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The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

The Sword of Shannara (original 1977; edition 1991)

by Terry Brooks

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5,67684752 (3.5)139
Title:The Sword of Shannara
Authors:Terry Brooks
Info:Orbit (1991), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fantasy, Sword of Shannara

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The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks (1977)


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Review originally posted on Goodreads.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a rough start with a lot of explanations and not much action. It gets better and I ended up quickly devouring the book. Though the use of "awesome" to describe things because a bit overused. The power of the sword came as a surprise and sort of anti-climatic. Nonetheless, it's a worthy read. ( )
  apollymipanthos | Feb 25, 2017 |
I read this book once in middle school, and I remember really enjoying it. I decided to reread it, and found that my tastes had evidently changed. While I still very much enjoyed the story, some of the characters were clearly lacking. In addition, the writer's choice in point of view was very distracting. It was a more omniscient point of view, however there was no clear direction. For example, we'd be listening to one characters thoughts, he'd see another character sitting off to the side, and within the same paragraph we'd now be in the new characters thoughts. It was sometime confusing to keep straight who was thinking what, who knew what, and what was happening. Another point, is that some of the foreshadowing and structure was just odd. The first sentence of a chapter states that the character 'reached the river at dawn' and then goes back to explain how he journeyed there. But because we know he reaches the river at dawn, there's almost no importance to the obstacles he faces along the way, because we KNOW he gets there. Still a good book for nostalgia's sake but likely not one I would pick up again anytime soon. ( )
  sasta | Feb 1, 2017 |
I know when I started this book that I was in for some spic adventire and it did not disappoint. In a way it sort of reminded me of Lord of The Rings considering that Brooks was inspired by Tolkien it makes sense. A Half Man/ Half Elf is burdened with a quest that only he can do to defeat the big bad. He is accompanied by a Wizard (or a Druid in this case) and several others including a bad ass Dwarf, who ended up being my favorite character.

There were two big gripes I had about this book. One was the long monologues about the History. It just seemed to go on and on and on. I understand that Brooks was trying to do he wanted the reader to have the entire backstory so there would be no questions, but man was it just so hard to get through all that reading!

The second problem I had was the major lack of females in this story. One does not even show up until the last half of the book. I'm not saying that there had to be a major female character (although that would have been awesome) but at least a couple of appearance would have sufficed.

Despite these two things the book was okay. Not the absolute best fantasy I have read and not the worst either. I am going to read The Elfstones of Shannara because I would like to compare it to the show when I watch it. ( )
  NelmsTree | Nov 28, 2016 |
Typical fantasy in the mode of Lord of the Rings.

I've read enough fantasy to see what was coming. I knew where most of the "twists" would be.

I liked how Allanon was concerned about whether or not he was doing the right thing.

The secret of the Sword was good. ( )
  nx74defiant | Sep 25, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book. Yes, I could see the obvious imitation of Lord of the Rings. There were times when I was laughing because the imitation was so blatant, and it became only too easy to refer to the characters by the names of their Middle Earthen counterparts. But, for some reason, I still really enjoyed it.

(Spoiler Alert)

The characters had some differences from the LOTR characters, most notably Allanon. He is ancient, mysterious and magical like Gandalf, but unlike Gandalf, Allanon does not have the trust of Shea (Frodo) when he appears to send him on his quest. Frodo trusted Gandalf completely, as a friend and a mentor. Allanon not only doesn't have Shea and Flick's trust, he doesn't even try to earn it, obscuring information and guiding them with half-truths. The company or 'fellowship' trusts Allanon more from necessity than because he as actually gained their trust. Gandalf was honest with Frodo from the start of the quest. Frodo knew it would be dangerous. He knew there was a good chance he wouldn't succeed. He knew he probably wouldn't survive.

Shea understood the undertaking was dangerous, but he never understood the full danger. He didn't realize that in order to wield the sword and defeat the Warlock Lord, he would have to undergo a test of mental and spiritual strength, whereas Frodo was aware of the fact that the Ring would test him in this way before he even arrived and Rivendell. Shea is brave, and he does accept the task forced on him by circumstances, but he doesn't have the strength that Frodo has. Frodo knew, and accepted everything that happened to him, and willingly volunteered to take the Ring to Mordor. Shea is practically forced to go along when Menion gets into conflict with Allanon, apparently with the sole purpose of getting Shea to come. And Shea would have had to come, but he would have been a stronger character if he had chosen this on his own. One gets the impression that, even if Sam had not come with Frodo, Frodo would have been able to hold his own in the wilderness (without Sam, Frodo may not have had the strength to resist the Ring, and we all know what would have happened in Cirith Ungol without Sam, but Frodo could have taken care of himself on his own, at least at first,) whereas Shea is practically helpless the moment he finds himself on his own.

