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The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry…

The Sword of Shannara Trilogy (1977)

by Terry Brooks

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See full review @ The Indigo Quill

The Sword of Shanara trilogy written by Terry Brooks is about a mythical world rooted in the tension between old-world-magic and, what could be seen, as rational thought. We are taken on an expansive trip through the three separate generations of the Ohmsford family. This is a family of elven children who are actually teenagers, who unknowingly possess magical skills that can unlock some of the great events threatening the world they hold dear. The adventures in this quasi-medieval world involve the conflation of the races of men, elves, dwarves and, yes even trolls and gnomes. All of the inhabitants of this world are pawns in a struggle between the forces of magic and the books present, which smacks of an emerging modernity. Forged from an intricate history involving ancient wars and what we could see as geo-political conflicts, there emerges a sprawling epic not too different from what we experience in our own world. The author uses the character of Allanon, a man symbolizing a race of men called the druids, to parcel out historical lessons to these protagonist young people as he leads them through dangerous adventures. At one time the druids mastered the mysteries of using magic to try and better the human condition, but the intertwining epics of three generations makes the reader understand that the wielding of magic and power can have devastating effects. Absolute power tends to absolutely corrupt.

I found the work, although somewhat wordy, a wonderful read. Brooks’ power of description to the many environments, the descriptions of character emotions, and the varied monster and beast creatures, made this a treasure-trove of description. Although the two maps provided general locations to the many rivers, mountains, cities and castles, I did wish, however, that the map could provide more detail to the narrative. I believe the work was worthy of some illustrations and relief maps. I wanted to follow the treks, particularly of Jair Ohmsford’s party and his sister Brin Ohmsford and her party.

The power of the work was manifest in how the protagonist’s inner-monologue worked while confronted with flagrant evil. The young adults were driven by restraint and circumspection about what they felt they needed to do to save their selves and their kind. Their self-doubt, introspective thoughts were refreshing in an age of computer games where kids feel that destructive force is always justified. Make no mistake violence forces are afoot, but so is the power of reason. I found the young protagonists were governed by a higher power mitigating against blind rage and thoughtless action. Our protagonists in all three epics do what we all should do, question ourselves, gather some facts and have the courage to carry out our mission. We all face forces that loom bigger than what we are capable of handling.

Of course, sometimes the nature of faith enters in as well. There are no theistic components here that I can see, but there doesn’t need to be. Faith in a common good, free will and understanding that there is good and there is evil pervades these stories. The characters learn to trust one another and value each other’s purpose. There is the threat of holocaust, destruction and chaos at every turn, but this world is also governed by the forces for good. The players have stakes, experience death, separation and suffering, but all for the welfare and preservation of family and tribe.

This is a must for your library. There is a powerful imagination residing in this work. I am entertained, but I am also edified by the lessons that are so abundant in this work. ( )
  TheIndigoQuill | Nov 7, 2015 |
Too much like 'The Lord of the Rings'. Whether that is a good or bad thing, is up to the reader to decide. As for me, I thought it was a standard good read. ( )
  RamzArtso | Sep 15, 2013 |
It's easy to dismiss the Sword of Shannara as a ripoff of Lord of the Rings. In a way, it is - but it's a very good clone.

While it borrows heavily from LOTR, it stands on its own very well. In this first book from Terry Brooks, Shea Ohmsford must accompany the mystic Allanon and various allies after the titular Macguffin, the Sword of Shannara.

Sword of Shannara is worth reading for any fantasy fans or anyone wishing to get into the world of Shannara. ( )
  maxwestart | Aug 13, 2013 |
Similar to the Lord of the Rings trilogy but with a half-elf as the hero and the story in one book. Very enjoyable read. ( )
  Chris.Graham | Jul 30, 2013 |
So many ways to go with this...
Read this book many times...

5 stars for the first time I read it (1980)

1 star for when I read the Lord of the Rings for the first time (1981) and realized that Terry Brooks just used a universal search and replace on the Lord of the Rings for this book

5 stars for what this book did for the industry and the number of fantasy authors that came after it

2 stars for the writing

4 stars because it made him successful enough to keep writing because I actually think he has done some really good writing later in his career

1 star again for stealing from Tolkien

I'll split all the differences and give this book 3 stars

I definitely think it's a book everyone should read if for no other reason than it's place in fantasy history. ( )
  ferrisscottr | Jun 18, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345453751, Hardcover)

Twenty-five years ago, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks wrote a novel that brought to life a dazzling world that would become one of the most popular fantasy epics of all time, beloved by millions of fans around the world. Ten more Shannara books would follow. Now, for the first time in one elegant collector’s edition hardcover, and featuring an introduction by the author, here are the first three novels of that classic series: The Sword of Shannara, The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Wishsong of Shannara—the beginning of a phenomenal epic of good and evil.

The Sword of Shannara
Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.

The Elfstones of Shannara
The magical Ellcrys tree is dying, loosening the spell that bars the Demons from enacting vengeance upon the land. Now Wil Ohmsford must guard the Elven girl Amberle on a perilous quest as she carries one of the Ellcrys’ seeds to a mysterious place where it can be quickened into a powerful new force. But dark on their trail comes the Reaper, most fearsome of all Demons, aiming to crush their mission at any cost.

The Wishsong of Shannara
An ancient Evil is stirring to new life, sending its ghastly Mord Wraiths to destroy Mankind. To win through the vile growth that protects this dark force, the Druid Allanon needs Brin Ohmsford—for she alone holds the magic power of the wishsong. Reluctantly Brin joins the Druid on his dangerous journey. But a prophecy foretells doom, as Evil nurses its plans to trap the unsuspecting Brin into a fate far more horrible than death.

Thus begins Terry Brooks’s thrilling Shannara epic, an unforgettable tale of adventure, magic, and myth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:45 -0400)

The first three novels of Terry Brooks Shannara epic of good and evil.

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