The Sword of Shannara
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The Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  39,498 ratings  ·  1,669 reviews
Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of...more
Published August 26th 2003 by Random House Audio (first published 1977)
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Man did that ever SUCK. And not your garden-variety, ham-fisted hackiness kind of suck. No, this was dumbfounded, frustrated bitterness swelling into white heat for which the only salve is the venting of my smoking, bile-filled vitriol in the form of this juvenile tantrum scathing rebuke of Brooks’ abominable, turd-like abortion of appalling plot-stealing gall.…Therefore listen to Baby Rage above and take cover…*inhales deeply and launches*…


A shitty, lifeless point for point ri...more
Aug 18, 2008 Susanne rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one... maybe Tolkien fans who DON'T mind a re-telling
Recommended to Susanne by: amazon. buggers.
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
If The Sword of Shannara was a film, it would go like this:

Mirkwood Productions proudly presents:


Directed by Meriadoc Brandybuck. Director of Photography: Celeborn. Costume Design: Arwen Evenstar. Visual Effects: Saruman the White. Sound Design: Noldor Unlimited. Starring Frodo Baggins, Samwise Gamgee, Gandalf the Grey, Sauron the Necromancer, Aragorn Arathornsson, Gimli van Gloin, and many more!


The Ohmsford brothers Shea (BAGGINS) and Flick (GAMGEE) live a pea...more
A friend who was also into fantasy insisted I read this series, and I got as far as the first three books before I stopped believing him when he told me they were magical and wonderful and would get better and better. As far as I can tell, they all have the exact same plot. Mysterious Wizard shows up at home of person. Tells person he is Chosen for an Important Quest. What follows is chapter after chapter of "I don't WANNA go on a Quest!" "You MUST go on a Quest!" Seriously, I know the reluctant...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The Sword of Shannara was a very popular book back in the 70s right after the huge success of The Lord of the Rings when everyone wanted to read more fantasy. I wasn't old enough to read it back then, so I came to it much later. I read part of the first book and, knowing how popular it had been, and feeling like it was a classic, I was prepared to enjoy it. About half way through I gave it to my ten year old son.

The weird thing is, it's so like The Lord of...more
mark monday
this is perhaps my first experience with a Bad Book. young nerds like myself shouldn't have to scorn fantasy literature, but this wet piece of crapola put me off of fantasy for years. something this derivative should never have seen the light of day. i don't care if folks needed a tolkien fix, there were other, better literary drugs out there they could have turned to. Brooks spends a very long time blowing tolkien style, but it is an extremely un-relaxing bj and i found myself getting agitated...more
Dec 08, 2007 Patrick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ppl who hate tolkien
Shelves: old-favorites
Everyone says that you fall into one of two camps: Those who love Tolkien, and philistines. I belong firmly in the latter. It is my firm belief that the man (Tolkien) got paid by the word. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy Brooks' Shannara series. I have read all of them, own most of the hard covers, and have spirited debates (code for a fight) with my friends about why these books are not carbon rip-offs of Tolkien's works. Great characters, epic stories with fallible heroes, and a world lov...more
Alright. Before anyone goes into a tirade of why I gave this book a five-star rating, read on.

I was never the novel-reader type. I was never much of a novelist, either. I live in a Third World country, so when I was young, we kids amuse ourselves by learning to climb trees, playing hide-and-seek and all sorts of outdoorsy games.

Until I met Terry Brooks through The Sword of Shannara.

A neighbor of ours was moving out, and with the bulk of books and other stuff they have, they decided to sell most...more
Oct 22, 2007 Hollyhocks rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: epic adventurers
So, I've read reviews that say this is just Terry Brooks' Lord of the Rings. I do see that, but at the same time, I think he made it his own in a lot of ways. I mean, aren't all fantasy adventures just someone's take on Lord of the Rings ... anyway, other than the fact that it's 700-some pages and I thought I would never finish it .. I liked it. I wasn't happy that 2 of the characters I liked died, but, it was a battle-adventure, can't live happily-ever-after for everyone. There were some lullin...more
Tracey, librarian on strike
I have reviewed this book; the review can be found here. (Also, go check out Leafmarks - it's going to be terrific.) However, I will no longer be posting reviews on Goodreads, due to its recent changes to terms of service and, far worse, the boneheaded and incomprehensible way it is proceeding with the new policy. Deleting content, almost randomly, and without warning (whatever they may have said) is wrong, and a half-hearted apology later doesn't make it all better. Failing to provide a sitewid...more
If you are comparing the literary value of science fiction books, I think it is best to use food as an example. Terry Brooks can be viewed as a really good bacon cheeseburger, it is fun to eat, makes you feel full, however it is often sloppily put together in a hurried fashion, without much effort and does not give your body true fulfillment.

