When I first saw the rating people were giving this book I was confused and a little upset (and down right angry that some reviews were accussing a good author of plagurizm). As a teenager this was my favorite book to read. Based on what I remebered from my readings I immediately clicked 5 stars as my rating.
Then I downloaded and listened to the book.The narrattor is awful,
he has no range for characters,making them all sound alike, and his voice is very bland. Also as the book went along I started to notice some of the similarities to Lord of the Rings that I never would have picked out reading the book. Another thing that really started to annoy me was how wordy every little action had to be, and alot of it was nonsense. It was really annoying when the author would have a character thinking something that he couldn't possibly know and then having the narrator accent it in an manner that makes you want to throttle him.
I don't think the book would be a bad listen if there was a narrattor like Roy De'trice from A song of Ice and Fire books,but until that happens I wouldn't suggest this listen to anyone.
I read this book 18 years ago as a child soon after first reading Tolkiens works, and enjoyed it more than those books (sacrilege I know, but this is a great, and very fun fantasy world). I was rather apprehensive about listening to this book again after reading some of the reviews here, fearing that I would be greatly disappointed and destroy the fond memories I had of it. The 18 years and hundreds of fantasy stories I?ve read since allowed me to experience it as new and I had a great time with it.
Of course it is true that there are similarities to LOTR, but to call this robbery or that it ruins the story would be a big stretch and only be denying yourself a enjoyable experience. Like many fantasies, this is the story of young men coming of age in a perilous world facing an impending doom and only through them overcoming their fears and facing the darkness may the world be delivered into the light once again. This is a classic theme dating back to the Greek epics and loved by fantasy addicts everywhere. For the best of the genre, try Jordan, but Brooks creates a world I enjoyed spending my time in.
Brooks is a creative and vivid writer, drawing you into a vast world filled with wondrous places, a deep shadowed history and terrible evil. Although he does not get into the minds of the characters as much as I personally like, the characters develop strong personalities as the story unfolds and I found myself laughing and fearing with them. His style of story telling works well for creating a fast paced, highly entertaining book. I believe his writing got better in future books, though stylistically it remained consistent.
The reader is good, though there are some things that I found annoying. The characters were not distinct or expressive enough, some of the accents he uses seem out of place, and suspense was not well conveyed.
Audible needs to get the rest of this series unabridged. It only gets better.
I read this in High School and thought it was ok. I have having a tough time finishing it in audio format now that I am 40. So derivative of Tolkien to almost be plagarism. I can't stand the hyperbole style (everything is the "most horrible", "hardest thing ever done" etc). I can't believe that Terry Brooks turned this into a franchise while I was not looking (have not read much fantasy since college). I got it thinking that it might be as entertaining as George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" WRONG. I listened to the 100+ hours of the first three Martin books in three weeks. I was disapointed when it ended, and I have to wait until December for the fourth book. Get Martin's books and don't waste your time of this stuff (unfortunately I still have another Shannara book to wade through - maybe Brooks has improved with age).
I apologize ahead of time to any who thought this book was wonderful. I don't mean to take away the magic of enjoyment or be irreverent, but this book is not meant for those seeking a mature fantasy epic. This is for children. The dialogue was painfully corny at times and the reader only highlighted it by being overly melodramatic. The story was cookie-cutter, though I'm sure it was not as cliche at the time of its intial publishing. Character development was poor. Most unfortunate of all, it was boring in nearly every part of the book. A better investment for those seeking deep, original and enlightening fantasy fulfillment is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
The good news is getting this book in this form did not damage any trees. The bad news is that the electrons used in this form were probably upset at their abuse!
On wonders if the author can spell p-l-a-g-i-a-r-i-s-m. But only the story line is lifted from LOTR. The language skills of Toilken were clearly not used. "It made an audible noise"!!
Other than the stolen story-line and lack of linguistic skills, it may be o.k. for mindless listening on a long car trip if you are not easily aggitated at the story-line theft.
I've read hundreds of fantasy books, but I never seemed able to get through the Sword of Shannara, even though it's a seminal work in fantasy literature. I decided to give it a shot in audio format but it was till difficult to get through. The writing quality is, at best, below average. I certainly hope the author has grown in talent over the years. The plot is, for the most part, a rip-off of Tolkien, and therefore extremely predictable. The characters are poorly developed and at times infantile in their response to conflict. The exposition is bland and child-like. The most frustrating aspect of the writing is the absence of coherent points of view throughout the entire novel. The author flits from one character?s POV to another with no warning, sometimes going through every character in a scene randomly. This makes the entire novel disorienting.
The reader is average, but tends to over-emphasize too much. This might be primarily due to the poor writing because the author describes every encounter as ?the most grave circumstances possible.?
Spend your money on a better novel!
The best way I can describe it is to say it is a nice one inch cake with 4 inches of icing. It contains enough adverbs to season 12 such stories. Removal of the words 'almost' and 'suddenly' would shorten the book by 1 or 2 hours. And nearly half of the book is filled with character reflections that simply recap what the reader already knows.
The story is not bad - other reviewers have claimed that it ripped off Tolkien but I think that it simply uses standard hero story themes.
I found the characters inconsistent. At one point described as always being idealistic and then later described as always too pragmatic. And there are some are some character swings that are 'suddenly' 'almost' bi-polar.
The author tries too hard to tell the reader that we are at an 'edge of the seat' moment (There are way too many times that a character 'knows' that there is no escape.) I would have prefered that Brooks set up the scene, get me so involved in the story, that when these scenes come, I already know that it is a dire and suspenseful situation. I don't want to be told. Show, don't tell.
Scott Brick's narration doesn't help here, because he uses his descriptive voice to highlight these moments that aren't really moments to the point that you at best, ignore them as crying wolf, and at worst, are just irritated by them and 'suddenly' 'almost' yell at the book. And there are just way too many deux ex machina resolutions for my liking.
I am afraid that this will be my last read from the Shanara series.
This book was a definite disappointment. About half way through the story you begin to not even care about the main characters any longer. All, yes every single one, of the main characters are so hollow and shallow it's very difficult to care if any of them make it to their goals. The story goes along so quickly without any detail that the reader is left to desperately seek out the end of every single event in the story. I will say that the series has a potential, but the depth and the reality of this book simply isn't there.
I did the mistake of listening to this book after having read (probably for the 10th time) the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I couldn't help but notice that the Author has been drawing a little bit too much from Tolkien: the frail man, the druid appearing and disappearing, the elf stones (replacing the ring) and so on and so forth. The plot is pretty weak and the story is really predictable. However, there are some nice intuitions that, together with the fact that the story unfolds reasonably well, make the book a nice one-off reading. I also think the narrator did a very good job: it?s not easy to read something not particularly exciting for 26 hours, I guess...
Good book...wish I could listen to the next in Unabridged format, for that mater, the whole series. So far you have the prequel (First King of Shannara) the first book (The Sword of Shannara) and the third book (The Wishsong of Shannara). You also have the last book of another groups of books in the series but I do not remember the name. All these are Unabridged. Please get more of this series unabridged.