The Sword of Shannara

The Shannara Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Scott Brick
Length: 26 hrs and 21 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7,945 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Sword of Shannara is the first volume of the classic series that has become one of the most popular fantasy tales of all time.

Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake. 

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. 

Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth....

©1977 Terry Brooks (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Not even subtle.

If you like Lord of the Rings and want to read it again, here you go.

10 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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fellowship of the sword

while listening, i couldn't stop thinking of lord of the rings. the first half of the book looks like fellowship of the ring, and the second half like the two towers and the return of the king... all in all... a good book, but doesn't seem a new story

7 people found this helpful

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not like I remembered

I remember reading and loving these books as a kid. I was disappointed to find that I just didn't enjoy this book 20 years later.

7 people found this helpful

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Average book

I’ve been reading a lot of old school fantasy lately and this one basically blends into the rest, unfortunately.

6 people found this helpful

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Ehh

Well, it wasn't BAD. But it sure wasn't good either. It's a good adventure, but the characters are flat in the storyline predictable. I'm not convinced about reading the next in the series.
It's too bad really, the world building had a lot of potential.

6 people found this helpful

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Lord of the Rings

Very similar to LOTR. So much so it took away from the book for me.

6 people found this helpful

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Revisited & found wanting again after 30 years

Still a poorly written Tolkien knock off not worth the ink it's printed on or the bytes recorded on in this audiobook.

6 people found this helpful

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A Total Ripoff

What did you like best about The Sword of Shannara? What did you like least?

I did like the story because I read it 40 yrs ago at the age of 13. I disliked that it is a total rerun of JRR TOLKIEN'S , The Lord of the Rings.

Has The Sword of Shannara turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all, I love this genre!

What three words best describe Scott Brick’s performance?

Over the top. I did enjoy his different accents and was not put off by the fact he is American doing English, Irish and Scottish impersonations. During the fight scene with Alanon and the Skull Bearer it was so exciting but still, one cannot get away from the fight scene with Gandalf and the Dragon.

Could you see The Sword of Shannara being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I do not see it! It is a total plagiarism of the Lord of the Rings

12 people found this helpful

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Bald-faced Tolkien rip-off, but ...

What did you like best about The Sword of Shannara? What did you like least?

Despite the obvious and unmistakable Tolkien rip-off (The characters and events in this story can literally be mapped straight across to the Lord of the Rings), Brooks does interject a few interesting ideas of his own. Enough so that, despite laughing at how ridiculous the writing was through the entire first 3/4 of the book, I find myself actually thinking about buying the next book.

What was most disappointing about Terry Brooks’s story?

I try not to hold a fantasy book written in the 1970's--when the genre was in its infancy--to the same standards of today. Therefore, I will make no mention of magic systems, or unique races, or world building. I will only say that this reads like a 15 year old boy's dungeon and dragon's adventure based upon the Lord of the Rings series. As I said above, the characters in this book literally map straight across to Tolkien's characters: Flick Ohmsford = Samwise Gamgee, Shea Ohmsford = Frodo Baggins, Allanon = Gandalf, Menion Leah = Boromir, Ballinor = Aragorn, King of the Silver River = Tom Bombadil, Gnomes = Orcs, Hendel = Gimli, The Warlock Lord = Sauron, Skull Bearers = Ring Wraiths, Orl Fane = Gollum. And the list goes on and on. I'm not even a Tolkien fan, and I could not miss it. Another quick example, no spoilers: The first scene opens with a man walking back to his village. He is accosted by a stranger in the road. After the stranger releases him, the man says, I thought you were a thief, to witch the highwayman replies, "you should learn to tell your friends from your enemies." That statement is utterly meaningless in this context, but it is the kind of thing a young man might write because he thinks it sounds good. The entire book is not this way, but much of it is.

How could the performance have been better?

Scott Brick, the narrator, is so much better at non-fiction than fiction. His voice has a nice tone to it, but for some reason he tried to do English/Irish/Scottish accents on the characters. (Is Brooks British?) His accents came and went constantly. I really wish he had not bothered. It was a distraction throughout the entire book.

12 people found this helpful

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Story stole from Tolkien

What would have made The Sword of Shannara better?

I only read 6 chapters before i couldnt take anymore. I wont read (or listen) to anymore from this author that blatantly steals Tolkiens work damn near word for word.
A strange, mysterious person comes to a village and tells shay,one of the main characters,that hes in danger and needs to leave. He tells shay to meet him and that he cant go with him. So shay and his brother flick set out. On the road theyre followed by some black creatures but they are miraculously saved by the coming of the dawn and the creatures disappear. (which is a mixture of Tolkiens black riders and the first encounter with the trolls combined) Then they get to another village where they have a talk with another guy that decides to join their company. The group has to go through a dark and mysterious forest. One of them climbs up the trees at one point to get their bearings. (straight out of the hobbit). Then the author goes back to stealing from the fellowship of the ring when at one point oak tree tentacles come out of a swamp and captures one of them and the others have to rescue him.

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

The narrator did a good job.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No.

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Renato
  • 02-26-07

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Keith
  • 03-23-07

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.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Deb C
  • 09-04-18

The Sword of Shannara

I love this series. I am happily and contentedly wiring my way again trying the audio version of a series I have loved for years. This was the first one I read and I am finding listening to the audio books just as enjoyable and easy to return to.

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  • Andrew Sanderson
  • 11-26-16

Compelling

Very good story, very compelling. You find yourself getting attached to everyone in the story lines.

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  • Kelwyn Warlow
  • 03-29-16

Enthralling fantasy

I am biased because I enjoy good fantasy stories and this amongst the best with an excellent narrator

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  • Elpotof
  • 03-24-16

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, l finished it, and that was only because all my currently stored novels were read. I’m not sure if this was a tedious story or it was due to the narrator who certainly didn’t bring anything to the story. I believe my journey into Shannara will be curtailed at this point; there’s plenty of better stories to read.

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  • Sarra
  • 07-02-15

Fab book

Redo with Steven pacy pleeeeease.
And really bring the characters alive.
The narrators Irish accent is a little to much

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  • Mr
  • 12-02-13

EPIC

What made the experience of listening to The Sword of Shannara the most enjoyable?

The presentation by the narrator was top draw, able to listen whilst doing others things

What did you like best about this story?

A truly epic story, had everything from action, suspense to character development for all main characters.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Scott's narration creates a vivid picture from his words, allows you to visualise the world that Terry Brooks created in your mind.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Epic fantasy

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  • Nigel
  • 05-23-14

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.

1 person found this helpful

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  • J
  • 01-28-14

Poor narrator

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I am a long time fan but the narration is wrong so wrong.

What did you like best about this story?

Secrets, action, life, and escapism.

How could the performance have been better?

Change the narrator -perhaps English.

Did The Sword of Shannara inspire you to do anything?

Not to listen to any more of the series until the narrator is changed.

Any additional comments?

Why spoil such a fantastic story with inappropriate narration, is there no judging system?

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  • Anna
  • 07-25-16

Fantastic

I loved this book and the reading of it! I very highly recommend this book!