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4.6 out of 5 stars54
4.6 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2000
This novel is a Brooks masterpiece and I would strongly disagree with the guy that gave this book a flawed rating of one.This book opens powerfully;the fall of the Druid's keep with the loss of good characters Caerid Lock and Kahle Rese is particularly engaging.The 5 survivors from the slaughter at the keep embark on an epic quest to help save the Four Lands.Risca rouses the Dwarf nation,Tay unlocks the power of the Black Elfstone, whilst the remaining trio forge the Sword of Shannara.This book has a strong storyline,involving characters and excellent swords and sorcery action.Brooks has a habit of endearing the reader to his characters and then killing many of them off, as the vast majority of the cast for good in this novel perish.It is also good to be introduced to Allanon in this story as he is the central protagonist of the Sword/Elfstones and Wishsong Trilogy.Add this book to your fantasy collection.
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VINE VOICEon 29 January 2005
THE STORY:
The complacency of the Druid Council has allowed the rogue Druid Brona to become the Warlock Lord. The Druid Bremen and a small group of followers seek to counter the Warlock Lord by creating a magical artifact; the Sword of Shannara.
WHAT'S GOOD:
'The Sword Of Shannara' was well written, but far too much like LotR to be a satisfactory read (I'm not saying LotR is bad! I'm saying lesser copycat novels are). Here, however, Brooks tells a much more original story that can either be read first or to reveal more about the people and events of the later books. I enjoyed seeing Bremen and his friends in action, each representing a different aspect of the Druid magic. This book also goes some way to tying together 'The Sword...', 'The Elfstones...' and 'The Wishsong...' as well as dropping strong hints towards the Heritage of Shannara series (things like Cogline's Druid origins and the Black Elfstone). Best of all in this book is the substory of a young orphan boy who becomes attatched to Bremen's mission. A boy named Allanon.
WHAT'S BAD:
People who've read Brooks' other Shannara books will not only be largely aware of what's going to happen here, but also will experience a 'read one, read them all' feeling in regard to his descriptions of battles against larger armies in which some magic or other turns the tide at the last minute.
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on 17 January 2006
This is the first Terry Brooks novel that I read, and it blew me away. For a relatively short novel (copared to the Sword of Shannara Trilogy, and the later Heritage of Shannara and Voyage of the Jerle Shanarra) the storyline is surprisingly deep.
Although initially I was put off this book by thinking it was going to be Brooks attempt at being Tolkien, there is sufficient difference for any reader to be able to enjoy this book. I found it to be very well written, with characters that you can really believe in and come to love.
If you haven't read any of Terry Brooks then the Sannara series is a must, and will surely rank very highly in your fantasy collection. I highly recommend this book, and other Shanarra books. Now that Terry Brooks has finished writing the Shanarra series I feel pretty lost. I enjoyed these books immensely.
One thing I can guarantee is that once you pick this book up, you will not put it down until you are done. A brilliant series.
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on 4 March 2003
Terry Brooks has drawn together the stories presented as history in the first Shannara books and skilfully made them into the most exciting and best book he has written. I must say that I did hesitate before buying this, as sometimes a Prequel is just a way of cashing-in on previous successes, but this is a real masterpiece. The background was all so familiar, the events new and quite gripping. I could not put this book down and was most disappointed when I had finished it . I only hope that Terry is busy with the next one, - which MUST, most surely, be the continuation of the story of Allanon from his boyhood and the hitherto unknown years in between.
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on 14 August 2005
I've read all of Terry Brook's works, starting with The Sword Of Shannara, but I only recently managed to obtain The First King Of Shannara. From the reviews I've read, it seems this book has been very under-rated. I've seen it written off as a book not really worth reading unless you're a die hard fan. Well, anyone who has been put off by this is missing a huge treat. One of Terry Brook's gratest talents is to delve deeply within the thoughts and emotions of his characters, displaying the good and bad points of each. First king is a classic example. The reader's heart will ache for the main protagonist Breman as he struggles to convince his fellow druids of the threat to the four lands. There are also his small band of devoted followers who must aid in the fight for their people's survival, as well as fighting personal demons of their own. The battle scenes are on the scale of Lord Of The Rings. If you're interested in a history of Shannara, but don't want just a book of facts, then this is ideal. A must read for Terry Brooks fans and fantasy fans alike.
