October 08, 2011

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

This really isn't one of my favorite fantasies. The first in the series about a magical land and its people and their adventures, this book is mediocre to me. However, while there are certainly better fantasies out there, this one does suit for a cold snowy day inside.

Shea and his brother Flick learn that he has a very important past. When the half elf/half human and his adopted brother meet Allanon (a powerful traveler) they learn that Shea is the last descendant of the line of Shannara. And as such, he is the only one that can wield a powerful sword. Because they are in danger from an evil sorcerer to the North, they have to run and hide to seek help as Allanon has other duties. They join Menion Leah (a friend and prince) and travel to the dwarves' city where they meet back up with Allanon and form a party of humans, elves and a dwarf to seek out the sword and obtain it before the sorcerer Brom can. They encounter much danger along the way and the ever present growing army of the North will be difficult to defeat. Not only this, but along the way, Shea must learn to accept his destiny.

I wasn't a big fan of the characters in this book. They just weren't easy to connect too and a lot more personality could have been injected into them. The only one that really was described well was Menion Leah. He was quite the guy and very believable in that he wasn't perfect. On the other hand, Allanon was completely unbelievable. Unconvincing reasons were given for why he wouldn't share information and he also was a complete jerk with no apparent reason despite all the descriptions that he was supposed to be good and powerful.

The writing was easy to read but leaned on the overly descriptive side. I found myself getting bored with some of the pacing and endless descriptions of areas and battles. The battles, while they should have been the most exciting parts, instead were tedious to get through. Brooks did have an interesting point of view on where the different races came from though and I would have liked to see that expanded more.

I hear the series gets better and more original from here on out so I'll continue. This is probably a good book for die-hard fantasy fans while those not as familiar with the genre might not care for it.

The Sword of Shannara
Copyright 1977
726 pages
*There are a couple pictures in this book, but they were copied so poorly you can barely tell what they are.