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The Elfstones of Shannara (The Sword of…

The Elfstones of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara) (original 1982; edition 1983)

by Terry Brooks, Darrell K. Sweet (Illustrator)

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4,104341,228 (3.71)31
Title:The Elfstones of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara)
Authors:Terry Brooks
Other authors:Darrell K. Sweet (Illustrator)
Info:Del Rey (1983), Mass Market Paperback, 576 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Fantasy, P-back

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The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks (1982)



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I didn't think that there could be a more serious threat to the world after the Warlock Lord, but I was wrong. A giant demon army is more dangerous than a corrupted druid.

Wil, the grandson of Shea, is a healer. Inspired by the death of his parents by a fever, he has been studying at Storlock, and he is the first non-gnome to be taught there. He is knowledgeable about the workings of other cultures in the world, but is still gullible enough to fall for their tricks. He knows that he is good at healing, having learned from the best, but he has very little confidence in his ability to protect Amberle. Even though he doesn't trust himself to protect Amberle, Wil does take his responsibilities to her very seriously.

Amberle is sweet and innocent, and so full of fear. She was delighted and honored to be one of the Chosen, the first woman in centuries, and proud that the Ellcrys spoke to her far more than to the others, but she started to feel that the tree was stealing her identity, or sense of self. While Amberle's sacrifice was very moving, I couldn't help but think that it would have been more so if she had undertaken the quest with the knowledge of what she would be giving up. If, in her fear of losing herself, she had still been willing to go on the quest, knowing what the cost would be. She has a great deal of sweetness in her, and becomes emotional easily.

Eretria is strong, able and full of herself, yet she still manages to be somewhat vulnerable. When you learn what Cephelo has planned for her you can't help but feel bad for her, and even more so when you learn how she came to be in Cephelo's camp. I loved how protective she was of Wisp and I wish Wisp would have survived to learn to live without is strange and somewhat evil mistress. Eretria's morals weren't as strong as Amberle's or even Wil's, but given the fact that she was raised among thieves and cutthroats, it's surprising that she had as strong of morals as she did. When we were first introduced to the Rovers I was not thrilled. It was obvious, with their colorful clothes, travelling wagons and even their name--Rovers--that they were meant to be a new version of the Roma people. Haven't the Roma experienced enough stereotyping without it showing up even in a fantasy book? None the less, I still did find myself enjoying their strange culture, and the way Eretria was trying to escape from it.

Allanon, as before, was the puppet master, getting people to do what he wanted to save the world. Oh, in some ways I like Allanon, and he does seem to love the world. He will do anything to save the races,but if you are the instrument he chooses to use to save them, don't count on him trying to save you. He would sacrifice any person to save the world, though he doesn't seem to care much for the individual person.

I found the way that Eventine favored his older son to be very annoying. Why couldn't he love both his children? This one flaw made him seem far less heroic then he might have otherwise. Especially because of how obnoxious Arion is. Arion is arrogant and condescending. He begins to damage his relationship with Ander because Amberle turned more to Ander for comfort after the death of her father, rather than to Arion. From there Arion continued to try to diminish Ander's part in the kingdom, and is stupid enough to be angry at Ander for standing with Amberle when she was the best hope the world had, and she disliked that even more than any of the others. Sadly, Eventine's behavior even managed to throw a shadow over his legacy from the last book.

I was saddened to learn that Balinor had no children, though I did like Stee Jans a lot, and he probably wouldn't have come, or at the very least, he wouldn't have been so prominent a character, had Balinor had children who were willing to come to the aid of the elves. I was also somewhat disappointed that we didn't learn what happened to Panamon Creel, or what happened to Menion, especially after the big deal that the Sword of Shannara made of his instalove with Shirl Ravenlock. I was disappointed that we didn't see Durin and Dayel again. We were in their home after all. I was also somewhat taken aback when we didn't get to see Shea again, though I was delighted we got to see Flick. Poor Flick, he knew that Allanon couldn't be trusted to take care of Wil, but Wil went with him anyway. Not that he really had much of a choice since otherwise they likely would have had only a few more months or maybe a year til they were all killed by demons, but still, Flick was right when he told Wil not to trust Allanon.

I was glad to see that Keltset's sacrifice was not in vain and the trolls came to the aid of the elves, though from the looks of the trailers, the TV show probably ruined that.

The plot was more unique--or at least less obviously pulled from the Lord of the Rings then was that of the Sword, and I was glad to see some strong women for main characters, but I thought there were more points where the plot was weak in this book than in the Sword.

One thing that I forgot to mention in my review of the Sword is that I really like the way that all the races (except for the elves) are referred to as men or as mankind, even the gnomes, even when they are fighting for an evil cause and willing to wipe out everyone else, their humanity is still acknowledged.

