy book I've ever read.Plot - A Magic Trinket is required to overcome a Big Bad Guy. You can already guess that a Quest is required to find it. There will be a boy and a girl and an old wise man who does magic. There are. Because this is an omnibus with the sequel the plot is repeated. Almost identically. No-body of any conesquence dies. Even when they really really should. But then there is hardly anybody of consequence in the book. There is no character development at all. Barely any characters, just wooden people cast without emotions, dialogue or any but he most limited actions. Even so it is possible to write and entertain the reader in this manner - but the action centric plot must be really dynamic and thunder along page tearingly. This doesn't. The action spurts along in fits and pauses, and introspection (ish) and lots of exposition, followed by another dribble of action adn more exposition. Finally there are a few consecutive pages of action before more pages of exposition wrapping it all up, and ensuring all the characters get the happy ending they deserve. The leading character in both books is a Druid called Allanon because he goes on and on. Few of the other characters carry over. Allonan unfortunetly doesn't have any character at all, or action, and is merely called upon to set people on a path before he fades unmysteriously back into the shadows. The only interest is the world story - Set on Earth after a cataclysm has destroyed mankind's science and technology. Man just about survived and splintered into man, gnomes, dwarves and Trolls - all still human, but shaped by the lands they grew in, and named after the faerie races they resembled. Only the Elves existed unique and isolate. Much more could have been doen wih this fascinating concept but instead it is just grafted onto a standard pasterol fantasy world. The biggest sin o all is that there is no continuity in the towns, no thoughts at all at how they would survive except as places for the heros to pass through. The Elfstones works much better, than the Sword and has fewer of the faults, but they are all still present. Although this is a vastly famous series, it is even worse than Eddings, and a very poor introduction to how fantasy can be written by artists such as Tolkein, Donaldson, Wurts or Cherryh (or many many others). Go and read them, leave this derrivative dreck alone.
fuzzi on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this book when it first came out, late 1970s. At the time I belonged to the Literary Guild book club, so I got this book 'hot off the press' in a hardcover edition.Boy was I disappointed. The more I read, the more I kept saying "What a ripoff!" referring to "The Lord of the Rings". The entire book seemed nothing but a cheap and not well disguised copy of Tolkien's work.I finished reading it, but gave it away soon afterwards. I have not read any other of Terry Brooks' works, having been soured on his ability to create by the mediocrity of this book.
paeonia on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was recommended as a classic of the fantasy genre. It is about twice as long as it needs to be. Brooks apparently thinks that anything worth saying is worth saying more than once, with as many words as possible. Obvious debt to Tolkien. I will NOT be looking for the numerous sequels and spinoffs.
bfertig on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I remember reading this book while happening to be learning about the heroic outline at the same time and realizing that the outline summarized in 1 page what this book took 700 to say. There were no real twists or turns or deviations from this outline as far as I could see, and I was in middle school. It was compelling enough to finish, but it may also have been that I just wanted to say I'd read a book that long. There really wasn't anything new or different from Tolkein in this series. It may be classic fantasy, but at this point the book is cliche.
Homechicken on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I can't remember if I read this book growing up or not. I do, however, remember reading the Elfstones book. In any case, this book was okay, but not the best fantasy I've ever delved in to. The writing was all right but not spectacular, the characters good but not great, the story okay but not epic. It's quite long for not being terrific, too. It seemed just a bit predictable to me.
aethercowboy on LibraryThing 8 months ago
If you've read The Lord of the Rings, then congratulations, you don't need to read this book. Terry Brook, in the later additions to his Shannara series, has drifted away from the heavy Tolkienoid style apparent in this first novel.Reading SoS left me with the impression that I had read a Lord of the Rings, only whoever was taking the manuscript to the publisher dropped the pages on the floor, and managed to scoop them back up in a different sort of order. Each character in SoS is practically a direct match for one in LotR. The protagonist, Shea, is clearly a Frodo. His loving and faithful stepbrother/sidekick Flick is an obvious Sam. They mysterious Allanon is a clear Gandalf, the swarthy dwarf Hendel is a Gimli, and Brona, the Warlock Lord, could be any combination of Sauron, Saruman, and the chief Nazgul, to name a few. The titular sword, of course, could arguably be the One Ring.Though this book was effectively a rehash of Tolkien, as is much of the post-Tolkien fantasy, with the exception of the Sword & Sorcery buffs, and the emerging Urban Fantasy front, it was not horrible. At times, yes, I was cringing at the similarities between Brooks and Tolkien, and wondering how he could write such a book with a clean conscience. In the end, though, I didn't despise it enough to send it to Half Price Books, so that means that it does have some redeemable qualities, or at least enough redeemable qualities to take up as much shelf space as it does and not be converted into a fraction of a dollar.You might enjoy it if LotR was "too hard" for you. You might enjoy it if you don't want a challenge, but want to look smart by reading a thick book. You won't enjoy it if you hold Tolkien sacrosanct, and especially if you even eschew the books edited by Christopher Tolkien. Congratulations, you're a purist, and this book is most definitely not for you.
