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  1. #1

    Elfstones of Shannara

    I just started reading Elfstones of Shannara without having read Sword of Shannara first.
    The reason I did so was because of the bad reviews of SoS in being a total LoTR rip-off. And frankly I didn't really want to read an inferior version of such a great trilogy.
    However I was also told that the second book EoS was much better than the first, having left the path of LoTR and following it's own original story line.
    I was also told that one could easily read Elfstones of Shannara as a standalone book without having read Sword of Shannara and without having to read its successor Wishsong of Shannara.

    However, after having read the first 50 pages or so, I have the feeling that there are details I don't know about, but would have known about if I had read the first book. These details are not necessarily crucial to the plot. However having more of a background for example on the races of Men, Elves, Trolls and Gnomes and how they relate to each other might be good to have.

    So I was wondering what your guys thoughts are on reading Elfstones of Shannara as a standalone book?

  2. #2
    I read it without reading Sword and i don't remember having any problems with it, but that was back in 8th grade so who knows.

  3. #3
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    I read it without reading the first, and there are references in Elfstones to events in Sword that were sometimes hard to follow, but it didn't lessen my enjoyment. As for the the relationship of the various races...we has an ongoing trilogy that explains it. He never really talks about it in Sword. I will say that Elfstones and the entire Shannara universe are supposed to take place in our distant future.

  4. #4
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    He talks about it quite a lot in Sword of Shannara -- how the dwarves and gnomes and trolls are mutated humans developed over generations after a Great War that may have been nuclear in nature, but the elves are not, about the past wars and who was on what side in what alliances, where each group lives, old grudges, new political issues, etc. Sword of Shannara was interjecting a far future post-apocalypse SF aspect into a new Earth that is part buccolic pre-industry and part hazardous ruins and war zones. For instance, I greatly enjoyed the magician/spirit of the swamp running around with a flashlight from the "old" days.

    But that being said, I would think that you can read Elfstones without too much trouble, given that it is set many years after the first one. You could just read a summary of the plot/main characters of Sword, so that you get references. Sword did not have an enormous amount of information about the Elves, so Elfstones sort of fills in that back story with the new problem.

  5. #5
    I don't think SoS was a LoTR ripoff. I rather enjoyed it. I wouldn't skip it.

  6. #6
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    My memory must not be as good as yours, Kat. I don't remember those kind of details at all in Sword. I thought the whole, "all the other races are mutated humans, except Elves" thing was in Elfstones, but I also don't remember him explaining, except very cursorily, about the war, and how dwarves came about when certain men spent too much time hidden away in caves and stuff like that. Of course, it's been over 25 years since I read Sword, so that probably explains my inability to recall. Damn senility.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Radone View Post
    My memory must not be as good as yours, Kat. I don't remember those kind of details at all in Sword. I thought the whole, "all the other races are mutated humans, except Elves" thing was in Elfstones, but I also don't remember him explaining, except very cursorily, about the war, and how dwarves came about when certain men spent too much time hidden away in caves and stuff like that. Of course, it's been over 25 years since I read Sword, so that probably explains my inability to recall. Damn senility.
    Kat's right, it's all in there. Details I would guess fade far sooner than 25 years. =)

    I'm not a big fan of Shanara, but I will always remember SoS fondly. Lots of cool characters in an enjoyable world... a fun read.

  8. #8
    I don't think SoS is so drastically terrible. I haven't read LotR but I don't get the impression that it's so much more similar to it than other things... it was just the first of the rip-offs, and so got the brunt of the ridicule. Some parts of it are well handled...others are dull. Also, like I said in the worst novel ever thread, there's only one woman in the entire book, which is a little creepy really.

    Might read EoS over the summer, I guess. One good thing about that book is that it's always available second hand for about £2.

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