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The High Druid's Blade (The Defenders of Shannara, #1)
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The High Druid's Blade

(The Defenders of Shannara #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,891 ratings  ·  425 reviews

Legend has it that Paxon Leah is descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical weapons. But those kings, queens, and heroes are long gone, and there is nothing enchanted about the antique sword that hangs above Paxon’s fireplace. Running his family’s modest shipping business, Paxon leads a quiet life
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published July 8th 2014 by Del Rey (first published March 11th 2014)
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Em Hatherley Love this author - be warned, once you start, you won't stop! Yes, it's fine to read this as an intro to TB's books, because it's a stand alone book a…moreLove this author - be warned, once you start, you won't stop! Yes, it's fine to read this as an intro to TB's books, because it's a stand alone book as good as all the others. Hope this helps and happy reading!(less)
Nancy It makes the story richer because there's a bit of name dropping, but the story stands on its own.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  4,891 ratings  ·  425 reviews

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Sean Barrs
Jan 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-star-reads, fantasy, y-a
Paxon Leah is descended from an ancient line of kings. His family don't rule anymore, but they still harness the magical powers of their ancestors. When his sister is kidnapped by the manipulative sorcerer, Arcannen, Paxon naturally rushes to her rescue. In a rush he grabs the only weapon at hand: the Leah ancestral sword that hangs above the fireplace. When the two eventually face off the magic of the sword is awoken, and Paxon realises the power of the blood that flows through his veins.

He i
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

The High Druid's Blade is a fast paced and fun novel that both younger readers and longtime fans will appreciate. While it lacks the complexities of some of Brooks more recent Shannara series, it is still filled with delicate morsels of intriguing lore and enough references to past events in the series to satisfy any Shannara lover’s sweet tooth and pique a new reader’s curiosity, making them quickly seek out other tales from this world. All in all, wha
Shawn Speakman
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beginning Note: I am Terry's webmaster and, therefore, as biased as anyone could ever be!

THE HIGH DRUID'S BLADE is the first stand alone Shannara novel since 1996's FIRST KING OF SHANNARA. It tells a complete tale in one volume -- with some threads being woven for the next two stand alone novels in the Defenders of Shannara trilogy.

The story opens in the Highlands of Leah about 150 years after the events of WITCH WRAITH. Paxon Leah is the principle main character, a man possessed of his family's
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
It is hard to believe I have been reading the Shannara books all my life. I read the Sword of Shannara when I was eleven and now at thirty I’m still reading them. Whenever I pick one up and begin the adventure I feel at home. The Four Lands, Paranor, The Forbidding, etc., have been like my old stomping grounds. Whenever I see a new Shannara book at work I always buy it immediately.

Before I begin, I just want to say how I kinda hate the advancing technology starting to take over the Four Lands.
Gareth Otton
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
From the moment the box from Amazon landed on my desk this morning my disappointment began with this book and sadly my expectations never really got any higher from that moment on.

The parcel was far smaller than I had expected considering I had ordered a hard back edition of the latest Shannarah work, so with fingers crossed I opened it hoping to find some ingenious new economical style of book that would cram a lot of words into a small number of pages. Sadly I was only part right, there was i
A Bookish ✧ Fable
Dec 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
Alright.. Come at me and yell at me, I’m ready..
DNF @ 20%

I am so sorry? But life is way to short to read books you don’t enjoy.
And the sad part is that I actually liked the first pages you know.. It was alot of adventure and interest, but around 70 pages took me MONTHS to read?! It should not take that long! 😫
I was just so bored and didn’t have a reason to finish it! Our maincharacter Paxon(?) is great and all but hell.. the writing just doesn’t stick with me. I tried, I really really did. I e
Tom Britton
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
If enjoy this series . Will enjoy this book . A great hero and villain. So good action . Over all one best fantasy writer out there
Albert Riehle
There was a point, in this book, when I really didn't think it was going to make it all the way to the 3-star mark that I gave it. A somewhat strong final third of the book, and probably my great affinity for Terry Brooks jaded me enough to give it the three, but I was really looking forward to a new, stand-alone Terry Brooks book and I'd be less than honest if I didn't say that overall, I'm a bit disappointed.

