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Outcast by the Druids for his devotion to the forbidden art of Magic, Bremen discovers that dark forces are on the move, led by the Warlock Lord, Brona. If the peoples of the Four Lands are to escape eternal subjugation, they must unite. But they need a weapon, something so powerful that the evil Magic of Brona will fail before its might.


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Outcast by the Druids for his devotion to the forbidden art of Magic, Bremen discovers that dark forces are on the move, led by the Warlock Lord, Brona. If the peoples of the Four Lands are to escape eternal subjugation, they must unite. But they need a weapon, something so powerful that the evil Magic of Brona will fail before its might.

30 review for First King of Shannara

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”The Druids stepped back as the first of those things slouched into the light. It was a Skull Bearer, hunched and massive within its black cloak, claws extended before it. All sharp edges and flat planes, all hardness and bulk, it filled the corridor and seemed to suck away the very air. Red eyes burned into the three who cowered before it, and it shoved its way past them disdainfully. Leathery wings beat softly. With a hiss of satisfaction, it seized the young Elven guard, ripped out his throat ”The Druids stepped back as the first of those things slouched into the light. It was a Skull Bearer, hunched and massive within its black cloak, claws extended before it. All sharp edges and flat planes, all hardness and bulk, it filled the corridor and seemed to suck away the very air. Red eyes burned into the three who cowered before it, and it shoved its way past them disdainfully. Leathery wings beat softly. With a hiss of satisfaction, it seized the young Elven guard, ripped out his throat, and cast him aside. The Druids flinched as the rending sprayed them with the victim’s blood.” The Druids have been crippled by the horror of the misuse of magic in the first war of the races, which destroyed the old world and sent the race of man into banishment. The Druids have made themselves toothless, shut up with their books and minor spells in the castle keep of Paranor. When Bremen appears, demanding to see the council to warn them of the coming dangers, the last thing they want to do is believe a druid who has been cast out. They’d have done well to listen. The Warlock Lord, Brona, a druid who has been twisted by dark magic, has risen in the north and has browbeaten the trolls into an army of chaos. He has skull bearers, other druids who have been warped into sadistic, brutal, powerful monsters. He is marching south, and the first he will come for are the druids. Bremen can only convince a small band of druids to leave the keep and come with him. Magic will have to be used again, and it may even need the help of the old sciences as well. There is little time to convince the Races to come together as one. This reminds me of the slow responses by countries who were still recovering from the devastation of World War One and couldn’t even fathom the possibility of having to fight yet another world war. ”Only by uniting could the free Races hope to prevail. But it would take time for them to decide to do this if left to their own devices. Politics would slow any decision making. Self-interest would generate an ill-advised caution. The free Races would debate and consider and be made slaves before they realized what had happened to them.” If Hitler hadn’t dithered at Dunkirk, the war might very well have been over before the US could get in the war. In this case, the Dwarves are nearly destroyed before the Elves can muster their army for war. Bremen has a vision of a sword, a very special sword, made with magic and old science and held by a great Elven leader. Like with most visions, clarity is an issue. Bremen dispatches his small band in various directions on different quests as he tries to discover the proper way forward to destroy something seemingly too powerful to stop. ”Dust began to rise from the parched plains, the wind stirring it in wild clouds, and the size of the army seemed to swell even more, to rise on the dust as if fed by it. The silence shattered, and the light changed. In the roil of the dust and thunder of the army’s coming, Death lifted its head in expectation and looked about.” I approached the Shannara canon ass backwards. I watched the TV show The Shannara Chronicles before I decided to approach the books. I rarely do this, but in this case, it might end up working out okay. I was itching, of course, to read The Sword of Shannara, the first and most lauded of the Shannara Chronicles, but after some research, I decided to read First King of Shannara, a prequel to the trilogy. This was a dicey decision because the prequel is far from the book that Sword pertains to be, but I was interested in learning about the lead up to what I already knew about Shannara. I hope that this means that I will enjoy Sword more because I have more background material already lodged in my head before reading the first page. There is a bit of frothing at the mouth about Terry Brooks and the similarities between his world of Shannara and the world of J. R. R. Tolkien. I’m far from an expert on fantasy novels. In fact, I rarely read them, but I do find that throwing one in the reading queue occasionally does pleasantly shake me out of my reading comfort zone. In this case, I did become caught up in the quest aspects of the novel and enjoyed taking an hour or so a day to lose myself in the magical wilds of Shannara. I chose to see Brooks' Shannara books as an ode to Tolkien. I perfectly understand Tolkien purists choosing to see this series as a ripoff. Given the fact that Brooks has published many books in the realm of Shannara to great acclaim, I would say that most fantasy readers have chosen to see the series the same way I do. Please Tolkien purists, do not send large, wart infested trolls after me or ninja dwarf assassins or Elven arrow sharpshooters or *shudder* a Skull Bearer. I will warn you, I do have a fierce Scottish Terrier who prefers a bit of variety in her diet...if you know what I mean. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 5 out of 5

