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.
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.
Although some think this is a blatant plagiarism of Tolkien, it is an excellent series. I believe that Brooks did read the LOTR series, and wanted to tell an interesting story that more people could follow. It is similar to LOTR, but an interesting and slightly different story in itself. Definitely worth a listen to, if at least to get the history, so you can listen to the rest of the Shannara series. The reader is great with each of the voices, and I stayed excited throughout the book!
This book has been around for some time, but I had never read it. I was excited to see it finally in unabridged format on Audible, and very much looked forward to it. I was extremely disappointed.
Other reviewers have noted the similarity to LOTR, and I concur - it's blatant (the wizard fails to meet them at the end of the first part of their journey because he was delayed by events related to the upcoming war involving all the races...). The writing is quite bad. While a lot happens, the author appears to be unable to convey any sense of suspense. He gives away the outcome of confrontations before they occur, and writes in long, expositional sentences that keep you distant from the action. That same expositional style describes most of the book - it is very difficult to get any sense or feeling of character - we are *told* about people's personalities, but never *shown* them. It becomes a little like a bad newspaper report or High School History Textbook.
Five hours into this book I have decided I cannot continue to listen to it. I prefer unabridged books because they really defray the effect of my commute to work - allowing me to get "away" from the drive. I find myself frequently losing track of what's going on in this book because it is so dull.
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!
The book was well written and easy to follow, but a little predictable. There is suspense, but you can usually guess what is going to happen next.
Don't get me wrong, I do like this book, and I think Terry Brooks is an excellent author... But, sometimes I feel like I'm listening to an abridged version of Lord of the Rings where the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I understand he is very influenced by Tolkien, as many authors are, but sometimes the similarities between this book and LOTR is just too much and I start to chuckle while listening. I still enjoy the story, but I hope his others are a little more original.
If you like melodrama. Long winded explanations of everything repeated a thousand times. Then I have the book for you. I know that it takes immense courage to write a book, and here am I ripping it apart. But, it must be done to spare you the expense and the time you will never get back. Also, I do not know if it is the readers fault. But, I wanted to choke my Iphone till the book stopped. I got through the story which is nice but the writing it self killed me. I love fantasy and listen to a ton of books this is one of the worst I have heard. I apologies to all those that love this book. But, I strongly disagree.