I hate when reviewers talk about telling instead of showing like they just got through
Devan Harvey
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Be careful what you ask for. I have been a reader of Terry Brooks since first reading Elfstones of Shannara in middle school which really got me into fantasy as a genre. I still feel Elfstones and Wishsong are fantastic books. Over the past few years I have been suffering from a little Shannara fatigue and was starting to feel the series might be played out. Too often things felt really formulaic: there is always an Ohmsford, a Leah, an elf, a druid, etc. None of the past few series really stood ...more
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
#27/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest.

I had heard a lot about Brooks' latest trilogy in the Shannara series: The Defenders of Shannara. It was said that Brooks wrote them as YA novels. Other reviews said that they were written so a new generation could dive into the world of Shannara without having to read the previous 20+ book in the series. But after reading the first in the series, I'm left wondering who exactly is Brooks audience here.

The first half of The High Druid's Blade reads like low-grade
May 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Fans, Brooks fans, D&D fans
Recommended to Michael by: Library2Go
Shelves: fantasy, pulp-fiction
This isn’t a great fantasy novel – I’m not even entirely sure it qualifies as a good one – but it was satisfying enough for me to finish it as an e-book, and that rates it something. Brooks gives us a world of good and evil in conflict, with magic and mystery, and a fairly straight-forward coming-of-age tale for the main character, and all together, it works, even if it isn’t exactly brilliant. Actually, the one thing that got in the way of my enjoyment was how often the characters (especially t ...more
Stephanie Morrow
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
You can find this review and others on The Nomadic Reader.

The High Druid’s Blade started out with a strong story, but the writing style (in my opinion) did not do it justice. The reader meets Paxon, a young boy doing what he can to help out his family. He has a sister who he is very protective of. She gets herself into some pretty serious trouble, and he goes to rescue her out of it. It felt like the first half of the book was missing a lot of descriptions. I likened it to an overview, it went
Oct 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
Synonyms for the word Anew:
-once again
-once more
-over again

This is quite possibly the worst Shannara book in the entire series. Recycled storylines and flat characters made this short book extremely difficult to get through. It was also in dire need of some editing. Im hoping this is just a slight hiccup and the rest of the series will redeem this first volume.
Nov 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
The originality from the series is just gone.

I wish when reading this i can enjoy the world like I used to. But so much of the book is just obvious, and seems like the book is a cookie cutter copy from other books.
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own
As many friends and regular readers know, I've been a fan of Terry Brooks since I was introduced to Sword, Wishsong and Elfstones books in Junior High School. I devoured them and found a taste for his style of fantasy adventure. For many years after that I regularly read each of his books as they were released and eagerly looked forward to the next volume. In recent years, I haven't been as diligent at keeping on top of his yearly (sometimes twice yearly) releases but I still have a fair amount ...more
Eric Binfet
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fantasy Readers
I was first introduced to the Shannara series in middle school, fifteen years ago. The middle school library of a 3000 population town left something to be desired in variety and I was quickly running out of things to read. I came across a weathered spine and made out the word “Sword” on it. Intriguing. I read the book over the next week and my mind was opened by what turned out to be a first edition paperback of The Sword of Shannara.

Fifteen years and twenty odd books later I’m still reading Sh
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fantasy
Nostalgia is what got me interested in reading this novel. Terry Brooks was one of the authors that got me into fantasy when I was in middle school, '92 and '93. I haven't read anything in the world since the mid 2000's, though, due to life changes, interest shifts, and some aspects of his later books. So I was curious to see what was the same or different in one of the newer additions to the Shannara world.

The author definitely pleased in the amount of Shannara lore he gave us. From well-known
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, own, netgalley, march
The High Druid's Blade is the telling of Paxon Leah's story. I found this to be a pretty easy and enjoyable fantasy read. Terry Brooks seems to have taken a break from his complex plots, giving us two main characters and a few smaller players in this storyline. This view point isn't bad, just you a more in depth/personal view point of the Leah family. I did find that at least the first 1/2 of this book was more story building with the remaining 1/3 of the book where most of th ...more
Aparna Singh
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of Peter V. Brett. No, actually I think I worship that author. And when I read that Pete is and has been a huge fan of Terry Brooks's work since before he started writing, I had to pick this up. I just had to.

