Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life - until extraordinary circumstances overturn his simple world…and rewrite his destiny.
When his brash young sister is abducted by a menacing stranger, Paxon races to her rescue with the only weapon he can find. And in a harrowing duel, he is stunned to discover powerful magic unleashed within him - and within his ancestors' ancient blade. But his formidable new ability is dangerous in untrained hands, and Paxon must master it quickly because his nearly fatal clash with the dark sorcerer Arcannen won’t be his last. Leaving behind home and hearth, he journeys to the keep of the fabled Druid order to learn the secrets of magic and earn the right to become their sworn protector.
But treachery is afoot deep in the Druids’ ranks. And the blackest of sorcery is twisting a helpless innocent into a murderous agent of evil. To halt an insidious plot that threatens not only the Druid order but all the Four Lands, Paxon Leah must summon the profound magic in his blood and the legendary mettle of his elders in the battle fate has chosen him to fight.
©2014 Terry Brooks (P)20114 Random House Audio
“The Sword of Shannara is an unforgettable and wildly entertaining epic, animated by Terry Brooks’ cosmically generative imagination and storytelling joy.” (Karen Russell, New York Times bestselling author of Swamplandia!)
“If Tolkien is the grandfather of modern fantasy, Terry Brooks is its favorite uncle.” (Peter V. Brett, New York Times bestselling author of The Desert Spear)
“I can’t even begin to count how many of Terry Brooks’ books I’ve read (and reread) over the years. From Shannara to Landover, his work was a huge part of my childhood.” (Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times bestselling author of The Name of the Wind)
“Terry Brooks is a master of the craft and a trailblazer who established fantasy as a viable genre. He is required reading.” (Brent Weeks, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Angel Trilogy)
“The Shannara books were among the first to really capture my imagination. My daydreams and therefore my stories will always owe a debt to Terry Brooks.” (Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Beyonders and Fablehaven series)
Residential architect in Texas. Avid fan of Tolkien and Sanderson (are there 2 more opposite fantasy writers?) Very varied tastes in writing
A couple of spoilers in this review (4th paragraph)- You have been warned!
First, I have to say that overall I am a Brooks fan. Next to the Hobbit, Brooks was my introduction into the Fantasy genre at a pretty early age with the Sword of Shannara, and I've read everything he's put out since. So the medicare star rating should be a heads up.
Most of the Shanarra series has been somewhat, "formulaic", in the overall plot line, and I do want to give props to the author for exploring new ground (though in this book it's not really a good departure in my opinion).
This story centers once again around the Ohmsford family (though now it's the Leah name as the bloodlines merged at the end of the last trilogy, Witch Wraith). Its pretty obvious that this book is much more about setting the pieces in place politically and contextually for a much larger grand story down the road.
What we get in this book is relatively mundane in terms of the plot. There is no grand "end of the world" threat taking place (at least overtly) in this story- instead a bar fight escalates into a kidnapping and a rescue that sets some things in motion, that on the surface are, (for the Shannara world), rather "dull", especially given the bloodbath the previous trilogy was.
Contrasting that dynamic, the other main criticism is that the story gets quite dark in places. One of the main characters is a 15 year old girl (her age mentioned several times in the text), the offspring of the Railing Ohmsford and Mariah Leah line. At one point she is kidnapped and brutally tortured- I hate to give that away, but at the same timeI feel one should be aware of this going in.
I don't think the description of the torture is specific enough to technically be considered graphic, though it does get the idea of what is being done across well enough through implication. Most of the Shannara characters historically are quite young and always threatened with awful deaths- this brings a grittier detail to the character's trial that may be off-putting to some, given the age of the person being tortured. While there is a sexual tension to the torture (that component is threatened a few times), it doesn't cross the line into that thankfully. For added tension though, her capture always seems to wind up with her clothing removed at the end. It's effective, if a bit disturbing.
Where in pervious stories, the tension comes from the nature of the evil protagonist of the story attempting to destroy or conquer the world (and subsequently kill the hero of the story who is trying to prevent this), this is a much more direct assault against the main characters for personal gain by the protagonist (though agendas are hinted at).
