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First King of Shannara (Shannara, #0)
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First King of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy 0)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  19,870 ratings  ·  252 reviews
ISBN: 9780099602019


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 pe...more
Paperback, 489 pages
Published 1997 by Orbit (first published January 1st 1996)
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Fantasy Books That Should Be Movies
62nd out of 481 books — 457 voters
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best terry brooks book
2nd out of 11 books — 7 voters

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Community Reviews

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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...more
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.

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...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
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
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...more
Timothy Stone
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
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.
Nov 10, 2008 Jackie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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...more
Savannah Bennett
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
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
David Anderson
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
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.
Sabrina Santucci
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was looking to get into a new fantasy series here and want to give Terry Brooks another try. I've heard this is not the best book to start with, because though its a prequel, it was written much later.

Also, I think at the time I picked this up I was suffering from Elf overload.
Having read the other books in this series I decided to try this prequel. Not bad although it is certainly a prequel in that some of it would not make a lot of sense if you had not read the others. Not bad, but entirely too predictable for my liking.
Jonathan Erwin
I thoroughly enjoyed this prequel. I have not read the trilogy since I was in middle school but even so it all seemed familiar and conjured the same feelings of wonder.
Pretty good story, the characters were too close to LOTR, I just pictured Aragorn instead of Kinson, Legolas instead of Tay and so on. The names were annoying, for ex. Tay, just didn't do it for me. There were others that were worse. Can't remember b/c I am trying to read The Sword of Shannara but it is the same story line as this book with different characters. I thought the battle scenes in Ranger's Apprentice were written much better, I had to make myself read these, I wanted to skip and I ne...more
A big departure from the books leading up to this, much has happened in the world since the valley opened up and the elves and humans fought the trolls.

A good enough tale and having read the original shannara trilogy before its interesting to see some background to those books but it lacks something compared to the previous books. Its hard to say what but I dont think you are brought to care about the characters as much so its like you're just reading events rather than being involved in the sto
Rebecca Lovatt
This isn't particularly a review for this one book, but really just something about the series in the entirety.

If you're looking for a fantasy series to get into, Shannara is definitely one worth the time and money you'll have to dedicate to get through it. While the length of the series (30-something books, I believe) can be daunting, and a little bit intimidating, DO IT. You won't regret it.

The series as a whole has its ups and downs, but through and through, it's probably one of the best ou...more
Nikko Lee
Why I read this book:

My fiance recently started a subscription to Audible. He's a big epic fantasy fan and his first selection was First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks. Of course, I was familiar with the name of Terry Brooks and knew he wrote epic fantasy, but I have never read any of his books. After reading one of Terry Goodkind's novels, I got a little turned off to male-centric epic fantasy. It's a little hard to relate with damsels in distress with less dimension than the page they are pr...more
Well, now that I've gotten my behind in gear and sat down to write a blasted review...

Right off the bat, this had J.R.R. Tolkien all over it. Terry Brooks's Four Lands are like Middle-earth on a diet. There's an evil overlord rising back to power, an even more evil object of magic he can't be allowed to lay hands on, a small bunch of ragtags committed to stopping him, and a special sword meant to rally the troops and destroy the bad guy. There's even a Gandalf, an Aragorn, a Legolas, a Gimli, an...more
Gareth Otton
Whilst this is an excellently written story and thoroughly enjoyable, it is not one that is necessary to read to enjoy the rest of the series.

What this novel does is retell the story of the creation of the Sword of Shannara and go more into depth about the times surrounding it. Whilst die hard Shannara fans will get a kick out of reading about the first appearance of Allanon, of Bremen and the creation of the sword, of Jerle Shannara and also of the destruction of the first council of Druids, t...more
I have loved Terry Brooks for years and decided to actually finish the Shannara series this time around. I started out with this prequel volume that appeared after the original trilogy. It was not up to his usual standard. The characterizations were very two-dimensional and it was hard to develop any kind of sympathy for the protagonists of the story. The book essentially relates the detailed history of how the sword of Shannara was originally forged to defeat the evil druid, Brona, now operati...more
Adrian Diglio
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Overview: This is an epic fantasy novel, targeted toward an adult audience, written by Terry Brooks. It is the Prelude to the the Original Shannara Trilogy (aka The Sword of Shannara Trilogy), but was actually written after the trilogy was completed.

Spoiler Free Plot: A rebel druid named Brona is amassing an army to wipe the elder races off the face of the planet. Only Bremen and his cohorts can stand in his way. But to destroy someone as powerful as Brona, a magical sw...more
Colby Reynolds
Another great book by Terry Brooks, the First King of Shannara I believe is better then the trilogy of the Sword of Shannara but not by much. Here we find the Druid Bremen in the time before the Ohmsfords and he is cast out a rebel with only a few friends he must stop the Warlock Lord. He finds himself making the Sword of Shannara and that's the title of the first book in the trilogy since this is the prologue and you will figure out why it is called that at the end of this book. While he is for...more
My one word review of First King? Repetitive.

Each plot thread in the First King of Shannara was a repeat of a story previously read in the series, only with new characters and occurring at a different point in the history of the world of Shannara.

The story of the protaganist seeking out and wielding the sword of Shannara against the Warlock Lord to save the world was repeated. The story of the search for Elfstones was repeated. The story of the last Druid alive wondering if he will be the last...more
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What's next? 5 15 Aug 22, 2014 01:51PM  
  • Doom of the Darksword  (The Darksword Trilogy, #2)
  • Domes of Fire (The Tamuli, #1)
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  • The Illearth War (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, #2)
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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 Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #1) 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)

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