    seak

    I read this a while ago, but all I remember is that the old adage, "show don't tell," was completely disregarded. Everyone was described as being ever so evil, good, awesome, super and yet never once did I actually believe it because no one did anything. Can't say I've been excited to read any of the other installments based on this one and 6 years later I still haven't. I'm pretty sure it was Scott Brick who did the audio, so there's no complaints there. I read this a while ago, but all I remember is that the old adage, "show don't tell," was completely disregarded. Everyone was described as being ever so evil, good, awesome, super and yet never once did I actually believe it because no one did anything. Can't say I've been excited to read any of the other installments based on this one and 6 years later I still haven't. I'm pretty sure it was Scott Brick who did the audio, so there's no complaints there.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    There has been a fair amount of criticism floating around against The Sword of Shannara for drawing too many parallels with The Lord of The Rings. Much of this I felt was unfounded. I love The Lord of The Rings and I love the Shannara series. They're not the same, folks. Any resemblances end with the first Shannara book, and the series really picks up from book 2 (The Elfstones of Shannara). Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but just a way to set up my review of First King of Shannara. Terry There has been a fair amount of criticism floating around against The Sword of Shannara for drawing too many parallels with The Lord of The Rings. Much of this I felt was unfounded. I love The Lord of The Rings and I love the Shannara series. They're not the same, folks. Any resemblances end with the first Shannara book, and the series really picks up from book 2 (The Elfstones of Shannara). Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but just a way to set up my review of First King of Shannara. Terry Brooks is a very good descriptive writer, a trait which is well suited to writing fantasy and describing worlds the reader is likely to be unfamiliar with. He also excels in character development. This has held true for all of the Shannara books I have read, which is everything up to and including the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy. In my opinion, Walker Boh is one of the most fascinating characters in fantasy literature. But I'm straying off the path again. Back to First King of Shannara. This is not a 'must read' by any means and will likely appeal more to existing Shannara readers as it fleshes out the back story and history prior to the first book in the series (The Sword of Shannara). That being said, I really enjoyed the book, although it took me some time to finish. It was fun to, at long last, meet Jerle Shannara, to whom the whole series owes its name. And Bremen, who has such close ties to Allanon. So, if you're interested in Shannara lore, read this novel. It visits familiar ground insofar the Shannara books are concerned and as such isn't groundbreaking reading. Yet, the magic prevails.

  4. 5 out of 5

    St-Michel

    Well, here it is, the biggest disgrace to the fantasy genre since...well, that's just it, I can't think of anyone worse. Maybe it's just me, but I think if I wanted to read a badly mocked up verion of Tolkien, then I would just read Tolkien. I just don't get this guy, because all he's proven to me is that anyone can rip off LOTR, create the most cliche fantasy scenarios and become an instant success. Ok, I don't want to get a head of myself. Let me start from the beginning. Now, for a long time I Well, here it is, the biggest disgrace to the fantasy genre since...well, that's just it, I can't think of anyone worse. Maybe it's just me, but I think if I wanted to read a badly mocked up verion of Tolkien, then I would just read Tolkien. I just don't get this guy, because all he's proven to me is that anyone can rip off LOTR, create the most cliche fantasy scenarios and become an instant success. Ok, I don't want to get a head of myself. Let me start from the beginning. Now, for a long time I've known about the Sword of Shannara series, but never bothered to read any of it. I just couldn't imagine anything could ever hold up to LOTR. Eventually though, I wanted to start reading some of the other fantasy series that were out there. I started reading reviews about the Shannara series - and they were bad. It got to the point, after reading so many bad reviews that I just wanted to read something of his to find out just how bad it really is (plus, I questioned it slightly. After all, he's a bestseller. How can a bestseller be so bad?) So I decided to start with the prequel, First King of Shannara instead of the obvious first book, Sword of Shannara. Instantly, I felt like I was reading a joke. This book is filled with so many cliche scenarios, characters and plot devices it felt like I was reading a script for a game of Dungeons & Dragons, only trying desperately to be parallel to the world of Middle Earth, clinging to every nuance it possibly could. Ok, wait, we do have a difference: instead of Hobbits, we have Gnomes. But really, is that enough? The characters are thin and predictable and their development is poor at best. They all seem to be cookie-cutter characters pulled right from the Player's Handbook and badly modeled on the heroes of LOTR. And if all this wasn't enough, probably the thing that drove me crazy the most was the Four Lands itself. Being a huge fan of cartography and geography, I always pay particularly close attention to the maps of fantasy worlds. My god!! The Four Lands is the most unimaginative landscape I've ever seen that appears to make no geographical sense in the least. Could you at least have come up with some more imaginative names - at the very least? Truthfully, I could spend hours just ranting about the Four Lands themselves, so I'll stop here. Ah! and so, I could go on and on and on tearing this thing apart. Amazingly, it's not the worst thing I've ever read, but damn near close to it. Before I anger myself into a maniacal and convulsive state over this atrocity, I suppose I can at least list what redeeming values I think it has: um, it's got pretty good cover artwork.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Igor Ljubuncic

