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

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  63,648 Ratings  ·  2,973 Reviews
Long ago, wars of ancient Evil ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races - gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles until giant, forbidding Allanon, with strange Druidic powers, reveals a supposedly-dead Warlock Lord plots to destroy the world.

The sole weapon against this P
Paperback, 726 pages
Published April 1999 by Orbit (first published 1977)
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Mel Oh good. Not just me! I read this back in high school and remember absolutely LOVING it. Now, I'm 20 pages in and struggling to get through all of the…moreOh good. Not just me! I read this back in high school and remember absolutely LOVING it. Now, I'm 20 pages in and struggling to get through all of the history Allanon spouting. Don't remember it being this dull 20+ years ago.(less)
Annie Yes, I would finish it. It was his first book and as such has some weaknesses, but still worth the read. I am re-reading it again myself after reading…moreYes, I would finish it. It was his first book and as such has some weaknesses, but still worth the read. I am re-reading it again myself after reading it the first time nearly 40 years ago. If you are a die-hard Lord of the Rings fan you may not like it.(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Aug 18, 2008 Susanne rated it did not like it
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
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
I really wanted to like this, but that just wasn't the case. This book was just overly boring and it lacked plot. It felt like nothing was happening half the time. Overall disappointed with this book.
Mar 31, 2012 Nikko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Bookdragon Sean
Now this is what I like to see in a fantasy novel. This has everything that makes the genre so appealing to me; it’s got a diverse set of races and cultural systems; it’s got both great darkness and profound good. But, most importantly, it’s got history. When I read books like this I want to feel like the fantasy universe has existed a thousand years prior and will exist a thousand years after. With Shannara it feels like I’ve stepped into the middle of a vast, complex and beautiful world that h ...more
Sep 17, 2007 Lorena rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Mar 31, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it did not like it
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
Dec 17, 2014 Danae rated it really liked it
I've seen a lot of negative reviews on this book and I truly can't understand why. People are saying this is a rip-off of Lord of the Rings, and I might not remember much about LOTR (it's been too long), but I never would have associated the two if it hadn't been for the reviews. I enjoyed this book for what it is, a good fantasy.

While reading The Sword of Shannara over the last month I found myself reading it slower than I normally would have, and it confused me because I was truly enjoying eve
mark monday
Apr 21, 2011 mark monday rated it did not like it
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 it was amazing
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
Dannii Elle
Wow - that is pretty much all I could say for hours after finishing this absolutely epic first installment in the Shannara series.

This book gave me everything I want in my fantasies - a vast landscape, colossal amounts of world-building, varied characters, mythical and mystical creatures, a definite good/bad binary, a quest to save the world, great character development, legions of backstory, action, adventure and intrigue, and ending on a battle scent to end all battle scenes.

The best fantasies
Jun 15, 2009 Tracey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 2-star
I loved this when I was thirteen.

I loved it when I was sixteen. And probably at least once in between there.

When I was thirty-six I picked it up, made it about a chapter and a half in, and threw it against the wall.


It left a dent.

(Edited for the trolls among you: A- this is a touch of hyperbole. Look it up.


B- It's a 700+ page book, and I was incensed. It's not entirely inconceivable that this thing would dent the drywall.

Just saying. Back to the original review... )

This book w
May 06, 2007 Drew rated it really liked it
If you are comparing the literary value of science fiction/fantasy 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 se
May 14, 2007 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Jan 10, 2016 Nikoleta rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Η ιστορία είναι καλούτσικη, ο χειρισμός της όμως δείχνει αρκετή αφέλεια. Οι χαρακτήρες θα μπορούσαν να είναι πολύ καλύτεροι. Η αφήγηση, ενώ χρησιμοποιεί ωραία γλώσσα και όμορφες περιγραφές, μας περιγράφει δυο και τρεις φορές τα ίδια πράγματα, ξανά και ξανά, ενώ είναι γενικώς πολυυυυύ αργό. Η πλοκή θυμίζει πολύ έντονα την τριλογιά «ο Άρχοντας των δαχτυλιδιών». Στην αρχή του, το «Η συντροφιά του δαχτυλιδιού» και το τέλος του το «Οι δύο πύργοι» (σε καμιά περίπτωση όμως δεν το φτάνει, ούτε καν το πλ ...more
Khanh (the Grinch)
Mar 29, 2013 Khanh (the Grinch) rated it it was ok
The Lord of Shannara? The Sword of the Rings?
Nov 09, 2012 Evgeny rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 18, 2013 Markus rated it really liked it
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
Oct 16, 2007 Hollyhocks rated it really liked it
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

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:
Aug 27, 2007 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jan 24, 2012 Wealhtheow rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
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
Dec 19, 2007 Jim rated it did not like it
This Book came out & I jumped on it. I was a real fan of the Lord of the Rings - so much so that I recited the first several pages of the Hobbit when we read it in class during the 6th grade - & this looked similar. I was ecstatic because I'd waited so long for another epic journey of that sort! How could I be so lucky? Star Wars & now a new Tolkien-like saga?!!! The gods must be good!

Then I read it & almost wept in frustration. It was too similar to The Hobbit. Wasn't it plagi
Dec 12, 2008 Lorena rated it it was amazing
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.
Eric Allen
Jul 08, 2016 Eric Allen rated it liked it
I grew up with the Shannara series. Along with The Wheel of Time, The Sword of Truth, and A Song of Ice and Fire, it was one of the big fantasy series that I read through numerous times and eagerly awaited more books from the author. I recently discovered the MTV (weird, but whatever) TV series The Shannara Chronicles, which was like a low budget version of Game of Thrones if it was made by drunk frat boys, starring all their jock and cheerleader friends, and John Rhys Davies, because why not. I ...more
Laura P.
Jan 22, 2016 Laura P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating: 3.60 stars.

This book was a journey.
After spending 14 days reading this before bedtime (1 or 2 chapters/day)...I'm almost teary eyed.

The first 170 pages were slow, the narration dull but the plot interesting..and then it finally picked up.
I liked the journey both physical and personal that Shea undertakes...
I loved Balinor and his Border legion, Eventine and the Elven warriors, and of course Durin & Dayel
I was intrigued by Allanon. And of course I can't not mention Menion (whi
Stefan Yates
Feb 23, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
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
Jun 11, 2007 Peter rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tushar Damle
Jun 05, 2014 Tushar Damle rated it did not like it
The following review contains spoilers for the Lord of the Rings, and consequently, for this book.

Frodo Baggins Shea Omsford and Samwise Gamgee 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 da
Dave Johnson
Jan 17, 2008 Dave Johnson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

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

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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.”
“They became sleepwalkers in a world of half-dreams and rambling thoughts with no break in the wearing march or the never-ending, silent black trunks that came and passed in countless thousands.” 3 likes
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