The Sword of the Rings err… Shannara

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.

About dhunterphillips

Visit my Facebook Fan Page to connect: While not working as a GeoInt Analyst in the Washington DC metro area, D. Hunter Phillips enjoys a life-long love of sci-fi, fantasy, role-playing games, and a great many other nerdy things that he explores through writing and games. D. Hunter regularly writes board game reviews at Through his writing, D. Hunter hopes to inspire and speculate on the future and the past. He seeks deeper meanings within pulp genres of fantasy and sci-fi. D. Hunter enjoys the tales of John Ringo and Charles Stross. D. Hunter's readings lead him in a never ending cycle of sci-fi, history, physics, and psychology. D. Hunter enjoys going to DC area Goth clubs and seeing some of his favorite bands, such as VNV Nation. He also loves his home life with his partner in crime and several pets.
This entry was posted in Book, Review. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Sword of the Rings err… Shannara

  1. John Hooper says:

    I would have to agree with you on this. I read the first 2 in this series while on my first deployment, I also got the whole LOTR feeling, but hey when you have nothing else to read what are you going to do?

  2. vobeskhan says:

    The first book was harder going but from book 2 onwards the series really gets into its stride. I’m tentatively looking forward to the tv version that is supposed to be coming from MTV “shortly”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s