    I just realized two things: 1) I have not written a book review in a while 2) I have not written a review of this fine book. And then I realized another thing: 3) I gave this book only three stars, but that's not correct, because I loved this book, and it deserves five stars. Amended. Yes, it is a horribly cliche 80s-style Tolkienesque classsic D'n'D style good-vs-evil Warcraft, Trolls, Elves, Druids and other noble creatures, epic fight, magical artifacts, coming of age, tell-vs-show saga-like b I just realized two things: 1) I have not written a book review in a while 2) I have not written a review of this fine book. And then I realized another thing: 3) I gave this book only three stars, but that's not correct, because I loved this book, and it deserves five stars. Amended. Yes, it is a horribly cliche 80s-style Tolkienesque classsic D'n'D style good-vs-evil Warcraft, Trolls, Elves, Druids and other noble creatures, epic fight, magical artifacts, coming of age, tell-vs-show saga-like book. But I read it a dozen times, and every time, it felt cozy and good and happy. It's the kind of book that has its magical moment in time and place, and it's more about you reading it than the fact you are reading it and what words it has to share. From a purely technical perspective, 20 years later, this book is definitely not a great work of prose. But it is a great work of adventure and magic, and if you have happened to be there at the right age and in the right frame of mind, it is awesome. There are great dangers in revisiting childhood specials, be they movies or books. I believe I will probably never again read it, but if I do, I will try to remember the companionship it gave me. And that's all that matters. Le song: When Bremen into Paranor snuck, Eilt Druin and some elfstones he took, The Shannara Sword, The Warlock Lord, The plot continues in the following book. Fun fact: Bremen is ALSO a German city! Igor

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Yet another great book in the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. I would recommend reading this book after the first three books, only because it seems to fit better in this way. It is called a prequel for a reason, and I thing looking at the continuum of the story in an order the mind isn't used to will make it better when working on understanding the themes that the Terry Brooks is trying to present. In particular, I found the story of Tay Trefenwyd to be particularly moving. It also brought to Yet another great book in the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. I would recommend reading this book after the first three books, only because it seems to fit better in this way. It is called a prequel for a reason, and I thing looking at the continuum of the story in an order the mind isn't used to will make it better when working on understanding the themes that the Terry Brooks is trying to present. In particular, I found the story of Tay Trefenwyd to be particularly moving. It also brought to light the concept of absolute power, and the ability to sacrifice oneself in order to not destroy that which one holds most dear, right intention, thought, and action. Great book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robbie Hall

