Review: The Sword of Shannara

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This was the first book of the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, and it came out in 1977. As fantasy novels go, this one is old.

Even though it was published as the first book of a trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone book. The heroes wrap up their quest and ride off into the sunset in the final chapter. And even though some characters and the setting come back in the later books this particular plot is finished.

Which is a good thing, in my humble opinion. Far too many fantasy novels have long convoluted plots that stretch across a multitude of books.

It tells the story of two brothers, the half elf orphan Shea Ohmsford and his adopted brother Flick who are roused from their rustic county lives by the mysterious (He wishes) druid Allanon and sent on a quest to recover a powerful magical artifact (Not the One Ring) and defeat the Warlock Lord (Very subtle) who is gathering his evil minions and evil armies to conquer the Four Lands.

It also features the magical minions of the Warlock Lord (Who are not Ringwraiths), a Troll army (Definitely not Orcs), a sort of prince trying to regain his kingdom (He is not Aragorn), along with the obligatory Elves and Dwarfs.

Despite looking like a bad photocopy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ this is not a bad book.

I would recommend it to a teenage audience or newcomers to the high fantasy genre. If you are used to reading fantasy novels though, this book will be predictable and flat. It has a generic plot, a generic world, and generic characters. It doesn’t have an immersive world or gripping plot.

This is the kind of book you read after switching your brain off for a couple of hours. Then it will be a fun read.

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