Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “First King of Shannara (Shannara Prequel)” as Want to Read:
First King of Shannara (Shannara Prequel)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

First King of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy 0)

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  23,670 Ratings  ·  365 Reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. Banished from Paranor because of his study of forbidden arcane arts, the Druid Bremen discovers that Brona, the evil Warlock Lord, and his dark forces are once again on the move, destroying everything in their path, and only a powerful weapon wielded by a united Four Lands can stop them.
Hardcover, 435 pages
Published January 29th 1997 by Turtleback Books (first published 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about First King of Shannara, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jonathan Jesse I agree w/ "No"

I've read the original trilogy several times before I cam across this book. In fact just started reading it and I feel there is no need…more
I agree w/ "No"

I've read the original trilogy several times before I cam across this book. In fact just started reading it and I feel there is no need to read it before any of the other books.
The link is chronological order but doesn't have to be the best order(less)
Barbara Sherrick Yes it comes prior but start with the Sword of Shanarra. Come back to it after you've read through the first 7 books.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 17, 2015 seak rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, audio
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.
Jan 17, 2008 St-Michel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, own
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
Dirk Grobbelaar
Sep 01, 2010 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
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.

Oct 17, 2007 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
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
Apr 21, 2011 Saul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Wow, very impressed with this book! I read that it was maybe better to read it after the original trilogy but I forged ahead anyway.

If you are an RPG game nerd like myself then you may think that it was like 'reading' an RPG, quests, battles etc. The battles, wow, this author writes battle scenes extremely well!

The coming events hinted at, obviously moving onto the original trilogy and beyond, were exciting and equally mysterious....
#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).

Stephanne Stacey
Mar 19, 2015 Stephanne Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
Robbie Hall
Aug 17, 2012 Robbie Hall rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-2012
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 ...more
Sep 22, 2015 Connor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, but I made a mistake. I saw that chronologically, this is the first book in the Shannara series, and I went ahead and read this first. While it was still an enjoyable read, it definitely had the feel of a book that was a reward for those who have read previously released books. Chapters ended with character name reveals and "shocking moments" that I felt only had impact with previous knowledge that I didn't have. That kind of made the book a bit anticlimacti ...more
Tanja Glavnik
I'm being generous in giving it three stars in a way, because I wasn't entirely hooked into the story until the very last part, titled 'The Battle for the Rhenn'. Maybe it's because I've always associated better with battle descriptions than anything else (and yes, I'm female, first thing's first), but the first three quarters of the book seemed mostly a lot of words and not much else. Now, I like a good description as much as any other fantasy reader (I mean, I've read Tolkien and GRRM, not to ...more
Timothy Stone
Jan 31, 2014 Timothy Stone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After a while, author Terry Brooks decided to do what many fans had wanted him to do, and tell some of the back-story of the Shannara universe. A quick note here, that Shannara does not refer to the world these adventures take place in, but to one of several in-universe families, in this case a legendary Elven family, that the adventures revolve around most often. The world these Shannara stories take place in is actually our own, thousands of years in the future after a nuclear apocalypse has d ...more
May 26, 2009 Alex rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childhood-reads, sf
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.
Aug 06, 2016 Kendall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so this is the first one of the Shannara books I've read, which may not be the proper order but where I live we have a serious lack of bookstores and not one place had a copy of The Sword of Shannara on it's shelves. That being said, I started hunting out these books after watching the show on Netflix, I loved the show and figured the books would be even better and I certainly loved this one. I feel like I may have gotten more out of it if I had read this after the original trilogy, but I al ...more
MEG Munro
Jan 11, 2016 MEG Munro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great story

I read this book, about 4-5 years ago when I purchased my first Kindle. I have read ALL of Mr. Brooks books but did not review them at the time I read them because I didn't realize how important reviews could be.
Well folks, this is an author you all should get to know. I am reading the books again and the story is still AWESOME. It's even better the second time around.
The characters are original and the story is very exciting. There are a lot of great characters, good and bad.
Nov 10, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shannara fans
Shelves: fantasy, epic
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.
Shawn Fairweather
I cant tell yet, however I tend to feel that this book is a prime example as to why for someone who wants to start a new series may want to avoid a prequel to start off with. I typically feel that Prequels are primarily to explain or clear things up from the original story line that needed further explanation or expansion and not to simply add another volume to the series. From the very beginning I found myself questioning whether I should be reading this or not. Perhaps it was just me. I found ...more
Savannah Bennett
Feb 18, 2012 Savannah Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd been wanting to read the Shannara series for awhile, I actualy started with the prequel instead of the first book, and I'm now in the process of reading The Wishsong of Shannara. It's great. I've noticed, however, that there has been a large amount of criticism against the Shannara Trilogy for having many similarities with The Lord of The Rings. I don't feel that this is the case. I love The Lord of The Rings. There are many resemblances between plot scenarios, and some characters in The Lor ...more
Diana Bogan
I read the entire Shannara series in the order they were published during my early high school years. I finally just got around to reading the prequel and it felt like coming home to a familiar, comforting place. My recall of the lay of the land was just waiting to be was wonderful to fall into this masterfully crafted fantasy. However, I don't think that the writing held up as well as the other books (but this could be a memory lapse on my part). I was often frustrated by the feel ...more
Dec 06, 2012 Karmakosmik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ho letto questo libro come conseguenza della conclusione delle due saghe dedicate al mondo di Shannara di Terry Brooks. "Il primo Re di Shannara" è il classico libro fantasy stile gioco dell'oca, dove il party principale si separa per portare a termine ognuno la propria missione, e poi ritrovarsi (+ o - tutti) per il classico battaglione finale. Interessante la parte dedicata al recupero della sfera nera degli elfi e la strenua difesa degli Elfi, mentre tutto il resto si muove in maniera automat ...more
Conan Tigard
Nov 15, 2015 Conan Tigard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was in high school in the early 1980's, I picked up a copy of The Sword of Shannara from the school library. It was the first fantasy novel I had ever read and it is still one of my favorites today. Now, with the prequel to that book, First King of Shannara explains a lot of things I never knew about the world of Shannara.