    Terry Brooks is really good at writing action scenes. Too bad only 1/10th of the book are action scenes. 'Twas a lot more boring than I remember, a couple cool parts, but overall very slow. Less description! More epic battles! (Towards the end) Less epic battles! FINISH THE STORY I ALREADY KNOW THAT THE GOOD GUYS WIN, I DON'T WANT TO SIT THROUGH YET ANOTHER BATTLE. What you should have done is spread out the battle scenes so we don't have 3 chapters about boring one-dimensional characters compla Terry Brooks is really good at writing action scenes. Too bad only 1/10th of the book are action scenes. 'Twas a lot more boring than I remember, a couple cool parts, but overall very slow. Less description! More epic battles! (Towards the end) Less epic battles! FINISH THE STORY I ALREADY KNOW THAT THE GOOD GUYS WIN, I DON'T WANT TO SIT THROUGH YET ANOTHER BATTLE. What you should have done is spread out the battle scenes so we don't have 3 chapters about boring one-dimensional characters complaining about how boring they are and they wish they could stop being so boring but its really hard cause they're so boring. Actually I sort of feel like analyzing his characters right now. Here are the main characters of the story, and what would be in their "quick info" section on an online dating site: Bremen: "Hey I'm an old, serious man with large amounts of training in the druidic art of verbal diarrhea." Kinson Ravenlock: "My friends call me a generic fantasy-story human swordsman. I like to think that I have skill with a dagger as well." Jerle Shannara: "If you like hot-tempered warriors with a passion for punching and the tendency to needlessly risk their lives, then you'll love me. I'm also very emotional, and I like to show this by spending the entire second half of books sulking in a corner and lamenting my best friend's death. Tay Trefenwyd: "SPOILER ALERT I'm the guy that dies." Preia Starle: "If I had to describe my personality with just three words, I'd use: 1. Woman 2. Elf 3. Female What do you mean that's not personality? I don't even know what that word means." Mareth: "I'm a small, vulnerable girl with a hidden past and a talent for magi-GARRGGHH I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE THEY'RE SO GENERIC &$%*#$!! Warlock Lord: "Hi I'm Sauron."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Saul

    I must say that since writing the Sword of Shannara back in 1977, at least that is when it was published, Terry Brooks has become a much better writer. I was really hesitant to even pick up another Terry Brooks book. I read the Sword back when I was in middle school and I loved the book. I really liked the story. Of course that was before I had read Tolkien and I remember my friends way back then saying that Sword was a total rip off of The Lord of the Rings. I just never read LOTR. I thought t I must say that since writing the Sword of Shannara back in 1977, at least that is when it was published, Terry Brooks has become a much better writer. I was really hesitant to even pick up another Terry Brooks book. I read the Sword back when I was in middle school and I loved the book. I really liked the story. Of course that was before I had read Tolkien and I remember my friends way back then saying that Sword was a total rip off of The Lord of the Rings. I just never read LOTR. I thought they were too long even though the Sword paper back was really thick book. It had a great fold out picture painted by the Brothers Hilderbrant. They were at the time some great fantasy artist. But Sword was really easy to read and it was fun. I read 3-4 more Shannara books and well by the 4th book it was the same story over and over again. I saw First King at the book store and was impressed with the cover. I am a sucker for nice covers. I read the back and it sounded really interesting. Bought it and was pleasantly surprised. Still a story of a "Heroes Journey" but it was really well written. Later I even read "Antrax" another "Shannara" book but wasn't as impressed with that one as I was with First King. It is a Prequel to Sword of Shannara and it was really cool to see what had happened years before that set up what happens in Sword of Shannara book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    Reading reviews about this book and MAN people get butthurt over the dumbest crap. Like, you're mad the names of the kingdoms arent imaginative enough? Really? You're mad that an epic fantasy series has the common epic fantasy tropes? Honestly. Maybe y'all are mad because he took inspiration from LoTR, but if you're a diehard LoTR fan you shouldn't be expecting anything to match it anyway Reading reviews about this book and MAN people get butthurt over the dumbest crap. Like, you're mad the names of the kingdoms arent imaginative enough? Really? You're mad that an epic fantasy series has the common epic fantasy tropes? Honestly. Maybe y'all are mad because he took inspiration from LoTR, but if you're a diehard LoTR fan you shouldn't be expecting anything to match it anyway

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    I liked it. Looking forward to the second book in the series.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond." C.S. Lewis First King of Shannara is book 6 chronologically in the Shannara series. 5 stars! Shannara has been a part of my life for over 30 years now, and it is ending with the final novel in the series, The Last Druid , publishing in October 2020. I realized and it really hit me while reading First King of Shannara that I'm saying a long goodby "No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond." C.S. Lewis First King of Shannara is book 6 chronologically in the Shannara series. 5 stars! Shannara has been a part of my life for over 30 years now, and it is ending with the final novel in the series, The Last Druid , publishing in October 2020. I realized and it really hit me while reading First King of Shannara that I'm saying a long goodbye to my favorite book series this year. Shannara kind of parallels Star Wars for me. Both Star Wars (New Hope released in 1977) and The Sword of Shannara (published in 1977) have been a part of practically my entire life. It's sad for me to see this series ending, but I have gotten so much reading joy out of this series over the years that I will never forget. First King of Shannara is a wondrous prequel to The Sword of Shannara. We get Bremen (father figure to Allanon), the search for the Black Elfstone in the Chew Magna, the Warlock Lord Brona, Elf King Jerle Shannara, and the forging of the Sword of Shannara. Terry Brooks was just on his game when he wrote this story. It's really a remarkable achievement. First King of Shannara is a special book in the Shannara series for me because it was the first one I purchased a hard back copy of. I remember when I bought it - I was in my University's book store and they had it marked down (something like 33% off). I paid around $16-$17 bucks for it - worth every penny! I was fortunate to get to meet Terry Brooks at a book festival in the town I grew up in and I got him sign and personalize my copy of First King of Shannara: It says "To Matt with Magic". Needless to say from my gushing review that reading this series truly has been a magical experience for me. Matt

