I read the Sword of Shannara years ago, when it first came out. I remembered the book as fairly imitative of The Lord of the Rings but didn't realize just how much Terry Brooks relied on Tolkein until listening to the audiobook.
What strikes me most about my second time through is how much the storyline sounds like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. The plot is pushed along by a series of encounters with one monster or another, moving from battle to battle with a bit of story in between. Still, it's an enjoyable book and launched a whole new generation of Tolkeinesque fantasy novels into the world.
Scott Brick's reading is uneven and he frequently dropped into and out of accents, sometimes at random. I figure if the narrator's interpretation gets noticed, then he hasn't done his job correctly.
Overall, I'd recommend this book to young adults wanting a first taste of fantasy adventure. Just don't expect too much out of the story and read it as the fluff it is.
I enjoyed the paper version of this book greatly and thought I would enjoy it again as an audiobook during a long trip. The narration just destroyed the book and I was unable to get past the first instalment.
Scott Brick is usually an impediment to any book he narrates, but in the Sword, he was truly awful. Tremulous overemphasis on any speech made by the character Allanon just made me want to pierce my eardrums with a needle rather than continue to listen.
Disappointment that such an enjoyable book could be ruined in such a way
I met Terry Brooks not long after his novelization of Hook. He was a great guy (said that Hook novelization made him far more money than the Shannara series at that point) so it pains me that my opinion of this book has fallen so far. Not only does it hit the same basic characters and plot points as the Lord of the Rings but Brooks never uses a single modifier in a sentence when two or three would do (they crept slowly, cautiously, towards...). Every character has an additional handle (the highlander, the valeman, etc). He tries to ring tension out of minutia and spends a lot of time having the characters recap things for those with a short attention span. I never read any other books by the author so I hope his style improved because there is a certain high school feel to a lot of the writing here.
I've been an Audie Awards judge since 2008. I have enjoyed audiobooks since the days when they were called "Books on Tape".
This story teller seems to lend him self well to whatever he's reading and reads fantasy with an intensity that leaves the listener craving more. This story is a great escape, typical of the "Lord of the Rings" type genres of a quest of a young lad struggling with himself on the edge of manhood and his struggles with an item of mystical improtance. The plot line is a little dry. The reader is left wishing for more romance or humor in the novel. However, it is made up for in the quests and characters the hero winds up getting involved in.
This audio book was well read with the proper level of emotion to add to the suspense of the story. Great job! I will be a long, repeat customer.
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.