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Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold

(Magic Kingdom of Landover #1)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  32,292 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews
After Ben Holiday purchased Landover, he discovered the magic kingdom had some problems. The Barons refused to recognize a king and the peasants were without hope. To make matters worse, Ben learned that he had to duel to the death with the Iron Mask, the terrible lord of the demons--a duel which no human could hope to win....

From the Paperback edition.
Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published December 17th 2008 by Del Rey (first published March 12th 1986)
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Rob There are no overly adult themes in the book. Love, loss, and combat are all handled pretty lightly without a lot of over the top or in depth detail.…moreThere are no overly adult themes in the book. Love, loss, and combat are all handled pretty lightly without a lot of over the top or in depth detail. This should be fine for any teenage or adult reader.(less)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,292 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews

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Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I saw this in a used bookstore and picked it up as a nostaglia re-read.

It's a good book, and I enjoyed it. But the pace of the story is much *much* slower than I remember. Part of this might be that I already had read it in the past. Or that I'm much *much* busier than I was as a kid.

But the result is that I ended up doing something I rarely do: I skimmed chunks of the book, mostly description or narration of the main character's thoughts, so I could get to the next bit of action or dialogue.

Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was a book that constantly frustrated me by not making the most of its premise. Here you have a pretty original premise, a humorous tone, and a diverse cast of characters, and yet all that emerges is a mildly engaging but not wholly entertaining read. There were countless missed opportunities, and I couldn't help wondering how this book would have fared in, say, Terry Pratchett's far more capable hands.
A. Dawes
Apr 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is lighter fare - the kind of book that takes your mind off the real world. Having read it almost three decades ago, I don't know if I'm truly qualified to review it now, but I remember it as a refreshing palate cleanser at the time. I went on to read and enjoy three more in the series.

Plot wise, it's not overly original. It's the basic portal Narnia type of novel. So I can't say that it shaped the field or massively influenced it. Basically, your white American male, Ben Holiday, is a lit
Mike (the Paladin)
Sep 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I actually enjoyed this series better than his more serious offerings.

My attention drawn back to this one sentence review...I found a typo.

The book is a humorous one but not a straight comedy. This falls into the category of literature (and media for that matter) which might be called "humorous or comedy drama". It's done pretty well. (By the way, if you read/finish the book you may think that I had a sort of "prejudice" toward the hero because of, one of the characters...not so, really.)

Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite book by Terry Brooks! A normal business man finds himself looking to a propertiy for sale... but its a kingdom! He doesn't even believe it and he goes to find out about it. He ends up buying it and goes to a far off world of new kinds. Where he meets a wizard who turned himself into a dog, and his friend Willow a girl who at night turned into a tree. This was not what he had expected to find in his new home. As well as the responsability to go on an adventure to save the town ...more
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is my first Terry Brooks and I was a little hesitant going in. One of my good friends had recently skewered Swords of Shannara and I thought I might be stepping into a pile of crap. However, I was pleasantly surprised with this story. It was light and fun and I had a good time reading it. Maybe Brooks got better as he continued to write or maybe this story just hit me at the right time. Whatever it was, I liked this.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It took me a while to sink into this book... seemed like a lot of time was spent in Ben Holiday's disbelief at finding himself in Landover. Yes, it was any sane person's natural response to leave town and enter a hidden world where a person can be accidentally half-transformed into a dog; I just don't want to spend so long wallowing in it.

It took me a while to feel any sort of sympathy for any of the characters. For most of the book I was laughing when they got into trouble - although some of t
Jan 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2011
I always thought this was a funny read. But it wasn't! To tell you, managing a fantasy kingdom is not as easy as it sounds. But I had a good time here. I had a good time at Landover that it makes me sick of frustration that I could not find the second book of the series!
3.0 to 3.5 stars. A pretty good book if you are looking for a "lighter fare" fantasy novel. I thought the main character was well written and the story was engaging.
Nicole Pramik
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magic Kingdom for Sale – Sold! is an enjoyable read. It isn’t epic like The Lord of the Rings but it’s not trying to be. Its world building is solid and believable and its characters are fun. Ben Holiday makes for a great, relatable protagonist with just enough flaws to keep him from being too perfect yet noble enough to keep him honorable. The secondary characters like Questor Thews (the court magician), Abernathy (the court scribe who was transformed into a dog), and Willow (the sylph), are in ...more
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I was intrigued by the premise of buying a fairy world (kingship included!), and thank God I was, because it took a few chapters for this to take off for me. Once things got settled, this was a pretty fun and entertaining read for me.

