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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  24,990 Ratings  ·  439 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
Paperback, 489 pages
Published 1997 by Orbit (first published 1996)
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Ben I just read it after having read first 7 books. You could read it first, but it does have some spoilers for the other 7 books (even though it is a…moreI just read it after having read first 7 books. You could read it first, but it does have some spoilers for the other 7 books (even though it is a prequel). It won't ruin the experience for you, but it will give some stuff away, especially regarding the quest for the black elfstone that happens in the 4th and 5th books.(less)

Community Reviews

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Dec 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, audio
I read this a while ago, but all I remember is that the old adage, "show don't tell," was completely disregarded. Everyone was described as being ever so evil, good, awesome, super and yet never once did I actually believe it because no one did anything. Can't say I've been excited to read any of the other installments based on this one and 6 years later I still haven't.

I'm pretty sure it was Scott Brick who did the audio, so there's no complaints there.
Dirk Grobbelaar
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
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.

Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007, own
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
Igor Ljubuncic
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: terry-brooks
I just realized two things: 1) I have not written a book review in a while 2) I have not written a review of this fine book. And then I realized another thing: 3) I gave this book only three stars, but that's not correct, because I loved this book, and it deserves five stars. Amended.

Yes, it is a horribly cliche 80s-style Tolkienesque classsic D'n'D style good-vs-evil Warcraft, Trolls, Elves, Druids and other noble creatures, epic fight, magical artifacts, coming of age, tell-vs-show saga-like b
Oct 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
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
#9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest.

#9/29 in my Epic Shannara Quest.

Lackluster prequel to the original Shannara series has the same feel as Lucas' Star Wars prequels: a story line that has already been noted, but with a few details filled in giving it a perfunctory feel. The writing doesn't hold up as well as his marvelous eight pre-Shannara books. To be fair, though, it was probably a mistake to read this before I started the Shannara trilogy (since it was published before the pre-Shannara books).

Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Robbie Hall
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010-2012
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
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
Stephanne Stacey
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childhood-reads, sf
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.
Oct 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Valéria Budošova
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was hesitant a lot, reconsidering starting this book.I as anybody who loves high fantasy knew of Terry Brooks but I was not attracted to his world...I saw the first season and marked it as to read, but there was such a hate toward the books, that it let me down for some time.But that was a gravely mistake. I brought the book for vacation and during my stay in car there and back again I read it all and I loved it all. I understood why they behaved as they did, loved the way the relationships ev ...more
I didn't enjoy this one as much the second time as I did the first time. I already knew how everything was going to go down and I was not looking forward to it all. But I loved the druid Bremen even more this time. I understood him a bit more and could appreciate his complexity. Mareth was another character I appreciated a lot more this time around.
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shawn Fairweather
Jul 10, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I expected this to be at least a little better. I've stayed away from traditional fantasy like this for a long time, especially after reading George R. R. Martin, but sometimes I get a craving so I come back. It's always a mistake. So many characters with plot armor, so much deus ex machina, so little character development, so many overused tropes.

I did enjoy the battles that make up the last fifty or so pages, but it takes so long to get there. It's plodding, lots of time spent on the wanderin
Savannah Bennett
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Tanja Glavnik
I'm being generous in giving it three stars in a way, because I wasn't entirely hooked into the story until the very last part, titled 'The Battle for the Rhenn'. Maybe it's because I've always associated better with battle descriptions than anything else (and yes, I'm female, first thing's first), but the first three quarters of the book seemed mostly a lot of words and not much else. Now, I like a good description as much as any other fantasy reader (I mean, I've read Tolkien and GRRM, not to ...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
Sep 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I definitely enjoyed this book a lot, but I made a mistake. I saw that chronologically, this is the first book in the Shannara series, and I went ahead and read this first. While it was still an enjoyable read, it definitely had the feel of a book that was a reward for those who have read previously released books. Chapters ended with character name reveals and "shocking moments" that I felt only had impact with previous knowledge that I didn't have. That kind of made the book a bit anticlimacti ...more
MEG Munro
Jan 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great story

I read this book, about 4-5 years ago when I purchased my first Kindle. I have read ALL of Mr. Brooks books but did not review them at the time I read them because I didn't realize how important reviews could be.
Well folks, this is an author you all should get to know. I am reading the books again and the story is still AWESOME. It's even better the second time around.
The characters are original and the story is very exciting. There are a lot of great characters, good and bad.
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Aug 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Philippa Connell
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to warm up to this book - I've read the Void and the Word trilogy by Terry Brooks before but I've never really touched on Shannara, but once I got going I found it increasingly hard to put down.
May 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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.
Apr 03, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Jonathan Erwin
Apr 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Bill Tillman
An exceptional prequel, best I've heard or read. Listening to the audible version was a real Joy.
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What's next? 5 20 Aug 22, 2014 01:51PM  
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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 Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #1)
  • The Elfstones of Shannara  (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #2)
  • The Wishsong of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #3)

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“We should not be less than what we are.” 7 likes
“Our problem is not one of ignorance; it is one of complacency. We are too quick to accept the life we know and not quick enough to embrace the life we only imagine. We think that events must proceed as we dictate, and that no other voice will ever have meaning but ours” 3 likes
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