Menion was difficult to pin with a LOTR counterpart. His ability to irritate Allanon made me think of him as Pippin, but his ability to fight made him seem more like Legolas or Aragorn. I really liked Menion except for two things. First, his obnoxious instalove with Shirl Ravenlock, and second, his very annoying habit of leaving his sword lying around only to notice it's absence when he most needs it.

Like Samwise, Flick managed to become one of my favorite characters. He is the character who I'd say paralleled his LOTR counterpart the most in this series, being loyal, brave when he had to be, and simple in his desires.

Durin and Dayel are one part Legolas, one part Merry and Pippin, since they care for each other and largely remain together, though the fact that Dayel has a fiancé waiting for him back home makes him seem very un-Lord of the Rings-like.

Hendel, being a dwarf, was the obvious character to parallel Gimli, but Hendel lacked Gimli's temper and impetuousness, so he seems to be a blend of Aragorn, Gimli and, oddly enough, Gandalf. Hendel is older than any of the others in the company, accepting Allanon, and he has far more battle knowledge than any accept the Druid, he even seems wiser than Balinor, who I would peg as the most Aragorn-like of the characters.

Orl Fane was even nuttier than Sméagol. Gollum/Sméagol had some sanity still in him. He may have had a dual personality disorder, and been addicted to the Ring, but he was still able to use his reason. Brona, 'the Warlock Lord,' 'the Dark Lord' (between Sauron, Brona and Voldemort, you'd think that authors would be able to come up with another title besides Dark Lord,) is obviously Sauron. The Skull Bearers are clearly Ringwraiths, though they aren't quite as fearsome as the wraiths, and, unlike the wraiths, they don't have a clear number.

Panamon Creel and Keltset Mallicos are more enigmas. Who are they supposed to represent? Panamon is the type of roguish character we see a lot of in fiction now, but is not present in Lord of the Rings. Keltset is another of my favorite characters in this series. He couldn't speak, and Shea and Panamon know little about him, but, in a time when trolls seem to have joined the Warlock Lord against the free peoples, Keltset is there proving that not all trolls are bent on destruction without question.

Much of the plot also mirrored LOTR, until Shea was separated from the others. This too had some similarities to LOTR, but in LOTR, Frodo willingly separates from the group, taking Sam with him. In The Sword of Shannara, Shea is separated by accident, and Flick is unable to go with him. Because of this I found the plot somewhat different, and I honestly wondered what would happen. The lack of a Boromir character also helped to keep the plot somewhat different. The closest person to Boromir was Palance Buckhannah, and even he was far more like Denethor (because he was mad) or Théoden (because he was being controlled by an evil advisor) than like Boromir. The Battle of Tyrsis is like a combination of the Battle for Helms Deep and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The destruction of the Warlock Lord is a mirror of the destruction of the Ring. Allanon's going away to sleep and recover his strength is like Gandalf's going to the Gray Havens. Shea and Flick's return home is like an odd combination of the returns of Frodo and Bilbo to the Shire at the end of their respective adventures. Like Frodo, Shea has been deeply affected by his adventure, but like Bilbo, he seems to be fairly content in his undisturbed, undestroyed home, and doesn't have to go to the Gray Havens.

The Sword of Shannara may be a blatant imitation of The Lord of the Rings, but at least it's a good imitation, which is more than I can say for Eragon. Since the villain was defeated and the threat to the world was ended, I honestly don't know where the plot of the next books can possibly go, but I'm willing to find out. ( )
  NicoleSch | Jun 29, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Brooksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, GregCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hildebrandt, TimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Het begin...Shannara
For My Parents, Who Believed
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The sun was already sinking into the deep green of the hills to the west of the valley, the red and gray-pink of its shadows touching the corners of the land, when Flick Ohmsford began his descent.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345314255, Mass Market Paperback)

Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:02 -0400)

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Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil had ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races-gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves.

(summary from another edition)

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