  12. 4 out of 5

    Squire

    #9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest. #9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest. Lackluster prequel to the original Shannara series has the same feel as Lucas' Star Wars prequels: a story line that has already been noted, but with a few details filled in giving it a perfunctory feel. The writing doesn't hold up as well as his marvelous eight pre-Shannara books. To be fair, though, it was probably a mistake to read this before I started the Shannara trilogy (since it was published before the pre-Shannara books). T #9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest. #9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest. Lackluster prequel to the original Shannara series has the same feel as Lucas' Star Wars prequels: a story line that has already been noted, but with a few details filled in giving it a perfunctory feel. The writing doesn't hold up as well as his marvelous eight pre-Shannara books. To be fair, though, it was probably a mistake to read this before I started the Shannara trilogy (since it was published before the pre-Shannara books). The book ended on a high note, part four being better than the first three, but chapters 15-17 concluding Part Two "The Search for the Black Elfstone" were Brooks at his best, though the story of the black elfstone was better told in the superior The Druid of Shannara.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I've read more Terry Brooks than Faulkner in my life. And I bought the bulk of Shannara books the same day I bought The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Oh, the irony! Anyway, I thought this cookie-cutter fantasy epic was a great book when I was eleven. No way in hell I'm re-reading this, but it's safe to say that I don't think so anymore. I've read more Terry Brooks than Faulkner in my life. And I bought the bulk of Shannara books the same day I bought The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Oh, the irony! Anyway, I thought this cookie-cutter fantasy epic was a great book when I was eleven. No way in hell I'm re-reading this, but it's safe to say that I don't think so anymore.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tomer

    {1.5 rounded down} Given the fact that I am following the chronological order of the series, sudden world changing surprises are not really welcomed. Suddenly there are multiple new races dominating the world and again additional history not covered by the multiple prequel books. In addition to it, there are major flash backs to Lord of the rings in more lines than is advised. Basically I have found myself lost in a bad way, barely caring about reaching the finish line. And to think this book is b {1.5 rounded down} Given the fact that I am following the chronological order of the series, sudden world changing surprises are not really welcomed. Suddenly there are multiple new races dominating the world and again additional history not covered by the multiple prequel books. In addition to it, there are major flash backs to Lord of the rings in more lines than is advised. Basically I have found myself lost in a bad way, barely caring about reaching the finish line. And to think this book is but a stone throw away from the original series...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Forrest

    I am a Shannara fan. I devoured these books when I was a teenager. I would secretly read them with low lights inside my blanket so my mom wouldn't find out that I'm still awake. I wasn't supposed to stay awake after 12am. So... Anyways, it's a good series. I am a Shannara fan. I devoured these books when I was a teenager. I would secretly read them with low lights inside my blanket so my mom wouldn't find out that I'm still awake. I wasn't supposed to stay awake after 12am. So... Anyways, it's a good series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    There would be stories of what happened that night for years afterward, tales passed from mouth to mouth that would take on the trappings of legend. They would come from various sources, but all would have their genesis in the glimpses caught by passersby who paused for a momentary look at what was taking place within Urprox Screl's great forge. The doors stood open to the night so that fresh air could be drawn in and stale heat vented out and those who forced themselves close enough were witnes There would be stories of what happened that night for years afterward, tales passed from mouth to mouth that would take on the trappings of legend. They would come from various sources, but all would have their genesis in the glimpses caught by passersby who paused for a momentary look at what was taking place within Urprox Screl's great forge. The doors stood open to the night so that fresh air could be drawn in and stale heat vented out and those who forced themselves close enough were witnesses to visions they later declared to have been born out of madness. A sword was forged by Urprox Screl that night, but the manner of its shaping would be forever in dispute. First King of Shannara takes the reader back to the place and time where everything once began. This is the tale of Bremen and the Druids of old, of the Warlock Lord and his hideous servants, of the rise to power of the house of Shannara, and of course, of the forging of the legendary sword itself in the forges of Dechtera. How does one write such an amazing story when it's just a prequel with the considerable disadvantage that everyone knows beforehand what will ultimately happen? Terry Brooks seems to have found the perfect answer to that question. The tale of First King develops in a great way where what we already know (the tales recounted by Allanon to Shea Ohmsford) is skillfully mixed with surprises and unexpected turns of events. New and deeply fascinating characters and locations are intertwined with the ones we already know of, and the whole thing has a sense of nostalgia to it that adds another layer to its already shimmering excellence. Apart from the original trilogy, this book is by far the best in the Shannara series and it truly lives up to the greatness of the three old legends Sword, Elfstones and Wishsong.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Idamus

