I read a lot of back and forth between fans of the Shannara series and those saying it was a Lord of the Rings rip off. Maybe that was a bad place to start my path down reading the first book, Sword of Shannara.
I remember trying to read this monster of a book back when I was a tween. I read maybe the first couple of chapters and stopped. I wasn’t really much of a reader back then.
Now, I am more patient and I realize the possible gains that can come from the time invested into reading a book. So, where do I fall on the scale of Brooks to Tolkien:
There were a couple of moments throughout the book that I actually caught myself shaking my head and groaning as the section would be so much like Lord of the Rings. Some of the action sequences seemed like a direct port over. A couple of the longer running plots also had shades of LOTR. i.e. when a leader comes to the capital and there is a weak ruler in place with an evil guy controlling him as an adviser ala Wyrmtongue.
I didn’t find the characters too much like the characters from LOTR, except for similar fantasy tropes. The overall theme and background of the world is quite different. This world follows a post apocalypse and seems much less about technology vs. nature. If I gave this book a theme, I’d say its about fixing past mistakes and taking responsibility.
Would I recommend this book?
If you love love love, fantasy, then yes. This, I do believe, was one of Terry Brooks’s first books, if not the first. The quality of writing is not on par with a GRR Martin of today.
I’m still interested in checking out other Shannara books, and I might almost suggest that people read a synopsis and skip this one to read later books where, perhaps, Terry Brooks’s writing style has improved.