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on 7 October 2002
The first trilogy relates a great deal back to the storyline of First King, leaving the reader with unanswered questions and a pestering ignorance of what the first war of the races was like. However I found reading this book fulfilled expectations and answered my questions. Brook's mixture of love, hate and adventure is evident throughout the book and left me wanting to read it again. The story revolves around Bremen, father of Allanon and Jerle Shannara, King of the Westland Elves. It tells of the forging of the sword of Shannara, which in my opinion was particularly well writin, and of the fall of Paranor to the Warlock Lord. As always, i was left reading all the other books of Shannara once again! And i hope Terry Brooks never stops writing this amazing fantasy epic although I'm sure his books shall still be read in years to come!
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on 11 September 1999
Brooks revisits Shannara in this prelude novel to the Sword of Shannara. The book is written in typical engaging style and is well worth reading. This novel ties up all the loose ends from the series and has some great characters such as Tay and the rock hard dwarf Risca, two of the Druid survivors from the fall of Paranor. The action is frenetic and you are left on the edge of your seat.I rate this novel as the second best Shannara book behind the Elfstones.
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on 19 April 2000
Here, Terry Brooks seems to have done what many Fantasy authors fail to do, that is actually give you the sense of being in a different world and make you wish that you were there instead of in this reality. I feel 'The First King of Shannara' is a good example of that. It is quality reading and there is a decent plot, despite the need to concentrate with the continuous change of location.
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on 23 January 2001
I have never classed Terry Brooks as a *great* author, but he is a good one. I notice he is always compared to Tolkien, and one author or the other tends to suffer for it. Well, I am afraid I have never found Tolkien to be an intelligent read. Good for children though. Few fantasy novels have an intellectual depth to them, even if they are a lot of fun to read, and people forget that Tolkien did not invent the story, he copied it himself. However, as far as fun goes, this book, like the others, is definitely that.
It has been a long time since I have read the book but the reason I give the stars as high as I do, is for one peculiar fact about this book that I have only ever seen one other author pull off (CS Lewis): First King is a prelude book that was written after the main story, just as the first Narnia book (The Magicians Nephew) was written a long time after the more famous "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe". However, both books have the virtue of being able to be read before any other books, or after reading them, or without going ahead and reading any of the other books ever. For example, the revelation of Allanon about the truth of himself and Bremen to Shea at the end of the "Sword of Shannara" struck me as particularly weird, and not one I considered likely. I, of course, cannot say what was in the author's head at the time he wrote The Sword, or if he had the story of the first battle against Brona all worked out in head back then, but his handling of the entire Bremen-Allanon affair (and a few other things that are mentioned or hinted at in later books) is better done in this novel, than these books would imply. On the other hand, these inconsitancies between books are small and carry the flavour of "historical inaccuracy" as opposed to the blatent ignoring of his own previous works that authors such as David Eddings have managed.
If you like the Shannara books, add this one to your collection. It does not invalidate the other books, and has the virtue of being a true starter book, even though written with hindsight, and that is where it gets the extra star from me.
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on 28 May 2015
In my opinion this was an excellent way to tell the back story of the Four Lands. By pulling it together in a separate volume Terry has told the history without the need to interpose it into the original trilogy which would only have blighted these novels by constantly interrupting their flow to detour into the past. In many ways it is a classic Terry Brooks novel in that a small group of people get sent off on a number of quests, overcoming great odds and disasters before finally succeeding, the novel culminating in a big clash. One of the things that attracts be to his novels in the way I can connect with the characters, but I never know if they will survive as he is not afraid to kill off a reasonably major character. All too often in fiction you know that all of the main protagonists will survive which takes away some of tension in otherwise dramatic scenes, not something you can accuse Terry of doing
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