    Rather dull, both story and narration fell a bit flat.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephanne Stacey

    I have to say that Terry Brooks is a great writer for action scenes. I really liked this book, and can't say that I really understand why so many people seem to think that he is coping Tolkins' Lord of the Ring series. I can however say that I am reading too many fantasies and the worlds are becoming one in my mind... but that's really just a personal note. There really isn't anything grotesque in this book, so I think a pre-teen could easily read it without the parents being worried. ... of cou I have to say that Terry Brooks is a great writer for action scenes. I really liked this book, and can't say that I really understand why so many people seem to think that he is coping Tolkins' Lord of the Ring series. I can however say that I am reading too many fantasies and the worlds are becoming one in my mind... but that's really just a personal note. There really isn't anything grotesque in this book, so I think a pre-teen could easily read it without the parents being worried. ... of course that would only be my opinion. Read it yourself if you doubt me.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Allison ☾

    All the elements of fantasy that I love but none of the excitement. Quite frankly, this book read like a history text book. I regret starting the series with this one, but I fully intend on reading more of Shannara. Book one, The Sword of Shannara, is sitting on my shelf already waiting to be read. So even though I personally did not enjoy this one, I am still excited to read more. All the elements of fantasy that I love but none of the excitement. Quite frankly, this book read like a history text book. I regret starting the series with this one, but I fully intend on reading more of Shannara. Book one, The Sword of Shannara, is sitting on my shelf already waiting to be read. So even though I personally did not enjoy this one, I am still excited to read more.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Interesting in the fact that we learn the story of Allannon's early life, his master Bremen and the struggle against Brona which was alluded to in Sword of Shannara. Good, not great but valued for it's information of the Early days of Magic use and it's pitfalls. Interesting in the fact that we learn the story of Allannon's early life, his master Bremen and the struggle against Brona which was alluded to in Sword of Shannara. Good, not great but valued for it's information of the Early days of Magic use and it's pitfalls.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rhiannon

    this book is poorly written. the description of the warriers is sexist and human-centric. there was detailed description of scenes that were not relevant to the plot. a slog of a read and very disappointing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barry Mulvany

    So this is the prequel to the original Shannara trilogy. The main events are already known if you've read those, but I still found it interesting. In chronological order this is the next book after Legends duology and is set around five hundred years before Sword. I remember hoping while reading Legends that we would see the Shannara world as we know it come into being, and though there were elements, it was really still just a post apocalyptic world and nothing like this. This is the world of Sh So this is the prequel to the original Shannara trilogy. The main events are already known if you've read those, but I still found it interesting. In chronological order this is the next book after Legends duology and is set around five hundred years before Sword. I remember hoping while reading Legends that we would see the Shannara world as we know it come into being, and though there were elements, it was really still just a post apocalyptic world and nothing like this. This is the world of Shannara as we know it from the original books. This is very much a quest driven book. We start off with Bremen trying to warn the druids that Brona is planning an attack on the keep but of course he is ignored. What follows is a few different threads that climax with the second war of the races. By far my favourite thread was that of Tay. With his famous friend Jerle Shannara and companions, he's off to retrieve the Black Elfstone. I'd forgotten a lot of this book since the last time I read it however many years ago but I remembered him. It's fairly straight forward in Brook's style but it's still exciting and sad. I thought it was a good example of how people change over the years and how things could have been different if we were a little more honest with ourselves and others around us. The other threads are to do with the forging of the sword and the actual war which are all fairly epic. I liked that the writing for the actual forging part switched to a kind of historical narrator for it, it added to the legendary feel of the moment. Prose wise there is the usual descriptions, and the battles felt pretty gritty, better than what I remembered. There is nothing unusual here, and to certain fantasy fans it might feel a bit simplistic and old fashioned. However Brooks always manages to tell a decent story and I'm looking forward to continuing my very stretched out read of the Shannara series. Please see this and other reviews at https://barrysbloodybooks.home.blog/