While Tolkien on the other hand, or C.S. Lewis, are like well planned home cooked meals, with each food group represented and placed on a finely set themed...more
Aug 27, 2007 Susan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers
Shelves: haveread
This book threw me head first into the fantasy genre. And i don't mean sci-fi but the magic, elves and dragon genre. It was in our house, no one will admit to who's book it was, but I was reading everything and anything in the house at that time and absolutely LOVED this book. It's your typical fantasy/quest type of story filled with good, evil and hope. And I found it to be a nice break from the murder/suspense stories I had been reading.

If you've never read fantasy and want to take a dip, or s...more
Dave Johnson
is this the worst book ever? yes. then probably The Secret. man, this is seriously the most overrated book in history. i was looking for a fantasy that i'd enjoy, after reading LOTR, looked at some reviews on amazon, and bought a used copy for 3 cents. maybe THAT should've clued me in. so i started reading it, and was so bored. i fell asleep while reading this book numerous times. i read about a third of the book, and after having read 150 pages of brooks describing what grass looked like and th...more
A mysterious stranger came into a peaceful village of Shady Vale. From him one of the village boys learned about being the last hope of vanquishing an ancient evil with the legendary Sword of Shannara. I am not going to go deep inside the plot as it was used numerous times after this book; it fact the book can be partially blamed for almost all of fantasy with a poor farm boy/girl destined to be the last humanity savior. The rest of the blame goes to The Lord of the Rings.

The general consensus a...more
May 14, 2007 Eric rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People that want to read the Cliffnotes version of LOTR
Recommended to Eric by: Brendan Konrad
Shelves: fantasy
Terry Brooks is my friend's favorite fantasy author, and he gave me the entire set of Shannara books a while ago. Respecting his literary opinion, I read the first.


And Brooks is no J.R.R. Tolkien. That aside, it is an okay read. The storytelling isn't bad, and the story becomes slightly more original as it goes along. I actually finished it, so it can't be terrible, but it gets two stars for its absolute lack of originality.
Seizure Romero
Read this when I was a wee lad, still high on an epic fantasy called The Lord of the Rings (you may have heard of it). I was hoping for more of the same, which is precisely what I got-- the EXACT same, at least plot-wise. Unfortunately, Brooks was unable to imitate Tolkien's style and storytelling ability. I've heard that his writing has gotten better, but this experience pretty much put me off him for good. I was twelve, fer chrissake. That stuff stays with you. And when a twelve-year-old fanta...more
When I was in 8th grade I stayed home sick from school one day. My sister-in-law lent me this book, and I read the whole thing in one day. What a read! It remains to this day a standard for what a good fantasy should be like.

The Sword of Shannara is one of those books that undeniably is technically bad - both in how it rips from Tolkien and also for how it tells its story. Yet for better or worse it set its hooks on me from a young age (much like Eragon) and it remains one of those books that I can still find a bizarre emotional satisfaction from.

The one positive aspect of this tale from a technical sense is that it opened the door to other Shannara books. Some fantasy readers would view this as a greater tragedy:...more
Easily one of the worst novels I've read since graduating college. It's difficult for me to fathom how this novel could have inspired so many sequels, except that I think a healthy fraction of Brooks' readership is under 18 and doesn't know any better. Hyperbolic descriptive language presents a blatantly cloned Middle Earth quest full of elves, halflings, and humans swinging swords and wielding magic to try and save the world. When the book was first published (1977, if I recall) fantasy choices...more
When I was but an impressionable teen, my crush gave me this book for my birthday. He had teeth like little baby pearls and could quote from The Princess Bride, so I was pretty far gone on him. This book was so bad that it effectively cured me of that crush. Despite being a plot-point-for-plot-point, character-for-character rip-off of the Lord of the Rings, it's pretty boring. In fact, the only surprise in this novel is that despite such blatant plagiarism, none of the beauty of Tolkein's descri...more
Have you read The Lord of The Rings? Then you’ve read the original, much better version of The Sword of Shannara.

Shea Ohmsford was going about his quiet, daily life when the Druid Allanon appears. It turns out that Shea Ohmsford is the last surviving son of the ancient house of Jerle Shannara, the Elven King. And as his sole heir, the only one able to wield the might of the Sword of Shannara against the evil Warlock Lord. So begins a quest to acquire the Sword and defeat the Warlock Lord.

