©1977 Terry Brooks; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
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'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 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 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.
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.
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.
"A Rival to Gandalf"
The story unfolds slowly to begin with - but builds up the characters and lets you get to know a little about them before you are plunged into this new world. Shades of the Nazgul and Fanghorn Forest are also in this story which parallels LOTR like all this genre to some degree. Never the less, it becomes more and more gripping the further you get into the story as you become intimately involved in the characters lives.
Gandalf's alter ego in this book, the Druid Alanon, disappears with regularity, but reappears as necessary and usefully resolves outstanding questions the listener may have in a roundup at the end of the tale. The time passed quickly during this long book, and enjoyably - recommended.
"Very good, but a bit long"
For his first fantasy novel Terry Brooks really went to town with SoS. It is huge. Comparisons with LotR are easily made, but this book has none of the classic feel of LotR. And keeps the folklore to a minimum. I really liked the concept of how the sword works, but you have to wait until the final few chapters of the book to find this out. I don't know if it is the narrator or just the way the book is written. But it did bug me a bit with the repeated use of words like 'undisguised amazement'. And how sudden contradictions are thrown in one after another in battles and other action sequences. These are minor gripes though and if you are ready for a book of epic proportions this will do nicely.
I am biased because I enjoy good fantasy stories and this amongst the best with an excellent narrator
"mediocre story with questionable narrator"
having read the genesis of shannara, which i really enjoyed, i decided to go back to the beginning and read where the series originated. after my 3rd attempt i finished it, and that was only because all my currently stored novels were read. im not sure if this was a tedious story or it was due to the narrator who certainly didnt bring anything to the story. i believe my journey int8 shannara will be curtailed at this pount, theres plenty of better stories to read.
Redo with Steven pacy pleeeeease.
And really bring the characters alive.
The narrators Irish accent is a little to much
The presentation by the narrator was top draw, able to listen whilst doing others things
A truly epic story, had everything from action, suspense to character development for all main characters.
Scott's narration creates a vivid picture from his words, allows you to visualise the world that Terry Brooks created in your mind.
"Basically Lord of the Rings Retold"
Other reviewers have mentioned the similarities between this book and the Lord of the Rings. I would go father and say its basically just the same story with names and locations changed. A bit of a rip-off really but still quite enjoyable if predictable.
I am a long time fan but the narration is wrong so wrong.
Secrets, action, life, and escapism.
Change the narrator -perhaps English.
Not to listen to any more of the series until the narrator is changed.
Why spoil such a fantastic story with inappropriate narration, is there no judging system?
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