Overall I still really like this series, though as with the last book, I don't know how a conflict could possibly be more dangerous than this one was. ( )
  NicoleSch | Jul 8, 2016 |
not quite this cover but near enough
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Fantástico 2º Volume da Trilogia Shannara.
A história passa-se 50 anos depois de Sword of Shannara e neste volume explora-se a ameaça de fuga dos Demónios aprisionados no "Forbidding" pelo poder duma árvore mágica dos Elfos. Como seria de esperar, é ao neto do Shea Ohmsford, Wil Ohmsford, que cabe a tarefa de acompanhar e proteger Amber Elessedil na busca do "Bloodfire" onde vai embeber a semente da árvore "Ellcrys". Os perigos na busca são mais que muitos enquanto os Elfos vêm a sua civilização em risco de desaparecer por terem uma ajuda muito escassa por parte dos Humanos (que acham que enquanto o perigo não for visível e concreto não se querem envolver). As analogias com o comportamente egoísta e mesquinho do ser humano são muito bem exploradas e os Demónios são mesmo aterradores.
Apesar de explorar um pouco menos os cortes de acção e passagem para outros pontos da história, inclui elementos de Fantasia muito empolgantes como as bruxas gémeas num dos pontos mais fulcrais da história e tem um final totalmente épico. Posso garantir que este escritor fica registado como um dos meus favoritos de Literatura de Fantasia. ( )
  bruc79 | Jul 31, 2015 |
My favorite of all of Brooks' books. ( )
  GSB68 | May 19, 2015 |
I have noticed that a lot of people have rated this book higher than the first simply on the basis that unlike the first book it is not a carbon copy of Lord of the Rings. This I will admit is true, it is not a carbon copy, but as far as I am concerned, it is still Lord of the Rings, and moreso, it suffers from what I call sequelitis. First, consider that the book has as its main character a young man (Wil, who is related to Flick, the hero of the first book), who has barely reached the age of majority, going off on a great adventure to save the world. This time the story is about an elven woman who is carrying the seed of a tree that has died and this seed needs to be replanted so that the tree can be reborn and the great evil banished from the world. Secondly, much of the book involves a huge battle between the armies of this great evil while Wil and his burden (the elf girl) go off and do their own thing, much in the same way that Frodo and Sam go off and do their own thing while the others fight against the forces of Mordor.
The reason that I say that this book suffers from sequelitis is because, like most sequels, it is set after the original book (and in this case, it is fifty years) and it turns out the great evil that was defeated in the original book wasn't actually all that great because there is an even greater evil out there that must be defeated so that everybody may once again live in peace. Also, despite the fact that this is listed as the second book in a trilogy, it appears that a trilogy was never actually planned but came about due to the success of the first book, so a sequel is written so as to capitalise upon that success (something that we see all too often come out of Hollywood).
What is interesting is that I have been forced to think about the idea of 'what is fantasy' recently because somebody actually asked me that question. I had to think about it, and have come to realise that modern fantasy is much different to what the original fantasy stories were. These days they are just a form of escapism and entertainment and do not come very close to what we would consider to be literature.
When considering the origins of fantasy I generally look back centuries before Lord of the Rings was written: basically to the Ancient Greeks. Here we have what could be considered two foundations, first of all that of the myth, and secondly that of the allegory. The best example of the myth would be the Odyssey and with this story the original hearers would actually look up at Odysseus as a character after which they could model their lives. He was a hero in the true sense of the word because he was in fact a role model. These days with modern fantasy, such as this book, we would not be reading it to consider the protagonist as a shining example of humanity for which we can follow. This is certainly the case here, and in Lord of the Rings.
The second form is what I would call allegory, and Plato's description of Atlantis is an example of this. Here Plato is creating an imaginary nation as an example of what he believes a good and just nation looks like. Allegory also takes a different form in that it is also satire. Lucian of Samotosa and Aristosphanes are examples of ancient writers using fantasy in that way, but then there are also modern writers, such as Jonathon Swift and C.S. Lewis. However I hesitate to consider Tolkien to be a form of allegory since he hated the idea.
Tolkien, however, is not necessarily the father of modern fantasy either, because prior to him (and Lewis) we have stories such as Barsoom and Conan which, while not morality tales or allegory, they were fantasy, but more in the sense that they were adventure stories that would appear in boys magazines. The development of fantasy here was in essence the adventure, but in a sense it was taking the unknown to a new level. As the world became smaller, and the unknown (such as darkest Africa) became known writers would expand their horizons: Conan going to the mists of history, before the waters covered Atlantis, and John Carter leaving the confines of this world to explore the countless other worlds beyond our atmosphere.
That, in the end, is what modern fantasy probably is, namely adventure stories set in the unknown, targeted at a specific set of interests. Gone are the morality tales and the allegories – they are not needed anymore in our postmodern world where everything is right, as long as it does not infringe upon the rights and health of other people – morality is no longer objective but subjective, and we see that shift as we move from the 80s fantasy of Eddings and Brooks, to the fantasy of the naughties with the likes of George R.R. Martin. ( )
1 vote David.Alfred.Sarkies | Mar 5, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Brooksprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimMapsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, DarrellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The night sky brightened faintly in the east with the approach of dawn as the Chosen entered the Gardens of Life.
-Der alte Mann im Schaukelstul summte leise vor sich hin, während er in den in der Dämmerung liegenden Wald hinausblickte. Weit im Westen, jenseits der grünen Mauer der Bäume, die undurchdringlich die Lichtung umschloß, auf der seine Hütte stand, sank die Sonne unter den Horizont und das Tageslicht wurde fahl und grau.-
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345285549, Mass Market Paperback)

Ancient Evil threatens the Elves: The ancient tree created by long-lost Elven magic, is dying. When Wil Ohmsford is summoned to guard the Amberle on a perilous quest to gather a new seed for a new tree, he is faced with the Reaper, the most fearsome of all Demons. And Wil is without power to control them....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:25 -0400)

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The grandson of Shea, Wil Ohmsford, searches for Amberle, the Chosen whose gift of Bloodfire is needed to create the Ellcrys tree that protects against demons.

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