Tag: terry brooks

Review: Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold!

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This is the first book of a new series by Terry Brooks, and was published in 1986.

It the story of a U.S lawyer named Ben Holiday, who is going through a troubled time in his personal life, and decides to deal with this troubled emotional state by answering an ad in the newspaper that offers to sell a magic kingdom. By rights he should have been scammed out of all his money, but it turned out that he really had purchased the rulership of a magical kingdom called Landover.

Now he just has to figure out how to be a king. Oh and a whole bunch of people, including a very scary demon king, want him dead. Did I mention that the kingdom is practically falling apart?

This is what you would call a ‘portal fantasy’, a person from our world goes into a fantasy world. But the way it’s done was clever and quite funny. No one ever got to Narnia by answering an ad in the paper.

This book and this series is much better than Brooks previous Shannara series, in my humble opnion. The writing is great, the scope is much smaller, the characters are less serious and humorous, and the plot is much more entertaining. This isn’t the tale of an epic quest to save the land from an invading troll army led by a cliché villain, this is one mans struggle to make a choice between going back to his old broken life and dedicating himself fully to this new fantastic land he found and moving on.

This book is also much smaller than Brooks usual books, but that only improved the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy stories or just an enjoyable story. This book is a lighthearted and fun read.

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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 First King of Shannara

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This is a prequel novel to the Shannara series by Terry Brooks, and it came out in 1996.

This is almost 20 since the first book of the series, ‘The Sword of Shannara’, was published. And if you only judge by these two books, Terry Brooks writing skill hasn’t improved at all.

The story is a carbon copy of the original Shannara book, which in turn was a carbon copy of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. The plot is predictable and dry, the characters one dimensional and flat.

This book is about the struggle by the druid Breman (The mentor of the druid Allanon), to defeat the evil Warlock Lord who is trying to conquer the Four Lands, again. He is helped in this by the elf named Jerle Shannara, who gave the series it’s name. This book also has the high fantasy mix of Elves, Dwarfs, a Troll army (Deninitely not Orcs) and epic battles.

If you read this book after reading the other Shannara books you might find it a bit, anti-climactic.

The battle between Breman and the Warlock Lord, the character of Jerle Shannara, and the forging of the ‘Sword of Shannara’ all look like they were written in a hurry, with minimal detail and depth. It’s worse because they are presented as legendary events in the later books.

I don’t recommend this book unless you are a die hard Shannara fan, or want to enjoy a quiet afternoon of reading without engaging your brain.

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.