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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very easy fantasy read
I have to confess I read this book when I was twelve and up to that point it was the best book I'd ever read. I managed it in less than a week and was gripped by it from start to finish. The sequels were okay but this one was definitely the best.
However, upon just looking up the book on amazon I can see that a lot of other reviewers are pointing out that it's a LOTR...
Published on 3 Oct. 2008 by Neil Butler

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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it while you're young and not discerning.
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...
Published on 10 Jun. 1999


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read it while you're young and not discerning., 10 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
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!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very easy fantasy read, 3 Oct. 2008
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
I have to confess I read this book when I was twelve and up to that point it was the best book I'd ever read. I managed it in less than a week and was gripped by it from start to finish. The sequels were okay but this one was definitely the best.
However, upon just looking up the book on amazon I can see that a lot of other reviewers are pointing out that it's a LOTR rip off. Well, I guess they're probably right, but I hadn't read LOTR when I stumbled across The Sword of Shannara and therefore I enjoyed the book without making the comparisons. And in reality most books are copying some sort of formula. Let's face it 90% of crime thrillers involve a dead body at the start and then a detective / investigator tracking down the killer for the rest of the book. It's therefore inevitable that most fantasy books have dwarves, elves etc all hunting for some magical item that mustn't fall in to the hands of evil. So if you like fantasy there is no reason why you shouldn't like this book. It is formulaic but it's well written and I found it very entertaining.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The second book is better, 16 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
I thought that Sword was a pretty good book and I won't compare it to LOTR because it's been so long since I've read it. However, the following book, the Elfstones is much better, and the third book as well, the Wishsong. My main complaint: the characters weren't developed to the point where you wanted to read more about them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Have good think and read you wont be let down, 11 Feb. 2007
By 
C. Parrott "CP" (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sword of Shannara (Paperback)
To most people they will see resemblences to Lord of the Rings it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that.

If you can see past the theme and see what Terry Brooks has managed to do with it im sure you will enjoy it.

I will agree this isn't Terry Brooks best book but it still is an excellent read and will set you up for an amazing saga that is well worth reading up to 13 books now and i love all of them.

Terry Brooks shows a strong imagination and his story telling ability is consistantly good through out.

Give it a good go and you wont be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 7 May 2013
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
This is such great epic fantasy!! It is ALOT like The Fellowship of the Ring: The Lord of the Rings, Part 1: Fellowship of the Ring Vol 1 but is far easier to read (it still has it's own story line - there's no ring!) and doesn't have any of the ridiculous songs. OK so it is awhile since I read this, but I feel like reviewing my favorite books at the mo and this is definitely one of them - I have read it at least twice, and liked it so much I have read the whole Shannara series (which must be at least ten books!). Although now I've read so many books by Terry Brooks I have started to loose enthusiasm for his latest ones, and I tried to read is 'Word and Void' books (or some title like that?) and didn't really get into them. Regardless of that, this one is a winner, and I recommend that anyone who likes fantasy (or even who doesn't - as this is a great place to start) reads this.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A shame this is the debut novel, 7 Aug. 2013
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
It is a shame that the start of what is in my opinion is one of the greatest fantasy series ever written begins with The Sword of Shannara.

The complaints have always been aimed at the similarities between this novel and The Lord of the Rings and it is impossible not to see those similarities. In fact in some cases there are times when it almost seems that whole chapters and scenes have been lifted from one book and put into this one. This is a shame because that is what a lot of people always think of when they hear someone talk of Shannara and they know nothing of the great works that would follow this one.

There are however good things to be said about this book beyond this major criticism. For a start, as good as Tolkein's vision was it can't be denied that as a story, the Lord of the Rings could be lacking at times. Tolkein's every sentence was a line of poetry and the detail of his books lean away from literary fiction towards the writing of some previously undiscovered text book. It is no secret that in order to make the movies the brilliant stories that they were they had to borrow heavily from the appendices. Where Terry Brooks moves ahead is that I think his writing style is better suited to a novel than Tolkein's was.

Now, before all you die hard Tolkein fan's instantly revolt against this notion think about it. Tolkein was a fantastic writer but reading the lord of the rings is hard work. It is not unenjoyable but it is an effort. Terry Brooks' writing has more pace and is much easier to read which allows you to become more engrossed in the story itself.

That being said there are a lot of signs of a debut novel in this book. There is a great deal of repetition and hammering the audience over the head with certain points. One of the major writing lessons that needed to be applied to this novel was 'Show, don't tell.' I think some careful editing and a strict diet could take two hundred pages from this book and the leaner meaner version would be something that could easily raise this story another star in the rating.

Overall I just want to say that please don't judge a whole series by the debut novel. Yes there are a great deal of similarities between this book and The Lord of the Rings but it is only in this novel. In the rest Brooks takes his original elements and expands on them to create one of the most complete and interesting fantasy series in recent times.

