Nikko's Reviews > The Sword Of Shannara

The Sword Of Shannara by Terry Brooks
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it was amazing
Read 7 times. Last read March 1, 1998.

Alright. Before anyone goes into a tirade of why I gave this book a five-star rating, read on.

I was never the novel-reader type. I was never much of a novelist, either. I live in a Third World country, so when I was young, we kids amuse ourselves by learning to climb trees, playing hide-and-seek and all sorts of outdoorsy games.

Until I met Terry Brooks through The Sword of Shannara.

A neighbor of ours was moving out, and with the bulk of books and other stuff they have, they decided to sell most of them. Ms. Susan saw me browsing through the books they were selling one afternoon, and when I was about to leave without buying anything (I had no money, since my parents never really gave me money to spend on anything until I was in High School), she beckoned me to come closer and gave me a seemingly old, yellowed-page-kind of book with the cover ripped off and no more first few pages. For an eleven year-old kid, it was kind of cradling a treasure (add that to my over-active imagination, hahaha).

That's when I started reading. In earnest.

The Sword of Shannara engrossed me. In bibliophyllic terms, I was heavily intoxicated, hahaha Sure, it had a very similar plotline with that of the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien (which I found out years later when I was in college already), but as you go further into the story, you would see where Brooks' originality lies. Besides, J.R.R. Tolkien is Terry Brook's mentor. It would be highly improbable if Tolkien's Middle Earth wouldn't rub off on any of his students. :D

When I started working, I made it a point to collect all of Terry Brooks' works, from the Sword of Shannara trilogy (I bought a brand new hard cover version of The Sword of Shannara) to the Genesis of Shannara books. I would often end up comparing how beautiful was the first book, the Sword of Shannara, is compared to the rest of the following materials.

Where others see repetition, I see consistency. Where others see a rip-off copycat work, I see one of the many variations in the seeds of literature that Tolkien sowed into the world of reading and writing.

Terry Brooks' The Sword of Shannara will always hold a special place in my heart, as it awakened me to the world of fantasy, fiction, and magic. :)
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March 1, 1998 – Finished Reading
March 31, 2012 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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Jacob I whole heartedly agree with your sentiments on this book and the series in general!


Brian I, too, read Shannara before LotR, and it introduced me to that type of world. There is a lot I owe to Brooks for that.


message 3: by Mary Berg (new)

Mary Berg I loved the Sword of Shannara series I read it a long time ago, and I still have pleasant memories.


message 4: by The (new) - rated it 5 stars

The Unknown I like them, as well.


message 5: by Bibi (new) - added it

Bibi Goats Thank you. I enjoyed reading your history with these books and it has made me want to read them. Thank you for sharing.


Niki I'm starting this book today. Your review was a wonderful glimpse into your literary past. I also love to read. I'm positive I will enjoy this book.


message 7: by Adam (new) - added it

Adam Morva That's an awesome story.


message 8: by Morgan (new) - added it

Morgan L. Thank you for a nice review. I'm gonna give this book a try. :)


message 9: by Gustav (new) - added it

Gustav McGuire This is the first positive comment for a book that I've been reading for a while now and it has given me hope to continue reading after all of those negative ones.


message 10: by Annaboo (new) - added it

Annaboo Nailed it. :)
With all the negativity I was close to quitting, but I'm in love with the tv series. And I'm dedicated to returning to the origin stories that the movies and shows are based. I'm a huge Tolkien fan and so is Brooks. It's difficult to put aside Lotr at times when it's so similar, but every author is entitled to inspiration.


message 11: by Wendy (new)

Wendy I haven't read the book yet, but this is a really positive way of looking at something that others can't stop complaining about :)


message 12: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer I'm reading this book for the first time after my husband suggested it to me, I absolutely love it! I think too many people compare the shannara series with the lord of the rings series and I think that's silly. to me lord of the rings is great but it seems more childish when compared with the shannara series. plus there are so many more books in the shannara series then lord of the rings. people only compare the two because there both fantasy novels with elfs and wizards and such. if you read both series you will see just how different they are. =)


message 13: by Emmanuelle (new)

Emmanuelle Thank you for this review. I got curious about these books because of the series on MTV which got my curiosity, but alas did not keep my interest. I thought it might make good books however, so I researched it here and found out it was. I appreciate your input instead of another bla bla bla this is a lotr ripoff shitty trilogy more crap bla bla bla can't say reasons. I am glad someone introduced you to readon and although I am still not convinced about reading this series or not (even if it is teen fiction - there are still quite a few out there which are good enough for adults to read. Thank you.


message 14: by Emmanuelle (new)

