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Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold

(Magic Kingdom of Landover #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  34,979 ratings  ·  1,179 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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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  34,979 ratings  ·  1,179 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. ...more
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.)

Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of fantasy with a humorous touch
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
My wife Barb enjoys being read to (as well as reading by herself), and generally likes fantasy, as do I. So it's not surprising that we've read a fair amount together in that genre, nor that Terry Brooks was an author we ran across early. We first read and liked his debut novel, The Sword of Shannara, reasonably well; but we both agree that it has a very derivative dependence on Tolkien, which goes far beyond the obvious influence the British genre giant exerted on all the fantasists who followe ...more
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
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The end of this story brings the rating from 1 to 2 stars. While I just may have been happy to get it over with, there was a dearth of excitement until the end. Even then, the conclusion could have expanded some finer points, but fails to do so. 3 of 10 stars
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.
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. ...more
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! ...more
Roman Kurys
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an awesome book to kick off 2021 with!

The concept was very intriguing to me and had me curious and as I began to read I just dissolved into it.

This isn’t at all like Terry Brooks’s Shannarah series. I was half expecting to find it similar, but also this isn’t a humorous novel like I had expected it would be. (.ie Hitchhikers, or Discworld). Sure there are funny moments, but there are those in most novels.

This read more like a twisted Narnia story for adults. Not as Grossman’s Narnia in “
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
Sarah Booth
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really interesting story with a good premise, but could have been filled out a bit better and expanded upon to give a richer feel for the land, the people and the events. The message of fear being one's worst enemy and defeating you before you even start was a good one and because of this I got a lot out of the book, but I felt that events and descriptions were far too sparse and that this was the abridged version, though I know it wasn't. If you're not bothered by a story that isn't fleshed o ...more
Sheila Majczan
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read all this author's works as have two of my children. We usually read them as they were released. He and John Grisham are both lawyers who now write. ...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
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 the library had
Kelsey Hanson
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
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
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.
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,
Akshaya Sriram
Terry Brooks has built a world of magic and chaos that is as fantastic as Wonderland in this book: Ben Holiday tries to get away from personal tragedy by buying and becoming king of a magical place called Landover. It his adventures in Landover that make the tale. Brooks has built a world that is definitely magical with a very fairy tale air to it. The characters: Questor Thews, the wizard who casts spells that isn't 'just right' and Abernathy, the dog-advisor who is constantly displeased, the g ...more
Steve R
Sep 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This 1986 fantasy novel was the first in a series of seven books making up The Magic Kingdom of Landover series. I found them as a whole a vast improvement over Brooks' Shannara series, which seemed to be excessively bogged down in a repetititve manner of plot construction. On the other hand, the Landover books presented something much lighter, often quite humorous, and nowhere near as predictable an experience. It is as if Brooks suddenly remembered that reading should be a fun activity for the ...more
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
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.
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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

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)

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