So, I w...more
This was my second reading of this novel and I think that I may have enjoyed it more the second time around than I did the first. When I read it the first time, I was fairly young and I think that the sheer size of it overwhelmed me a bit. This reading, however, I went in with lowered expectations because of all of the negative vibe that this book has taken and was more than pleasantly surprised to find that I still really enjoy it.

To stop the critics right here: yes, The Sword of Shannara does...more
In 1977, I graduated from high school & joined the Army, but in between was my last summer of freedom. Star Wars came out & set a new, much higher bar for every action & SF movie that would follow it. This was the 70's. Sure, we dressed funny & had weird hair styles, but we could party like no one else. We had kegs & bongs on the sidewalk at the mall waiting to get into the theater. When we finally did get in, they crammed us in with people sitting in the aisles & girls o...more
Tushar Damle
The following review contains spoilers for the Lord of the Rings, and consequently, for this book.

Frodo Baggins Shea Omsford and Sam Bagwell Flick Omsford are living in the idyllic village called the Shire Vale when Gandalf Allanon shows up to tell Shea that he is the heir to a great Elven King and the only person capable of wielding the fabled Sword of Shannara to beat the Dark Lord Sauron Brona.

The rest of the book follows the same format as that of LOTR

Do Shea and Flick get chased by dark,...more
Joel Paul
It's been years since I've read this book, but I think about it every day. It was by far one of the most exciting books I have ever read becuase it had such a compeling story and reasonable diction. Terry Brooks truly has a gift for making a fantasy world seem to be a reality. His descriptions of character and scenery leave a vivid image in ones' mind that will stay with you for years to come. His ability to describe action and create battles leaves the reader begging for more after every page....more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yes, Virginia, this is a thinly-veiled copy of the Lord of the Rings, and it's terrible. The Sword of Shannara is blatant ripoff of Tolkien's legendary tale: the characters are virtually interchangeable, the events more than coincidentally similar, the names of locations are not-so-subtly changed. Original elements are few and far between, like single grains of rice carefully placed every 30 yards on a football field. And then stomped on by the team.

Perhaps this could be renamed "Lord of the Rin...more
I did it! I'm done! And....the verdict? I thought it was a great story. While some of it, ok..alot of it was Lord of the Ringsesque I still enjoyed myself. I liked the characters, the trails they faced and the TRUTH~! Talk about "the truth will set you free".

Anyway...if you can handle the truth..and if you aren't afraid to enjoy a story that JRR didn't write, but has a similar vein..then grab it. It's fun, it's non-stop adventure and the end doesn't disappoint (I won't give it away...)

But...if y...more
So my boyfriend's mother recommended the trilogy with Isle Witch and I was hooked. I've read almost every book he's written now and some of the other reviews are right. They're basically all the same story, a kid finds out he/she has an obligation to save the word as well as super powers/control over an item with super powers and then they need to go on a quest to save everyone and everything on earth. It involves bringing a few friends along and traveling all across the world.
But somehow I'm a...more
The Sword of Shannara is basically The Lord of the Rings version 2.0. It is also one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read.

The book was first recommended to me by my father and uncle at a family gathering last year (I should clarify that 'recommended' here means 'briefly mentioned during a short discussion about good literature'). I had not read a fantasy novel for quite a while and was in search of something to read, so I found the book in one of my parents' bookshelves and brought it wit...more
Would I be lying if I said this book wasn't similar to Lord of the Rings? Yes, but I wouldn't say the similarities make it a bad book. Like most fantasy books, The Sword of Shannara follows the basic plot line of a hero (and a friend) going off on an adventure for a certain item in order to save the world from a dark force that threatens all of humanity/races. Between elves and other fantasy races that pop up often, the characters are whisked through a magical world in order to defeat the dark f...more
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Is this series worth the time and energy? 38 241 May 31, 2014 08:55AM  
Random(Goodreads): Official Discussion Thread for "The Sword of Shannara" SPOILERS 5 6 Apr 09, 2014 08:10PM  
Terry Brooks reading list 2 40 Apr 14, 2013 09:01AM  
MY EX HUSBAND READ THIS BOOK TO ME 1 74 Apr 13, 2013 04:48PM  
Terry Brooks 3 33 Mar 30, 2013 05:16AM  
Opinions? 34 236 Mar 02, 2013 06:57PM  
Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Sword of Shannara 27 60 Sep 29, 2012 06:14AM  
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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...
The Elfstones Of Shannara  (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2) The Talismans Of Shannara (Heritage of Shannara #4) The Wishsong of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #3) Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #1) First King of Shannara (Shannara, #0)

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“Herein lies the heart and soul of the nations.
Their right to be free men,
Their desire to live in peace,
Their courage to seek out truth,
Herein lies the Sword of Shannara.”
More quotes…