At the very least give the next novel, The Elfstones of Shannara, a try. It is one of the best stories, if not the best, that Mr Brooks has ever written so if you still don't like the series then, at least you will have been able to make a properly informed decision.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Sword of Shannara, 28 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
Let me first explain that the only reason that I didn't give this book the full five stars was because of the fact that the plot was pretty much that of Lord of the Rings. However, Brooks uses the traditional farm-boy to hero transition in a whole new way,where the protagonist isn't an all-out goody goody throughout, in a world filled with richly detailed characters who don't become steroetypes of their races. His world is described vividly, giving the tale a feel of a true fantasy epic. The reader also sees that none of the story is stretched out to an unnecessary length, the pace keeps the story moving at a good sped and it doesn't pad out the tale with unnecessary complications or distractions from the overall plot. It is also not too long whe compared to some other fantasy novels, which I see as a point in its favour. It contains all that the other novels do, epic landscapes, developed characters that develop themselves as the plot is driven forward, epic battle scenes, intriguing politics and well-constructed magic. I call it that because the system of magic used doesn't take the "silly" route where it all becomes a bit extreme, and Brooks doesn't use magic to remove plot holes as some writers are tempted to do, when asked, "How did this happen?" he doesn't shrug his shoulders and say, "Magic." It doesn't beat around the bush to boost its page count, either. Deaths of characters are never melodramatic and dragged out to a point where you think to yourself, "Well, to be honest I wasn't that keen on him..." but you still feel a sense of the characters' loss, just without them moping and moaning for a whole other chapter. Overall, a stonking good read, essential for any fans of fantasy, especially Tolkien fans. Nothing more remains to be said except this: READ IT.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A sword you just can't hate, 21 Feb. 2012
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
Intellectually, I should hate "The Sword of Shannara." Authors like Dennis McKiernan, Terry Goodkind and Christopher Paolini throw me into a white-hot rage.

But for some reason, I simply can't bring myself to dislike Terry Brooks and his debut novel, "The Sword of Shannara." Perhaps it's because he's worked so hard SINCE this book to create a distinct fantasy world, or perhaps it's because of the novel's wide-eyed earnestness. But as Tolkien knockoffs go, this is one of the more innocuous ones.

In a future medieval/postapocalyptic time, the mysterious druid Allanon comes to the town of Shady Vale, and warns young half-elven Shea Ohmsford that Sauron... I mean, the Warlock Lord will soon be trying to find him. Shea is the last descendent of Jerle Shannara, and as such is the only person in the whole world who can use the Sword of Shannara. He also gives Shea some magic Elfstones.

Faster than you can say "Shire... Baggins," minions of evil arrive at Shady Vale. Shea and his adoptive brother Flick escape their town, and meet up with Shea's friend Menion and a little gang of the expected tropes (a prince, a dwarf, and two elves). Now they must save a kingdom, wage war against the Warlock Lord, and recover the Sword before it's too late.

"The Sword of Shannara" is pretty shameless in knocking off "Lord of the Rings" -- the basic plot, the giant mutant robot spider, the characters, even the "death" of the wizardly mentor all reek of J.R.R. Tolkien. It reads like the first fantasy that a 15-year-old Tolkien fanboy would write while he's still working out the kinks of how to actually make a story.

And yet... it isn't that bad.

There's something very simple and earnest about the book. Part of this is because of Terry Brooks' prose, which is solid and unpretentious -- lots of strong descriptions, decent enough dialogue, and a genuine sense of atmosphere in scenes like the Skull Bearer's arrival in Shady Vale (if you can stop quoting lines from "Lord of the Rings").

Similarly, the characters are totally derivative -- Shea is Frodo, Allanon is Gandalf, Flick is Sam, Menion is Merry and Pippin, Balinor is Aragorn and Boromir, Hendel is Gimli, Dayel and Durin are Legolas, and so on. But honestly, they have the same earnest, pleasant-but-not original quality as Brooks' writing style, making them likeable even though they're wholly unoriginal.

"The Sword of Shannara" isn't very good, but it isn't horrible (especially as Tolkien knockoffs go). But it's a decent fluff read, and Brooks spent a lot of effort making his later books much more original.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge too harshly!!, 28 Dec. 2013
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
I decided on the task of reading the entire Shannara series in chronological order (rather than publication date). This book enters after a number of earlier series despite being Brooks' first published book of the shannara saga. This is why I'm so generous with it really. Yes it does mirror LOTR very closely in some of the structure of the story but there are some marked differences too and some original ideas. The Word and the Void, the Genesis of Shannara, Legends of Shannara are all fantastic series like a Russian doll set in reverse opening the history of the world of Shannara which we discover is a post-apocalyptic US thousands of years after a nuclear war. The imagination of the whole saga is breathtaking, poignant at times and some truly wonderful characters of which Nest Freemark is my personal favourite. If you can get past the LOTR duplication I would definitely recommend the whole series starting with the Word and the Void. Magical!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sooo disapointed..., 19 Jun. 2009
By 
J. Cavanagh "Nest" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series (Paperback)
I have been reading fantasy for around 15 years now but had never got around to the Shannara books. I was really looking forward to getting stuck into these highly rated (if you read the cover) books but soon realised that there were just too many plot similarities to 'the lord of the rings' for it to be a coincidence.

Sooo disapointed... I will persevere for now, but it has become comical to see how many brazen plot references can be squeezed into the first half of the first book.

Ah well.. I guess if you experiencing fantasy with fresher eyes than mine and you find 'The Lord of the rings' a bit hard-core than this might make a really good read.

I think I am in a minority...
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The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series
The Sword Of Shannara: Number 1 in series by Terry Brooks (Paperback - 5 Oct. 2006)
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