I read this book when I was 21 and I thought it was brilliant. Okay, so it pilfers like hell from Tolkein without any of the latter's scholarly depth, but it's still a thumping good read. But it is better read before your tastes mature and your sense of literary criticism develops. Now aged 42 I am reading it aloud to my 12 year old son, and I cannot believe that I raved over this book 21 years ago. The sentences are so torturously written that if I was Terry Brooks' editor, I would have gone through the story with a blue pencil like a dose of salts! The adventure story line zings along. The characters are well drawn and likeable, but Terry Brooks writes like an amateur. The Sword of Shannara could be cut by half and the only difference would be the improvement!