Allanon has remained as a powerful image in my memory these 30 years or so, and it is wonderful to see him as a child and watch him becoming a Druid. I also found it ve
Feb 01, 2015 Piotr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's... not a very good book. A good one, maybe. An epitome of generic post-Tolkien fantasy. The good parts are mostly borrowed, the rest isn't very imaginative.

Honestly, it isn't all bad. There are heroes, adventures, big bad enemy... from time to time I like some classic high fantasy, and it doesn't have to be Tolkien or Kay every time. So - if you want some oldschool fantasy, Brooks is ok. I, for one, can't live on grimdark alone.

But the worldbuilding is not up to our times' standards, and th
Jon Borah
Jan 09, 2015 Jon Borah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Horrified by the misuse of magic they had witnessed during the First War of the Races, the Druids at Paranor devoted themselves to the study of the old sciences, from the period before the collapse of civilization a thousand years before. Only the Bremen and a few trusted associates still studied the arcane arts. And for his persistence, Bremen found himself outcast, avoided by all but the few free-thinkers among the Druids.But his removal from Paranor was not altogether a terrible thing

David Anderson
Aug 11, 2014 David Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been curious about the Terry Brooks Shannara books. I know there are many, and when I was recently looking at downloading an audio book on Overdrive, and saw the prequel book, I thought, why not start now... oops apparently I wasn't supposed to read (listen to) this book until I had read 8 other books, a novella and a graphic novel! I guess you should start by checking the authors website. So if you haven't read the others first, you may have some of the story spoiled. You have bee ...more
W.H. Cann
Jan 29, 2015 W.H. Cann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
So much has been said about Terry Brook's Shannara series, some of it praise-worthy, some it it . . . not so. I read the Sword of Shannara several years ago, and the series Genesis of Shannara in 2013, but I decided to read this book next instead of the ones that followed the Sword of Shannara.

There have been many comments about its likeness to Tolkien's LOTR, that characters are flat and the story not so engaging. However, I put these opinions from my mind and read it purely for what reading is
Aleksandar Doynov
È da tempo che avevo intenzione di inizare questa saga, ma non mi sono mai deciso a farlo. Fino a una settimana fa. Posso affermare, tranquillamente, che Terry Brooks è un grande scrittore del fantasy. Il primo re di Shannara è un romanzo epico che, anche se soltanto una specie di prequel, illustra la grande capacità dello scrittore di creare un mondo meraviglioso popolato da Elfi, Troll, Gnomi, Druidi e umani. Mi sono affezionato molto ai personaggi e ho concluso questo primo romanzo piangendo ...more
Jul 16, 2015 Nigel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion this was an excellent way to tell the back story of the Four Lands. By pulling it together in a separate volume Terry has told the history without the need to interpose it into the original trilogy which would only have blighted these novels by constantly interrupting their flow to detour into the past. In many ways it is a classic Terry Brooks novel in that a small group of people get sent off on a number of quests, overcoming great odds and disasters before finally succeeding, th ...more
This is my second go around reading this novel. I read it 7 years ago and it was one of my first fantasy novels. I revisted it again this summer and it still shows me that I love me some Terry Brooks fantasy.

I wouldn't say this is his strongest or best book, but it fits with the series and fills in some gaps. I love it, but not my favorite Shannara novel.
Jan 22, 2016 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Cant believe i waited this long to read this series.What an idiot.People will think im probably crazy but this is one of the best quest fantasy books i ever read.Cannot remember reading a fantasy novel where the world map was clearer in my head,the characters so vivid,and was able to follow the overall plot and sub plots of the whole novel.The cast of characters was outstanding.From the Druids Bremen and Tay to the Elves Jerle Shannara and Preia not to mention a few more unexpected characters po ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's next? 5 20 Aug 22, 2014 01:51PM  
  • The Hidden City (The Tamuli, #3)
  • Doom of the Darksword  (The Darksword Trilogy, #2)
  • The Eye of the Hunter (Mithgar, #14)
  • The Death of Chaos (The Saga of Recluce #5)
  • The One Tree (The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #2)
  • Warhost of Vastmark (Wars of Light & Shadow, #3; Arc 2 - The Ships of Merior, #2)
  • The Red Wyvern (The Dragon Mage, #1)
  • Rides a Dread Legion (The Demonwar Saga, #1)
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf (Runelords, #2)
  • Robot Adept (Apprentice Adept #5)
  • La leggenda di Earthsea
Terry Brooks was born in Illinois in 1944, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received ...more
More about Terry Brooks...

Other Books in the Series

The Original Shannara Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #1)
  • The Elfstones of Shannara  (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2)
  • The Wishsong of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #3)

Share This Book

“We should not be less than what we are.” 5 likes
“We grow as best we can under the circumstances given us. What good does it do to second-guess ourselves years after the fact? Better that we simply try to understand why we are as we are and then better ourselves by learning from that.” 0 likes
More quotes…