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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.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Despair!<br />

Every negative thought of every character repeated endlessly in almost loving detail. Battles skipped to describe mind-numbing exhaustion in just as loving detail. The characters spent so much time in despair and at the ends of exhaustion that I almost reached suicidal levels of despair! If you're in to emo, this would be your fantasy novel.

I guess I see it as more of a bad retelling of the Hero's Journey myth archetype than a ripoff of Tolkien, but I can see where others are coming from. Tolkien did the Hero's Journey right and almost point for point, but Star Wars used the same material and no one seriously accused Lucas of ripping off Tolkien. This is just done so badly, I can't imagine why I hear it called one of the greatest works of fantasy. To make matters worse, Brooks fell into one of the nastiest traps in fantasy and science fiction...he told us everything, rather than showed us, for most of the journey. When he stopped, it was only to hit another: if the lands of the Warlock Lord were so devoid of all life, what were the trolls and gnomes eating, exactly? I know, fantasy, but such things are enough to jar a habitual reader of the genre out of the story, and his dismal narrative style already had me most of the way there. I have a hundred other little points of similar nature, but I won't go any further.

I don't blame the narrator as much as some, because I just don't see that he had too much to work with. However, his efforts to liven the story up did fall very flat, and his emphasis seemed way off at times.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Predictable events, stupid characters.

The characters in the story are as standard as they can be. Story is predictable but the characters are stupid enough so they stumble at every point which makes it painful to listen to their adventures and makes me wish they die for their stupidity already but the author keeps on rescuing them. The enemy is rather undefined and I am still not sure why he wants to take over the world or kill everyone or something. It is unclear why spirit world is evil.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

story of morons and drawn out scenes

Terry Brooks must have become a far better author considering the range of this series. as the first book, the characters all constantly miss the obvious, forget nearly everything they are told, and generally make moronic decisions.

in this book, Brooks tries to draw out suspense by drawing out scenes without moving the story forward. this results in the reader painfully having to slog through chapters.

I have read some of Brooks other books years ago and thought they were fun. Unfortunately, the sword isn't that great. of I would have known, I would have just read the cliff notes online and tried book 2 of the series where his skill as an author might have grown.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Eric
  • Eaton Rapids, MI, United States
  • 10-02-14

Disappointing

After all these years I finally try a Terry Brooks novel only to find that it's a blatant Tolkien rip off - and not even a well written one at that.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Underwhelmed

Would you try another book from Terry Brooks and/or Scott Brick?

I do not think I'll try another book by Terry Brooks. I did like Scott Brick in Cloud Atlas, but not in this reading.

What could Terry Brooks have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I felt as though I were listening to a retelling of Lords of the Rings in an alternate universe. The characters and general plot are so similar, it's suspicious.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Scott Brick's reading is overly dramatic and very over-the-top in this book. Plus, he alternates between English, Scottish, and Irish accents seemingly at random for random characters. I had to increase the narration speed because it was just getting ridiculous with the over-dramatic-voice-acting.

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

I did like how the book hinted that the world of Sword of Shannara may be our own world in a post-apocalyptic future. But that was not expanded on enough.

Any additional comments?

I titled this review as underwhelmed because a friend recommended this book to me and said it was very good. I was very disappointed in the end and really just wanted to book to be over. Expectations too high?

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kelli
  • Illinois
  • 08-30-13

LOR RIP-OFF!!

Would you try another book from Terry Brooks and/or Scott Brick?

No.

What was most disappointing about Terry Brooks’s story?

I could not believe the similarities between this and LOR. It was awful!!! TOTAL rip-off!!!

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration was good, i will give him that.

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

No.

Any additional comments?

RIP-OFF!!!!!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Carson
  • Durham, NC, United States
  • 03-27-13

Lord of the Rings Ripoff

What disappointed you about The Sword of Shannara?

I was disappointed by how much of a blatant ripoff it was of Lord of the Rings. There was a wizard and two boys like Sam and Frodo. The Warlock Lord (bad guy) was just like Sauron. There were wringraiths (skullbearers). Almost everything from LOTR was copied in this book.

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

No.

How could the performance have been better?

He would need original ideas.

What character would you cut from The Sword of Shannara?

I wouldn't so much cut A character as most of the plot.

Any additional comments?

Sorry I am late on the Terry Brooks bandwagon, but this was really long and boring as well. He spent so much time talking about the landscape and weather at times with no action. It was on and on boring and dreary. AND it was exactly like Lord of the Rings!!!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Don't get it

What disappointed you about The Sword of Shannara?

This book feel like it was write by a child. I feel like this book try to simplify the nature of people to a childlike way . He wrote that everybody is black-and-white pure evil or nobly good. If your over 14 don't get it.

Would you ever listen to anything by Terry Brooks again?

I'll give another try.

Which scene was your favorite?

This Book was bad

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Sword of Shannara?

N.a

Any additional comments?

N.a

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Terrible writing

Besides so much being blatantly taken from the Lord of the Rings, the writing is awful. The dialog just doesn't work. People don't respond to each the way this author makes them. I'm only on chapter 1 and I don't think I'll be able to get through this book. It's probably the worst book I've ever had the displeasure of reading/listening to.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Predictable Story; Odd Narration

This book was recommended to me by a friend. I haven't listened to the entire story yet, and I'm not sure if I'll keep listening. The story is a bit predictable which sometimes doesn't bother me with stories, as long as the story keeps moving along in a way that keeps me interested. So far, I've not been too captivated. What really bothers me about this audiobook is the narration. The narrator puts too much stress on words that are not meant to be stressed and the tone, inflections, and prosody are just odd.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Sanderson
  • 11-26-16

Compelling

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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?

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anna
  • 07-25-16

Fantastic

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