I did not feel that the Sword of Shannara was worth the listening time. I started listening to it since the new series was coming to MTV and my dad was super excited about it since he had read all of the books. I felt like the story was uninspired and slow, not to mention full of tons of needless repetition. I could see how the basis of the story could be compelling but how it was put together just didn't show that off.
I enjoyed the scope of the world, and the ambiguity of how magic works the most in this book. What kept me from enjoying the story fully was how glacial and repetitive the writing became.
I doubt that I will listen to more written by Terry Brooks. The Scott Brick deserves so much credit for turning something cumbersome and slow into a tolerable read.
Brick's ability to convey the range of emotion needed to connect with some of the characters was vital to making this read through possible.
I believe that this is Terry Brooks' first published novel, and unfortunately it shows. The plot moves at a snail's pace, and also suffered from unnecessary repetitions of both character situation and character exposition. By the end of the novel, I was at a point where I could no longer take the seemingly endless repetitions, and skipped forward in the performance. I resumed play mid-conclusion and I didn't care enough about how the fight between protagonist and antagonist began to rewind the audio for fear of more of the dreaded repetition. Brick's performance was incredibly solid throughout the story, and it was the only thing that kept me invested in the book past the second chapter. When I read this book for the first time 20 years ago, I remember it as an epic fantasy that pulled me along like a fallen leaf on a stream. Unfortunately, time has changed my taste in fiction and writing style.
I'm a quarter of the way through and I can't help but wonder if this is the novel JRR Tolkien would have written if he had an IQ of 60 and a mild case of syphilitic insanity. I mean, it's really bad. I would stop listening but that would be like driving by a gruesome accident and not sneaking a peak. That and the fact that I paid way too much for it and I hate wasting my money. The only thing that makes the prospect of sixteen hours more of this bearable is that I can't help but wonder how much worse it will get.
If you gave this five stars, who ties your shoes?
I feel I should write something nice. The narration is pleasant.
I'd say that if you are new to this genre, you'll enjoy this book. To me --reading it for the first time in the year 2008--seemed like the storyline was too similar to others in this genre. And there were too many convenient coincidences for my taste. I've heard later books are more interesting so I might give them a try.
This is finally release as unabridged! I have read 1000 books in the last 4 years and this is one I read every few years - again and again. This book and the prequel (first king) are his best work, then elfstones.
This book borrows heavily from better books--the plot overlaps with Lord of the Rings practically enough to warrant a lawsuit. I almost wondered if the author was purposefully trying to copy Lord of the Rings to make some sort of artistic statement, but I don't think he was, which just makes him a plagiarist. Also, I think I would have enjoyed this book more in print because hearing the horrible writing in my ear for 24 hours only made the awkward prose more noticeable. I rolled my eyes on more than one occasion and probably would have given up on the entire book if I weren't on a long bus trip. So, listening to this book was better than staring out a window and listening to babies cry and people talk on their cell phones...but it was a close call.
How great to find an unabridged audio version of one of my fav books of all time... for all of you new to the fantasy genre who are noticing the parallels to "The Lord of the Rings," keep in mind that when Terry Brooks started out there really wasn't much else in fantasy genre! While his later books show his growth as an author and the expansion of his imagination, this one has merit in its unique approach to history (post apocalyptic Elves! Wow) and the fact that it began a saga that even now continues generations later. Of course, I'm probably biased, as this book was an old friend when I was growing up... but I'm betting if you give it a listen while overlooking the obvious LotR influence, you'll enjoy it for its own merit.
I've tried re-reading the paper version of the Sword of Shannara several times since I first read it in middle school, and the book has always seemed to drag so much that no matter how hard I can't finish these re-reads. Despite my hopes this did not change with the audiobook--it was just as boring and monotonous as the paper version. What really got me with this 'read,' however--since I was expecting it might drag--is how much the book lacks consistency and believeability. The narration or characters say something in an early part of the book, and then the characters do or say things in later parts that contradict this. The main characters have staunch opinions on concepts like government and society that you would expect from a scholar-taught, despite the fact that before the book they've never been more than a two-nights' journey from their small village, are the sons of an inkeeper, and grew up in a world where books are described as rare, precious things. I understand this was Brooks' first book when he was young, but I can't wonder whether his editor gave him any criticism at all, for all the inconsistencies.
Absolutely not. Fantasy can be an amazing genre, and while Brooks doesn't represent it well in this particular book, there are books of his that do, not to mention the many other fantastic storytellers in the Fantasy genre.
Quite honestly, out of the fifty or so audiobooks I've listen to, this was the worst narration I've heard thus far. It might very well have put the definition to "melodramatic." And, as others have mentioned, the characters' speech and thoughts were virtually indistinguishable from the narrative text unless followed up or preceeded by cues from the text. I had hoped that the audiobook would take out some of the lull of the middle parts of the part that always lost me when reading hard copies, but if anything the fact that Scott Brick's tone has two styles, "melodramatic" or "obscenely melodramatic," might have made those parts worse than in the paper copy. It certainly destroyed any parts of the book that were well-written. I'm disgusted by the fact that the unabridged version of the next book in the series is also Scott Brick--it was always one of my favorites in the Shannara world, but I simply cannot listen to another book with this narrator.
I would recommend who hasn't already given Brooks' other books a try do so. While this one was certainly a disappointment to me--and seeing the comments, many others--I quite enjoyed the paper copies of many of the other Shannara books.