Brooks is obviously trying to go a bit deeper here in the perceived threat to the heroes and raising the tension in a different way than he has done in the past. I can't say it isn't successful, even if it does leave you feeling a little dirty at the end (though I have read much worse by other authors- it's just somewhat unexpected here).
Another flaw is that the main protagonist, while diabolical in his casual brutality, doesn't seem to have any solid direct plans to gain power, but seems to let things develop at times and be along for the ride. He comes across less as an "arch villain" and more as a sadistic opportunist.
Despite all this, I'll keep with the story and see where it goes. Brooks has said in interviews that the Shannara series is headed to a major (world changing) confrontation between the Magic and Science spheres of the world, and there are some obvious hints being set up in this story for that to play out in the future. But ultimately this 1st book of this trilogy doesn't really communicate any cliff hanging, nail biting drama that makes you want to dive right into the next book. But I remain hopeful.
No, other than jumping over situations that need more detail to fully appreciate. Example: ow they get into a bd guy's place without any work based on a young boy's directions. Suggests the bad guy wash't very smart, yet he manages to do all sorts of things that take more thought than setting 'intruder alarms' on his doors/windows.
A bit harsh for young adults, but appropriate in the context of the storyline.
Cadence and pronunciation
I don't watch TV very often, so cannot say how well this would translate to that format.
I'd sworn off Shannara novels a few years back due to the naive nature of the usual protagonists and the dreary decision making that fueled the plot. The age range of his usual hero fit the decisions to a small degree but it hurt to read people being willfully ignorant.
Picked this up in a 2 for 1 credit deal and although there are a few spots where i caught myself asking why didn't they end this threat or why is his sword suddenly NOT doing what it was doing earlier, the plot kept avoiding the path i was expecting. As far as i'm concerned that's a win for Terry and i'll check out the next one to see if he can keep me guessing.
I have been a Terry Brooks Shannara fan for a long time. The books had so much wonder, suspense, and imagination that they would grab you and you just could not put them down. That is why I was so excited when I saw this book announced, I was so excited to visit this world again!
However, what I got was nowhere near the quality I have come to expect. The story was mundane. The villain was not a character you could believe in. One minute he is this master mind villain that bas all of the southland in his grasp and the next minute he is assassinating a key political figure in a way that no one believes. One minute he is the ruler of Dark House, a place so evil and so vile that people go in and never come out, and the next he is someone who has guards with the intelligence of 3rd graders.
Sorry, but this one was not what I have come to expect.
The description of the torture. Yes, there needs to be enough detail to trigger the readers emotions but this was way too graphic. I felt sickened by in and should have stopped the story there but because of the quality of the previous books I did my best to stick with it. I really shouldn't have.
Just made the characters come alive.
The description of the torture.
What happened? It seems obvious that this book it a lead up to a series but I have never read a book that so clearly could not stand up on it's own.
Terry Brooks has done it again! His characters draw you in and you find yourself struggling alongside the main characters search for truth.
mixed feelings, Decent book and storyline, but the rest of the trilogy goes down hill. not as good as his other books.
NO, While this book is not bad the other two books in the series are not worth listening to and just listening to this one doesn't wrap up the storyline enough to stand alone.
I hold a BA in History from York University of Toronto; a 3yr Diploma in Computer Networking from Sheridan College in Oakville Ontario. I have been "reading" audio books sinces the late 80s and a member of Audible back to 2004. What a really like is a good long story preferable over 30 hours. :)
If you have every watched TV based on a book - it's thin, cut and generally has character and plot so cut down it that the two seem only vaguely related.
This book sort has that problem - if you have read the Shannara books before - this is pretty weak on plot, character development and even on action. It feels like it's written for TV.
The writing it self feels simpler then the older books but it still controlled and well written. There are less asides, less of the characters in thoughts and more predictability in the plot. It's also rather short. One of those books cut into 3 for more revue then anything else.
I really enjoyed this book and am just waiting g on book 2 to download now. it left me wanting to follow the new characters and their adventures discovering the magic and how strong it is within them.
Full of twists and turns, plenty of action, loaded with adventure, Terry Brooks has done it again.
The High Druid's Blade weaves together the past and the future of the Shannara chronicles. If you're a Terry Brooks fan, you won't be disappointed in this book.
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