Emmanuelle Thank you for this review. I got curious about these books because of the series on MTV which got my curiosity, but alas did not keep my interest. I thought it might make good books however, so I researched it here and found out it was. I appreciate your input instead of another bla bla bla this is a lotr ripoff shitty trilogy more crap bla bla bla can't say reasons. I am glad someone introduced you to readon and although I am still not convinced about reading this series or not (even if it is teen fiction - there are still quite a few out there which are good enough for adults to read. Thank you.


message 15: by Marlyn (new) - added it

Marlyn Manan Thank you~


message 16: by Morgan (new) - added it

Morgan L. Hi again. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the next two books on this trilogy. Thank you again for writing a review that made me give it a chance :).


message 17: by Dan (new)

Dan Defranco I liked very much


message 18: by Juana (new)

Juana Soto I'm currently watching the series on TV and thought about giving the books a try. Then I read all the negative comments. I love LOTR and in watching the series I even said, what is this LOTR when a certain thing was said or took place. But honestly Tolkien was such an influential writer that we can't be surprised to see references to his books i othets works. That being said, after watching more of the series I realized it has its own plots and differences and originality. I love all the references to the ancient humans and so with this review to help me. I am going to read this first book. Thanks for being positive and sharing.


Nikko Thank you for everyone's comments. I'm glad I inspired some of you to give the series a chance. :)

I recommend reading the Sword of Shannara first, then the next two books in the trilogy in sequence. Then read the First King. It would complete the cycle. And I promise, it will make you all feel more curious about the rest of his work.


Saul the Heir of Isauldur I don't know if Brooks worked personally with Tolkien. But there's a Canadian dude, named Guy Gavriel Kay, who actually helped Christopher Tolkien write The Silma-freakin-rillion (I've always wanted to type that), and HE didn't borrow as heavily from Tolkien as Brooks. I came across LOTR first, which is probably why I just couldn't enjoy Shannara.


message 21: by Susanna (new)

Susanna Holdren My experience is similar in that I was around 12 when I started reading the series. I was totally emersed into them. I was literally a "Shannara girl" for Halloween one year. I'm also the same as you in that I didn't find out about Lord of the Rings till years later. Now, 20 years later, after reading so many other good books, I just finished re-reading Sword of Shannara, and I can understand why people have a problem with it. But I still think the series is great, and it's really nostalgic for me. :)


message 22: by Ryan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan Merchant Terry Brooks was the first author I every chose to read and keep reading. I picked his books up when they were at least a decade or so old and have never regretted it. His writing was the first that had ever captured me and had me racing home to finish reading a book instead of to play a game or you watch a tv show. I'd it want for Terry Brooks, I don't think I'd ever developed my love of epic fantasy if it wasn't for Him. I just bought the black elfstone and in waiting for Brandon Sanderson to put out the 4th book of the Stormlight Archive or George R.R. Martin to end his series.


Jason Cohoon Nostalgia is a powerful drug, so I won't blame you for liking this book. Trust me, however, that what you like about this book is Lord of the Rings. I'm sure if I ripped off that book and sold it only to people who hadn't read LotR yet would think I was a genius too. That's why plagiarism is illegal because people like you (again not your fault) attribute greatness to someone who doesn't deserve it - who stole it. That Brooks got away with this doesn't mean he's a good writer - it means he's a great thief.


message 24: by Brian (last edited Nov 07, 2018 07:20AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Jason wrote: "Nostalgia is a powerful drug, so I won't blame you for liking this book. Trust me, however, that what you like about this book is Lord of the Rings. I'm sure if I ripped off that book and sold it o..."

Brooks most likely did take his cues from the LotR. That said, he ran with it in an increasingly different direction. I don't blame him and I could never be so bitter as you seem about it.

For starters, if you want to look for overlap in story outlines between different authors, in any genre let alone fantasy, then you will find ample evidence. Or, have you ever really enjoyed a song only to find out it was a cover rendition, and maybe the original was even better? Were you ever angry that someone dared share their own take on a piece of art that you loved?

Brooks gets a bad rap not because he borrowed, but for the praise and success that accompanied his effort. There are far more reasonable critiques of Brooks' writing. When I go back and read the saga, for nostalgia and genuine enjoyment, I still wish he'd learned to curtail some of his endless descriptions of every landscape. But, then again, some people like that kind of thing.


message 25: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben I think that this is a great example of how things appear to different people in different ways. A great review.


message 26: by Allison (new) - added it

Allison Marie What a beautiful review!

Thank you for voicing your own (un -influenced by other GR readers) opinion and opening the door for other people to give the (beloved by many) series a chance to form their own opinions, rather than skipping it because of the hate being spread here!!


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