Tag: shannara

Review: The Wishsong of Shannara

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This is the third and final book of the original Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks, published for the first time in 1985. And this is a better book than all four of the others that went before it, including the prequel.

It’s possible to read this as a standalone fantasy novel, as Brooks follows his pattern of concluding the plotline by the end of the book .

This book sees the return of the Ohmsford heroes, and one of them is a girl this time around, who team up with the druid Allanon to save the Four Lands once again. This time the evil is a magic book. (No it’s not the diary of a teenage dark lord) We also find that said magic book is responsible for most of the bad things that went on in the previous books of the series. It is mentioned that the Warlock Lord, the enemy in the first book and the prequel, was corrupted by this book. And there is a connection between the evil book and the demon army in the second book of the trilogy. Imagine, the ultimate enemy in the setting is a book. No one ever suspects a book. No wonder it could get away with it’s evil plans!

The story follows two primary plotlines as the heroes once more race to save the world, with the minions of the book hot on their heels. These minions consist of gnomes and the Mord Wraiths (Any resemblance to Mordor and Ring-wraiths are entirely coincidental). The characters are better developed and the plot is far more complex than the previous books. In fact this book was quite good. Too bad it only got good at the end of the series.

I would recommend this book if you are a fan of the series and if you want to read a good standalone fantasy novel with a bit of background research done beforehand.

Review: The Elfstones of Shannara

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This is the second book in the original Shannara trilogy by Terry Brooks, published in 1982. Yes, it’s an old book.

This book can be read as a standalone novel with almost no knowledge of the rest of the series. This is one of the few things I can praise Brooks for.

The plot of this book is remarkably similar to the first one. A member of the Ohmsford family must team up with the druid Allanon because the Four Lands need a hero once again. This time a magic tree that was keeping an army of demons from invading our world is dying out, and our heroes need to save it to prevent a demonic invasion (Technically, they fail).

The cast of characters is slightly larger in this book, most of them picked up as the heroes make their inevitable journey. And the character development is also better, for the brief time we spend with them. The writing style is pretty good, and there is an interesting plot twist towards the end.

The plot however, is more then a little disappointing to anyone who had read the previous Shannara books. It’s like Brooks is building the story around a scaffold. The three main players are the Ohmsford, the druid and the elven royality. The story consists of the elven royals struggling to stop the evil army from conquering the Four Lands (Well the elven army does the actual work) while the Ohmsford and the druid race to find some magical solution or artifact that can vanquish the evil. It all builds up to a climactic battle and the evil is vanquished in a nick of time. There is a feeling of having been here before. The plot of the previous two books was almost exactly this. Even the original and creative elements in the plot become bland when it’s fitted into this worn out scaffold. The only thing that caught me off guard was the plot twist at the end.

I would say this is an ok book. Not good, not great, but not bad either.

I would recommend this book if you are a fan of the series or if you are reader of fantasy fiction looking for a fun read without engaging your higher brain functions. Then you will enjoy it.

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.