Ben Holiday, lawyer and widower, came across as mopey and unbalanced at first. I can't say he didn't have his reasons, though. His wife was dead, and he was contemplating buying the kingdom of Landover for one million dollars, all on a whim. He was full of doubts fo
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love fantasy books, so of course Terry Brooks was on my list of must reads. The Landover series books were great for many reasons. First it was a light read. I am not saying there is no moral dilemas or complexity, just that you dont have to wrap your brain too deeply around it. I also liked it for the entertainment factor. There was action, but not too much, love interests, but not too much, magic... well you can't overdo that in a fantasy book, evil villians, a bumbling wizard (every fantasy ...more
Joy H.
Re: _Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold" by Terry Brooks

This is part of Brooks' Magic Kingdom of Landover series. This book is the series opener. My GR friend, Werner says: "With this series, there is a case for reading the books in order; the first one gives some essential basic information, and there is a progressive development of the characters...".

I enjoyed reading this book of fantasy. It kept me reading. It was easy to follow and the fantasy characters were fun to read about. There's suspense
Kelsey Hanson
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Back in the early 2000s when I first discovered Terry Brooks, I read this series mainly as a way to pass the time when I read out of "Shannara" books. Now rereading this, I appreciate it much more now. I think it is perhaps as an adult, I better appreciate Ben's world weariness and the thought of "What would you do if you had the chance to rule a country and essentially create your own government". This book is also very fun and imaginative with a snarky main character. I also really like the g' ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben Holiday, attorney at law, is dissatisfied with his life. He sees the justice system becoming more and more flawed and his profession become the butt of every bad lawyer joke. His wife has passed away and he is increasingly withdrawn. When he sees an advertisement for a honest-to-goodness magic kingdom in the Christmas Wishbook, he seizes on his chance to give some more meaning and purpose to his life. He's got more than he bargained for when he arrives to find the kingdom in disrepair and no ...more
This was definitely a fun and easy read. Ben Holiday is a disenchanted lawyer who is trying to find some purpose to his life after his wife and unborn child died in a tragic accident. When he sees an advertisement for a magic kingdom being sold for $1 Million, he all but jumps at the chance, even though he only partially believes it could be real.

Of course it is, and there is everything promised in the ad -- except not quite exactly as promised. Everything is running down and withering, because
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
What a neat idea! Very well done other world fantasy novel that's just plain fun & a fast read. The writing is tight for Brooks & the characters are all vibrant. Highly recommended for a beach read.

Brooks is not my favorite author. The first book of his I read was The Sword of Shannara & it absolutely infuriated me since it was such a rip-off of The Hobbit. I wouldn't read anything else by him for years, but eventually I relented since my wife & I had read almost everything else
Jan 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to my papa for the recommendation!

I enjoyed this, the ending was excellent!
I had a little issue with the beginning, if I've agreed to suspend disbelief, I don't need 70 pages of Ben trying to convince himself or talking of the silliness or impossibility or whatever. I understand the point of it and we learn a good deal about Ben's character and his past and his current state of mind, but it went on a little long for me.

This book is also incredibly descriptive. This is not a bad thing,
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Inizia un po' lento per poi continuare nello stile fantasy più classico,con l'aggiunta di un pizzico di umorismo.
Piacevole per svagarsi.
Ben Holiday,avvocato sull'orlo della disperazione per la prematura scomparsa della moglie,riponde ad uno strano annuncio su un catalogo di vendita di un regno magico e così,dopo una breve trattativa,si ritrova a Landover,passando attraverso il regno delle fate. Qui dovrà diventarne il re,ma farsi accettare dagli abitanti del paese magico non sarà cosa facile e,a
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It sounds like the premise of a hilarious comic fantasy: Successful lawyer sees a magic kingdom for sale in a Christmas catalogue, buys it, and becomes king. Except, things are not as grand as they seem, and he finds himself accompanied by a talking dog, an incompetent wizard, and two goblins as his only retinue...

