Top critical review
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Disappointing and clumsy storytelling
on 10 August 2004
I heard so much about this series of books and bought the omnibus edition to read the main trilogy.
Following the first story of Shea Ohmsford and his brother Flick on a quest lead by the mysterious druid Allanon and joined by a host of others from dwarf and man, they quest to find the legendary sword of Shannara to defeat the Warlock Lord.
In this first story, right from the first few chapters I became aware of the blatant use of Lord of The Rings plots and twists.
A lot of fantasy books also borrow from Tolkien in some way such as Robert Jordan and his Wheel Of Time series, but none of those writers seem to have borrowed so obviously.
I thought by the second book of the trilogy Terry Brooks would have found his own way, I was wrong. There's still huge borrowed imagery from LOTR. The 2nd story is set 50 years after the first, which is a nice touch, but has been done before with The Hobbit followed by LOTR!
The second story follows Shea Ohmsford's grandson Wil on a quest to help an Elven girl Amberle seek her destiny and save an ancient Elven tree and stop the world from being overtaken by demons.
I had heard so much about the series of books being "fantastic" and "superlative", but I don't find the writing very high quality at all. The author's characterizations are predictable, and his use of keeping the reader up to speed with the "story so far" by getting a character to "think for a moment on all that had happened since...." are so clumsy and amateur.
However, having said all this, the trilogy CAN be enjoyed as long as you don't expect too much and accept you're reading a scrambled version of LOTR!! It's a good bedtime book, which doesn't need too much thinking about.
If you're looking for the spectacular from your choice of fantasy book look elsewhere, but if you're not fussy and you're happy to jog along with a gentle harmless story then this is the book for you.
One thing I'm sure of, this trilogy is NOT the classic I was made to believe it was.