  23. 5 out of 5

    Garth Mailman

    I read the first six books in the Shannara series decades ago. This is a sort of prequel to the original series that dates back nearly 4 decades. The initial chapters of this book are rather introductory and filled with philosophy and description thus a bit tedious. We are nearing page 100 before the name Shannara enters the storyline. It was the easy camaraderie of the friends in the original series that made the tale. The Four Lands is a world of Druids, Elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes, and Men; who wie I read the first six books in the Shannara series decades ago. This is a sort of prequel to the original series that dates back nearly 4 decades. The initial chapters of this book are rather introductory and filled with philosophy and description thus a bit tedious. We are nearing page 100 before the name Shannara enters the storyline. It was the easy camaraderie of the friends in the original series that made the tale. The Four Lands is a world of Druids, Elves, Dwarfs, Gnomes, and Men; who wield magic to fight dark evil foes. Five loyal companions seek to unite the forces of good to forge a sword of power, (The Sword of Shannara?), find the man capable of wielding it, and the elfstones with the power to defend them. Where the young lad seen in a vision fits in we are yet to know. The use of magic is not a bottomless well, there’s a price to be paid and even the most powerful practitioner will find him/herself weary and weak, even defenseless when the store is exhausted. As I remember the reason I tired of further reading in the extended Shannara Series, Brooks works contain extended descriptive passages that do nothing to move the story along. The initial series runs to 1200 pages. Where a Hemingway would tell you that someone is withdrawn, intense, and taciturn; Brooks will take 10 to 15 pages to describe him. The story ends with a colossal battle between good and evil worthy of a Rocky film. Thus in 400 plus pages we learn of the birth of the Sword of Shannara.

  24. 4 out of 5

    James Joyce

    Well, that was a blast from the past. I read "The Sword of Shannara" around 1980-or-so, followed by "The Elfstones of Shannara" and "The Wishsong of Shannara" as they were published in '82 and '85. And that seemed to be that. A fun trilogy of magic and adventure. The first book a pastiche/homage to Tolkien's books, and the remainder original stories. I read his follow-up, the unrelated "Magic Kingdom: For Sale", but was not enchanted by this new world and it would be 5 more years before Brooks pr Well, that was a blast from the past. I read "The Sword of Shannara" around 1980-or-so, followed by "The Elfstones of Shannara" and "The Wishsong of Shannara" as they were published in '82 and '85. And that seemed to be that. A fun trilogy of magic and adventure. The first book a pastiche/homage to Tolkien's books, and the remainder original stories. I read his follow-up, the unrelated "Magic Kingdom: For Sale", but was not enchanted by this new world and it would be 5 more years before Brooks produced another Shannara novel, though I was mostly unaware of it, at the time. Next thing I know, there seemed to be an entire library of Shannara books! And, to be honest, it was simply too daunting and I turned to various other books of magic, science, mystery and so on. Now I decided to step back into the pool and chose this one because it is a direct prequel to Sword. It sets up why and how the events of Sword "had to" happen. It fills in the crevices and shines some light in the darker corners of the world, as it appeared in that trilogy. Once again, it was fun and easy and had it's share of thrills and buckling swashes. Not one of my favourite books, not even one of my favourite fantasy novels, but enough fun and headlong excitement that I do not begrudge the experience. In fact, enough that I am now going to read more. And more, probably... and more... god there are a lot of them!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hunter