Unfortunately, the book never really delivers anything at all. The writing is bland, the humour is, for the most part, absent, and the story is altogether a misfire. There is a touch o
I was pretty unimpressed...but I think it's just not my type of book. I never got into Douglas Adams or Monty Python either. I wonder if a lot of the humor just went right over my was too dry, or to wet, or something...anyhow, although I could see where the humor was, I just wasn't finding it funny.

Additionally, story alone was pretty dull stuff. A man buys a's not what he expected...he goes from person to person asking for help and then it all ties nicely
Ежко Таралежко
Забравете за Шанара!
Изглежда когато не се мъчи да прави слаби копия на "Властелина" и да вкарва Джордж Мартинови мрачни емоции там където не им е мястото, Тери Брукс всъщност умее да пише забавно фентъзи. Смешно, интригуващо, едновременно леко наивно и носещо поука, току като приказка, от тези в които героите все пак умират и правят секс.

След като издържах цели пет тома (неам нерви за останалите, наистина) от бозата за тъжни елфи, мразещи подземията джуджета и крайно безполезни друиди (ако не ст
Al Philipson
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brooks' writing is superb. It flows well and doesn't distract from the story itself. I felt that I was there, struggling along with Ben (the main character).

The story line itself was decent and worth an occasional re-read (this is my second time). For me, it was slow in a couple of places and a bit frustrating (possibly because Ben was having TOO much trouble securing his throne?). I'll probably read it again in a few years if I'm still processing oxygen.
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really liked this book,for me I found it entertaining from start to finish.

This is my 2nd review,the 1st time I read it was 30 years ago.
I do think the book was better this time.It was a little slow in the beginning,but to be expected for the backstory on the character.But after he gets to Landover things really pick-up.From one adventure to the next it was a very entertaining read.
Daniel Ionson
I do like Terry Brooks. I really enjoyed his Scions of S. series. But this simply did not work for me on any level.
This book is one of my favorites, one I've read numerous times over the years, though it's been ages since the last time I read it. I absolutely adore the premise of this story, who doesn't dream of a fairytale land over which they could become King (or Queen) and have all of its' magic at their disposal. I love how the story is really a story of one man learning to trust himself and have faith that he can be all that he wants to be. He's a mortal man from our world yet he finds the inner streng ...more
H.A. Titus
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stands up to my memories

I read this book as a teen and absolutely loved it. I picked it up on a whim because it was on sale and was a little nervous to see if it was as awesome as I remembered.’s not quite. Lets get the bad out of the way first. It’s pretty “tell” heavy. And Willow’s insistence upon “fate” and the fact that a pretty girl magically helped Ben heal from some of his past issues was a bit annoying.
I still had fun with it. It’s still got the whimsical, light hearted n
Matthew Cox
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I really loved this series when I was younger, but was less enamored with it when I recently picked it up again.

Maybe it was just me, but I felt the author had a tendency to repeat himself a lot, especially in the early chapters. There would be a statement or thought, and then a paragraph or two later the same statement or thought in a slightly different way. I kept having moments were I was thinking 'Yes, I get it - can we move on now?'
I didn't notice this so much later on, but maybe I was jus
Matthew Collins
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ben at the beginning of the book was this gloomy constantly drunk mess due to his wife's death. Later on in the book Ben starts to show the character traits of compassion and helpfulness knowing that these traits are needed to receive the pledges of the local lords.
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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

Other books in the series

Magic Kingdom of Landover (6 books)
  • The Black Unicorn (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #2)
  • Wizard at Large (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #3)
  • The Tangle Box (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #4)
  • Witches' Brew (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #5)
  • A Princess of Landover (Magic Kingdom of Landover, #6)
“Morning followed night, as it always does, but Ben awoke questioning the assumption that it necessarily must.” 1 likes
“Nothing is lost that we do not first see as lost, High Lord. Believe it saved, and it may be. Visions born of fear give birth to our failing. Visions born of hope give birth to our success.” 1 likes
More quotes…