Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks
I loved the Shannara series! I know many people think that Brook's simply copied off LOTR, but Shannara was never written to be published in the first place, but written after reading the LOTR for the first time, as a side project while studying law. All fantasy leads back to Tolkien. I have read many books and seen many movies and they all come from his ideas.
Brooks knows how to capture the characters without going overboard and gives you an escape from everyday life, which many people need. So many people are so critical these days. At least he is doing what he loves to do and brings good adventure to life through his books.
Submitted by Petit Sourice
I am still intrigued at how I found these books fascinating. Several comments by other reviewers are valid:
1. Fantasy readers were drawn to the world, not the characters (lets face it, the Ohmsfords are BORING and Alannon is straight out of a farce about fantasy).
2. Younger readers LOVE this book.
I read this book when I was 11. I am now 35 and reread it at age 30.
One word: Yawn.
But when I was 11, it was a GREAT read. And there is nothing wrong with enjoying a book as a teen. The Sword was actually the first book that I read and started me down a long road of fantasy novels. By the time I was 13 I had read Stephen R. Donaldson's works, a huge chunk of Asimov, and a myriad of other authors who had one book and never really took off.
I still give Brooks a huge thumbs up for this series because it provided a great escape into another world for me and it resulted in me really seeing the value of good Fantasy, SF, and Horror. If it were not for his works I probably would not be such an avid SFF reader today.
Submitted by Jenni
I'm 13 years old and I really enjoyed the book. It was fun to follow and engaged me quickly and I was up till 3 in the morning reading it I was so intrigued with the language and the storyline that I just couldn't put it down. I was surprised with the outcome although some parts of the book were pretictable and other parts kept me guessing for hours. Some of the characters were unbeliveable and others were people I could relate to. All in all the book was good and it was better because someone my age is able to follow it.
Submitted by Hans Vink (Netherlands)
This must be the worst fantasy novel I've ever read. I wonder why so many people like it so much. The first few pages were fine, but then the story got really predictable, and remained so until the end.
The framework of the story and the world Brooks creates are at best simplistic. I mean... a world consisting of a North- (home of the trolls), South- (humans) West- (elves) and Eastland (dwarfs, gnomes)... He could have put a little more thought into that. Another example is the highly basic outlining of the evil creatures. The Skull Bearers (lol) from the northern Skull Kingdom (lol even louder) controlled by a Warlock Lord in his lair at Skull Mountain (crying out loud).
Other sources of irritation:
* Up till page 270 there is basically only one storyline
* Similarities with LOTR
* No real character development
* Super dwarf Hendel (intelligent, strong, stealthy and agile) as an easy problem solver
* Only one woman in a book containing 726 pages (not good!!!)
Story framing: The Warlock Lord wants to conquer world. Of course our heroes cannot tolerate this. The Evil Lord can only be stopped and destroyed with the mystical Sword of Shannara. This Sword can only be used effectively by an heir of the house of Shannara, of which there is only one left: Shea Ohmsford. After a very, very long walk with all the necessary hindrances and an endless repetition of badly formulated doubts and thoughts, Shea finds the Sword and defeats the Warlock Lord.
This book is the apex of no-brainer literature.
Submitted by Homer
Much has been made of how much of a LOTR ripoff this book is and of what significance that really is. The significance is that it revealed the fantasy fiction market as a bunch of people who are willing to settle for subpar storytelling merely to get their fix of familiar new worlds.
Fantasy readers seem to be drawn not necessarily to compelling stories or characters (though those are nice) so much as to sentimental depictions of fantasy worlds. It isn't Terry Brooks's fault that a bunch of people like his book because it creates for them a soothing, sentimental landscape to escape to. Hey, that's pretty cool really. But it does dishearten me to think that a book that is such a thinly veiled ripoff with awkward prose, countless pages of superfluous storytelling (is it at all relevant or interesting that Brooks's world might be a post-apocalyptic earth? No!) and stereotypical characters is regarded so highly by so many adults.
What this book offers most is hope; hope that anyone with a decent vocabulary and the patience and drive to write a big fat book can find financial success in the arena of fantasy fiction (as witnessed by the success of such mediocre talents as L.E. Modesit, David Eddings, and the excrutiating Ms. Mercedes Lackey to name a few). However, this makes fantasy a very difficult genre to get into if you enjoy a book with a bit of substance to it, and thus why the genre is marginalized in discussions of literature.