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The Sword Of Shannara: The Shannara Chronicles Paperback – 5 Oct 2006
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A marvellous fantasy trip (Frank Herbert)
If Harry Potter has given you a thirst for fantasy and you have not discovered the magic of Terry Brooks, you are in for a treat (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS)
Confirms Terry's place at the head of the fantasy world (Philip Pullman)
THE SWORD OF SHANNARA is the first volume in one of the most popular fantasy series of all time, set in the same world as THE SHANNARA CHRONICLES - a major new TV series showing on 5Star in the UK and Syfy in AustraliaSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
I love the other work of Terry Brooks' that I've read, and I so badly wanted to love this too!
I went into it with an open mind - I'd heard that it had been roundly slated upon release for being a Tolkien rip-off. But, I thought, Brooks openly cites Tolkein as one of his literary influences, and surely any epic 'group-quest-for-a-legendary-object' type fantasy will run the risk of Tolkien comparisons.
You can't help but notice the similarities between the characters in the Company, and those of the Fellowship of the Ring, but I could overlook that.
It got a bit much when Gandalf (sorry, Allanon) fell to a fiery presumed demise during an epic battle with the Balrog/Skull Bearer in a scene rather too reminiscent of Moria. His last words may as well have been "Fly, you fools!"
After this, the story seemed to change tack and learn to stand on its own merits. Great, I thought. Brooks has paid his dues to Tolkien and now we're getting on with it. This is more like it.
But before I knew it we were in the city of Tyrsis, the final line of defence against the advancing army of the Warlock Lord, and we learn that the Prince Regent's mind is no longer his own having fallen under the influence of the mystic Stenmin, and all of a sudden we are back in Rohan with Wormtongue and Theoden. It was just one step too far for me. Surely Brooks, as a Tolkien fan, could see what he was doing here?
Why? This could have been a perfectly good story in its own right, there was no need for it to become the poor man's LOTR. It spoiled the whole thing for me a bit.
I'm really, really hoping it doesn't continue into the second part, but I am going to give it a chance.
I did enjoy this story, I really did. And, of course, you have to forgive Brooks somewhat for it being his first published novel. There were so many good ideas in here and they were mostly well written. The problem comes in certain word usage – I’m quite sure I saw “momentarily” at least once on each page. Plus there was other incidents of repetition, which I found confusing. I actually have no complaints at all for there being LoTR-style scenes, as the majority of the them were changed enough for it to not be seen as a copy. There weren’t actually that many near-direct scene copies, anyway. Maybe the nice amongst us can call them “odes” to one of Brooks’ favourite reads, for to saw that the Sword is like the Ring is actually pretty absurd. Perhaps if you combined the Sword with the Elfstones, you might get a Ring, but the majority of the similarities appear to come from it being a quest, which includes some inexperienced members, to defeat a dark lord of one form or the other. This scenario has been repeated enough throughout the years now that we pretty much know the basic set up without needing to be told to much. Yet the fact that this story has gone on to inspire many other series just shows its power, new ideas based on an old, as many books within a genre end up being nowadays unless an author is brave enough to break the mould.
The world set up is a little bit shaky in this book, yet I do believe that that improves in later books. In fact, the only books I’ve read of Brooks before, discounting his Magic Kingdom series which is set in a different universe, are the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series of books. In these, the world is far more rounded, so one can only assume that as Brooks moved on, he improved, as any good author should.
All considered, I’m not joining either of the “Marmite” camps of haters or lovers. I enjoyed this book, but it had flaws. Yet I am most definitely in for the long haul. Please meet me again after book two, and hope that the Shannara TV series hasn’t tainted me too much.
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Most recent customer reviews
Read a third of the book and then gave up.Read more