Darla on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Finally finished reading this one with the boys. It does have a LOT of similarities to LOTR, but it's more readable.
adb42 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The very first Shannara novel, which I finished in one go - after Terry Brooks had finished all the introductions (100 pages).
SkepChris on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was Terry's first book and it clearly shows that he copied characters and entire plot sections from Tolkien's Ring adventures. Especially in the first chapters this is very annoying as it makes you focus on the copying rather than on the adventure. And while I would not bother to mention it if it were more his own work, now I clearly noticed how this book is a chain of coincidentally subsequent events while JRRT wrote a logical consistent story, so much that it even is connected with his other books. The Sword of Shannara can be gripping, enough to lose sleep, but I will soon forget it and I will pass it on through book-crossing now.
SlySionnach on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The first of Brooks Shannara series. A classic sword and sorcery type of tale, it has hints of Lord of the Rings inside of its pages (but what fantasy book doesn't, after all). I loved this book and thought it was a great beginning to an amazing series.
nursewidener on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Older fantasy book that I have just discovered. I enjoyed this book, it descriptive nature of characters and background. The book starts out in the natural order of most great fantasy novels. The hero is young inexperience and totally pivotal in the story line. If you enjoy fantasy books that takes a young person and makes them a hero even when there are better ones in the story you'll enjoy this book. I will continue read this series and pray that they stay just as interesting and "keep me up too late at night" books
Joseph700 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I forced my way through this book, because Terry Brooks is prolific and has made a name for himself. But to my way of thinking, the language was cardboard, and the story did not redeem it. I may try one of his later books to see if he evolved from these more than humble beginnings.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I've heard this book compared to Tolkien's Lord of the Rings--it's comparable all right, and it's not in Sword of Shannara's favor. I've read the book was the first fantasy to make it on the New York Times bestseller list. I can only speculate it was a matter of timing--that in the late seventies the fantasy reading public was hungry for an epic fantasy along Lord of the Rings lines--and here we have a quest, a Dark Lord and a group of heroes traveling together in almost a one to one correspondence with the Fellowship of the Ring including a wizard, a dwarf, more than one elf and more than one Prince of the blood. It's far too easy to match up the Tolkien characters with their Brooks counterparts: Gandalf (Allanon), Sam (Flick), Frodo (Shea), Sauron (Brona), Aragorn (Balinor), Boromir (Menion), Gimli (Hendel), Legolas (Durin and Dayel--brothers who are indistinguishable and interchangeable), Gollum (Orl Fane) and the Nazgûl (Skull Bearers). Even places and matters of plot can be matched point for point. I can't recall ever reading such a blatant rip-off.Except that compared to a Gandolf or Frodo, these characters come across as stock, the plot and themes as shallow as a video game, and unlike Tolkien, who has memorable scenes and lines, the writing here isn't even workmanlike, with a shoddy omniscient point of view and a style that hits every branch on the clunker tree out of guides of how not to write.I only stayed beyond page 50 of this because I wanted to give what I know some see as a beloved book a fair chance. Then I pushed beyond 200 pages out of curiosity if a female would get a speaking part--because at that point, were it not for a brief scene with a female monster that almost traps one character and a mention by another character he had a sweetie at home (and that the central character once had a mother) I might have thought they only had one gender in this fantasy world. Even Tolkien, who I thought slighted female characters, did much, much better than that. (Even books set on ships at sea and monasteries tend to do better than that). Finally, a female character did show up--on page 456 of 726--naturally to be rescued. I gave up. I will not be reading more Terry Brooks.
TadAD on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Blech!!!A blatant rip-off of the Lord of the Rings, including characters and plot. The only thing that wasn't lifted was the ability to write convincing dialog or create sympathetic characters.I have no idea if Brooks was merely an unimaginative and incompetent writer, or if he was just cynically cashing in on a successful formula as one of the first to publish epic fantasy post-Tolkien, but this book is not worth the time you'll spend reading it.
Imshi on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I unfortunately read this *right* after reading and falling in love with The Lord of the Rings, so that might color my impression a bit but...I found it be be far too similar to be enjoyable. It follows the characters and plot of LOTR very closely, and while I still would have enjoyed that if the writing had been spectacular, it wasn't good enough to make up for the blatant copying. I read to a little more than halfway through and wasn't able to finish.
brian_irons on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was one of the first books I ever read that I wasn't forced to. I found it in an empty classroom in school when I was in eighth grade. It has survived this whole time. What a wonderful book.