Nearly all fantasy books borrow from Lord of the Rings, at least a little. But this book is a blatant rip-off. Were you replace the ring with a sword replace a hobbit with a village idiot, you are 90 percent of the way there.
A village knave finds a relic of immense power and it is the only thing that can defeat the powerful bad guy. But he has to bring it to the distant, evil land far away. Fortunately, he has a somewhat surly wizard companion to travel with him. Along the way, he meets adventuring companions. One of them is a human who is the heir to a kingdom. Oh look, elves and dwarves too. But alas! They are pursued by dark-cloaked wraith-like beings.
Can our humble hobb...err village boy continue on his quest despite being seperated from his able-bodied protectors? Can he throw his sword into the volcano from when... no, wait. Can he stab the big bad guy with it?
I would recommend this story only to someone under the age of 13 who doesn't have the attention span to make it through the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is the same story, but squeezed into one book instead of three.
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.
While not the first author to borrow heavily from Tolkien, Terry Brooks is the first author that I've read that makes it too obvious with Sword of Shannara. The parallels between Sword of Shannara and the Lord of the Rings trilogy are numerous and at times, almost embarassing. Besides Menion Leah and Panamon Creel I didn't find any of the characters very interesting, and none of them were endearing. The narration is great...nothing wrong in that department. But overall, the book proved little else than a lengthy and fairly tolerable distraction--which, I suppose, does have its uses.
From Austen to zombies!
The Sword of Shannara is a fantasy book and a quest story, and as such contains many fantasy conventions: elves, druids, a magic sword, a journey, monsters, battles, perils.
Comparisons to Tolkien are perhaps inevitable, but certainly not necessary. Brooks's work stands on its own.
Enjoy The Sword of Shannara for its characters: each has a fully-realized story arc, from protagonist Shea Ohmsford, to his brother Flick, to their friend the Prince of Leah. Even the wise druid Allanon grows and changes over the course of the story.
Enjoy The Sword of Shannara for its action: the various perils are fast-moving, exciting, and original. Brooks keeps the tension going with hair's-breadth escapes and fast thinking by the characters.
Enjoy The Sword of Shannara for its dialogue: the characters speak naturally, in English that never sounds like bad Shakespeare. Dialogue is a particular gift of Brooks's, one that Scott Brick's narration deftly showcases.
Enjoy The Sword of Shannara for its world: the story takes place on Earth, far in the future, after the Old Race of Man (that's us) has blown itself up. The several races that now populate Earth are different, but have equal purchase in the world and can choose to work together--or not, although not working together is at their peril.
Finally, enjoy The Sword of Shannara for the story. The unabridged version is pretty long, but fun to listen to by yourself or with the whole family. It's always engaging and unlike many modern fantasy series it's never "pulp" in tone. And you do get the whole story. There is no overcomplicated backstory here, and you never have to run for a "companion" to figure out who's whom.
You don't need a degree in Literature to enjoy this book--although I do have one, I don't want to put it to use every time I pick an audiobook. Relax and have fun with Terry Brooks's excellent storytelling!
I had to write a review on this book because I disliked it so much. I already knew it stole elements from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I thought I would like it since I love the Lord of the Rings. Instead, I loathed this book because of how poorly it is written. The characters are so shallow and poorly constructed that I really wished they would die when in the most perilous of circumstances. The plot elements were incredibly artificial and forced. It was too unbelievable, and I don't mean a world where trolls, gnomes and elves live, but rather the way in which the author constructed tension.
When the protagonists are chasing the antagonists, everything stops them from catching the antagonists including miraculous disappearing from a closed room (how does that happen?). And, similarly, when the protagonists are in the most dire of situations, somebody at the last second comes to the miraculous rescue.
I'm not a book snob by any means and I love so many different types of books - even those books that people say are really bad or cliche. But THIS book is the single most frustrating book I have EVER read or listened to. Any emotion was insincere and empty and the characters are such complete idiots. Who rushes into a battle and then, after it's too late, realized they forgot to pick up their sword? Who sits there and watches a ferocious battle between two people you fear above all others after being told to run (along with the rest of the group) and find the object of your long quest? Nobody but the most brainless, idiotic people would do the things that these characters do, and I'm supposed to like them?
A book in the same genre as this is Fred Saberhagen's "Empire of the East". I LOVED that book and would recommend that you get that book instead of this one. For your own health, stay away from the Sword of Shannara series!
A another narrator!!!
Way too predictable.....The Lord of the Rings all over again
He was overly dramatic and unable to maintain consistency with the character voices. In fact, all the characters sound alike.
Frustration. I haven't even finished to book because it is tiring to listen to the narrator. I want to book to be over already!
The narrator really ruined the book and the prequel for me. Perhaps if he wasn't so dramatic the story would not seem quite so heavy.
I purchased the Shannara Series. Now I wish, I had not. I got to the point I was skipping chapters and felt I had not missed anything of any importance’s in the book. I have never done that in the several hundred audible books I have.
The narrator did a fine job. The story just seem to drag on and on and on.
This would be 3.5 stars if that were available. Its a great adventure with plenty of interesting characters. It has a thought provoking back story, that leads into a gripping tale. At times it felt a little too much like a condensed lord of the rings. That feeling had me looking forward to a continuation of the tale, but the next story in this trilogy is 2 generations later.
I bought this book excited to listen since I'm a fan of the genre and looking for something I haven't heard. But overall I was disappointed. Too many parallels to Tolkien, lack of character depth, lack of mystery, and WAY too much of "this is how they're feeling" for me. Don't explain everything outright, let the reader put themselves into it. Anyway, well written I guess, but not for me. I could have forgiven it if it wasn't for the many Tolkien parallels.