    I’ve now read all the Shannara prequels, prequels to the prequels, even prequels to the prequels of prequels. First King of Shannara’s far and away the best novel in the series thus far. Meeting Jerle Shannara was fun! And the entire section on the forging of the Sword of Shannara? Intense, and very well done! I disagree with critics who bash Brooks for being a Tolkien copycat. Sure, LoTR informs Brooks’ Shannara universe. That said, Shannara stands on its own as an important member of the epic f I’ve now read all the Shannara prequels, prequels to the prequels, even prequels to the prequels of prequels. First King of Shannara’s far and away the best novel in the series thus far. Meeting Jerle Shannara was fun! And the entire section on the forging of the Sword of Shannara? Intense, and very well done! I disagree with critics who bash Brooks for being a Tolkien copycat. Sure, LoTR informs Brooks’ Shannara universe. That said, Shannara stands on its own as an important member of the epic fantasy club. LoTR’s the stuff of legend; Shannara’s legendary in its own way, just not of the foundational variety. Through the first nine books of the series, I’ve really come to appreciate the beauty of Brooks’ prose. His thorough descriptions of inner and outer landscapes makes for a lush reading experience. If you want flatter characterizations and nonstop action, then Brooks isn’t your guy. But if you’re willing to spend lots of time getting to know the people, places and things that make up a world, I think you’ll find Shannara to your liking.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Valéria Budošova

    I was hesitant a lot, reconsidering starting this book.I as anybody who loves high fantasy knew of Terry Brooks but I was not attracted to his world...I saw the first season and marked it as to read, but there was such a hate toward the books, that it let me down for some time.But that was a gravely mistake. I brought the book for vacation and during my stay in car there and back again I read it all and I loved it all. I understood why they behaved as they did, loved the way the relationships ev I was hesitant a lot, reconsidering starting this book.I as anybody who loves high fantasy knew of Terry Brooks but I was not attracted to his world...I saw the first season and marked it as to read, but there was such a hate toward the books, that it let me down for some time.But that was a gravely mistake. I brought the book for vacation and during my stay in car there and back again I read it all and I loved it all. I understood why they behaved as they did, loved the way the relationships evolved. He has a very well thought off world, I could sense the rules and boundaries of the magic and technology in this world and I liked the collaboration.As an introduction I could not wish for more...I cannot wait to continue reading books in the series..for sure I recommend

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gilda Felt

    I wondered if I would be disappointed in this book, as I have other books I read years ago and then recently returned to. Though I hadn’t read this particular book before, I have read the first six or so of the series. I shouldn’t have worried. From the first, I was pulled into the story of many characters introduced: the Druids Bremen, Risca,Tay Trefenwyd, and Mereth. Kinson the Borderman, the Elfin warrior, Jerle Shannara, and so many more. It’s lucky a map is included, because there are just a I wondered if I would be disappointed in this book, as I have other books I read years ago and then recently returned to. Though I hadn’t read this particular book before, I have read the first six or so of the series. I shouldn’t have worried. From the first, I was pulled into the story of many characters introduced: the Druids Bremen, Risca,Tay Trefenwyd, and Mereth. Kinson the Borderman, the Elfin warrior, Jerle Shannara, and so many more. It’s lucky a map is included, because there are just as many places described in the story. And having read some others in the series, I enjoyed getting the back stories on some of the events and people who will appear later on. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to continuing the saga.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    I was quite pleased with this prequel to an amazing series. It was an interesting read because even though it takes place several hundred years before the first book and the Sword of Shannara series, it was written almost 30 years after. So you can really see the difference in growth in writing that the author had. It flows much better, and the style has been finalized. We get to see the ancestors of some of the characters we have grown to love. We get to see the sword forged, the antagonist wok I was quite pleased with this prequel to an amazing series. It was an interesting read because even though it takes place several hundred years before the first book and the Sword of Shannara series, it was written almost 30 years after. So you can really see the difference in growth in writing that the author had. It flows much better, and the style has been finalized. We get to see the ancestors of some of the characters we have grown to love. We get to see the sword forged, the antagonist woken, and a deeper exploration into the magic of the world as well as its history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    ambyr

    As is usual for my middle school diary, there is no information about what I thought about this book, but I did note that I got in a scuffle with a classmate over who would be the first to check it out from the school library. (Naturally, I won.) Given that it was rare for me to take more than 48 hours to finish a book, I wonder if my five-day reading time was vengeance/spite.

  30. 4 out of 5

    R.A.

    I didn't enjoy this one as much the second time as I did the first time. I already knew how everything was going to go down and I was not looking forward to it all. But I loved the druid Bremen even more this time. I understood him a bit more and could appreciate his complexity. Mareth was another character I appreciated a lot more this time around. I didn't enjoy this one as much the second time as I did the first time. I already knew how everything was going to go down and I was not looking forward to it all. But I loved the druid Bremen even more this time. I understood him a bit more and could appreciate his complexity. Mareth was another character I appreciated a lot more this time around.

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