So I said yes, as soon as I was offered a copy of The High Druid's Blade to review. This was a fast paced, quick read. Quick, because it didn't let me put it down. I read the book in one sitting (stayed up the whole night, went to college a caffeinated zombie the next day).
Feb 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
I had this on pre-order from Amazon for several months and I was somewhat disappointed when the release date was put back to July. Nevertheless, I was pleased when the book finally arrived, even though I was concerned by the overall size, as it looked tiny for a hardback.

To be honest, I feel like I've been short changed on this whole deal, as the new instalment of the Shannara series is pretty crap. I wasn't overly impressed with the last trilogy either, because Brooks just seemed to rehash a n
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The High Druid's Blade didn't quite live up to my expectations. It is not a bad book really. It's just that this story doesn't quite have the same...charisma, as the Wishsong of Shannara or the earlier Shannara books. Many of the characters are not well fleshed out yet, with the exception of two (the villian, of course, and the Druid Starks). The story isn't as complex as other Brooks novel (and that is okay. Not everything has to been a cataclysmic adventure) it does suffer from a few pacing is ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Things that make you go, "Duh." Transparent, predictable, might entertain a 10 year old.

I see no reason this book was ever written other than to make money off of the Shannara series. A worthless read and total waste of time.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book really doesn't obey the rule of 'show don't tell', and it suffers for it. Unfortunate, because the plot had potential
Jim Ousley
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always a pleasure to read Brooks! Love the Shannara series
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Having never before encountered Terry Brook’s writings, I was intrigued to discover that this book was one of many involving the epic fantasy world of Shannara. I was also a little dubious as to whether it would be ok to simply jump into Shannara with this book having not read the others but I now know it can be read as a standalone series. In fact this book has stirred my interest into the history and lore of Shannara and I will no doubt seek out the rest of the books.

The story itself revolves
First Reads Review - The High Druid's Blade by Terry Brooks

Well this marks my first return to the Shannara series in quite some time. I have read the first eight books, but none since the First King of Shannara. I remember liking the books a good deal, but this book fell a little flat for me. It was a fine book, but I got the feeling that it was a little plug and chug, and that in the end there wasn't a whole lot of consequence to happen. I felt instead that, for all it is billed as a "stand alo
Jun 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am really torn with this book. The story line was very good, interesting and entertaining, and yet I wasn't captivated.

I have always wanted to read a Terry Brooks book, so when I saw that this was a stand alone novel, and I wouldn't have to read his previous 25+ books to understand it, I jumped at the opportunity to receive a copy from NetGallery.

The High Druid's Blade is the story of Paxon Leah, a descended from the royals and warriors who once ruled the Highlands and waged war with magical w
A.C. Thompson
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a free ARC paperback sent to me direct from the publisher as a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads.

I thought this book was very well written, and I now understand why Terry Brooks is held in such high regard by many readers of the fantasy genre. Although The High Druid's Blade was my first foray into the world of Shannara, I thought this book lent itself well as a good jumping off point. I never felt lost or like I was missing out from not knowing what seems to be a very de
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a huge fan of Terry Brooks and anything Shannara, it broke my heart a little last year to realize I was getting nearly 'done' with the series. As seems to happen now and again with some of these large fantasy worlds, it seems like some stories just keep going on, not so much because there's story to tell, but because they can sell books. Some of Mr Brooks last few trilogies had gotten that feel; you knew what the quest was going to be, you knew there would be obstacles, you figured the right ...more
Robin Burrows
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read2014
This book is the first stand-alone book in the Shannara setting in a very long time. It will be the first of several inter-connected books with stand-alone plots. That's pretty amazing (and refreshing!) in a world where fantasy novels can span several books without much happening to move the plot forward.

This story centers around Paxton Leah and his sister. We're thrown into the story immediately (which was also refreshing compared to some books I've read recently which have long exposition arcs
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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 his ...more

Other books in the series

The Defenders of Shannara (3 books)
  • The Darkling Child (The Defenders of Shannara, #2)
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter (The Defenders of Shannara #3)

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