Terry Brooks - General comments
I was thoroughly unimpressed with this series, particularly the "Heritage" tetralogy. I expected much more from one of the most esteemed writers in fantasy literature!
For starters: the protagonists in this series (as well as in the original trilogy) are all far to argumentative and spend 3/4 of their time arguing about what course of action to take rather than doing anything. This gets old very fast and leaves me with a cast of characters that I can't really care about.
Second: Brook's constant falling back on the concept of "a few can accomplish what many can not", which reeked of convenience over good writing. It was all too nice and neat that the protagonists could handle any problem that arose by themselves.
Third: In "Wishsong", Brook's mentions what a gentle people the Elves are, then follows by saying how they trapped the demons in the forbidding, outside of existence; leaving them to the most brutal fate possible. If the Elves were so merciful and gentle, a quick death to the demons would have made more sense.
Fourth: Each of the books could use some serious editing. The Heritage of Shannara, in particular could easily been written in three books instead of four. In "Wishsong", Brooks keeps mentioning the importance of expediency, then has his adventurers take so much time on unnecessary distractions.
These problems would be a little more forgivable if the series wasn't so heavily entrenched in the "Lord of the Rings" style that seems to pervade everything from Dungeons and Dragons to Warhammer games. It does little to stand out from other, more inspired fantasy such as Moorcock, Burroughs, Farland or Reaves.
Very few of the characters are more than tolerable, and I was actually happy when Allanon died. I think Brooks thought that Allanon would add some mystery to the series, but he just came off as obnoxious and despite the author trying to justify his lying and misleading, it just felt terribly forced. The usual solution being: "Would have done what you did if you had known the truth?"
I can't recommend this author to anyone who is looking for something different in their fantasy.
Submitted by Jacob
I began reading Terry Brooks at age 13 (now 22) when my uncle who is a huge fan of fantasy novels gave me the first trilogy as a birthday present. I immediately fell in love with them. I have read every book in print about the world of Shannara and have read the first trilogy at least three times. The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy I found a little dissapointing because of the direction he was taking the world of Shannara. Call me a purist. However, I am pleased that the new trilogy has went back towards the older style of writing that I know and love. While there is always the critism that the Sword of Shannara is a rip off of the Lord of the Rings, I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre or to a new comer who is interested in reading something in the genre for the first time. When looking for a Terry Brooks book to read, I say (along with other Brooks fans) that the Elfstones of Shannara is a book that shouldn't be overlooked.
Submitted by Colin
I have found through my time reading various critiques of literature, that people have a horrible tendency to look down upon imaginative works, namely fantasy. I have just recently read some of the reviews sent into this site about Terry Brooks' work, particularly his first novel, and was left bitterly dissapointed. It seems to be the opinion of these literature "elite" that fantasy is a genre for people who lack intelligence, are missing refinement, and are prone to waste their lives away in foolish daydreaming. In their eyes the fantasy readers of the world are merely those who lack the ability to understand what "real" literature is, and spend their time engaging in a lower form of entertainment. I scoff at these unimaginative literary snobs.
Terry Brooks is an excellent author with the abilty to create a true sense of empathy between the reader and the story's characters. He did not steal anything from Tolkien's work, influenced by it yes, but Tolkien himself borrowed and was influenced by the centuries of myth and legend before his time. With his work, Terry Brooks is continuing the oldest tradition known to mankind, storytelling. Myths, folklore, and legends are the forbears of today's fantasy, and are an integral part of the human psyche. Fantasy speaks more truth about the world and life than any other genre, it is a representation of of man's inner being. Fantasy is wrought out of necessity, man needs intuition and imagination, which fantasy supplies in our present times. Fantasy and it's great leaders, Terry Brooks being one of these, are the great story tellers of our day. To deny the power and beauty within his work or fantasy itself is to deny an essence within all mankind. I leave you with these words, and hope you all will stop to consider them.
Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org
i loved all the books i read by terry brooks. the only problem was if you read them right in a row they get too dark, i recomend reading these books but not one right after another.