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Is the Sword of Shannara worth reading?

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Mythic Scribes, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    I bought the first Shannara book just because it was always mentioned and I got it for like 1 dollar or something. I didn't read much of it, maybe 20 pages. I don't remember it being really bad, but I don't remember anything particularly interesting about it either. Brooks falls into the category of "safe" fantasy in that he seems like a decent writer, but he doesn't try to do anything terribly original or interesting. Nothing wrong with that, as it seems to work for him.

    I wouldn't say it was worth it if you're looking for something ground-breaking or mind-blowing. At least my brief experience with the writing anyhow.
     
  2. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    @Dusk - Terry Brooks Vs. George R.R. Martin is an argument I've been having with a close friend for years now. He swears up and down the Terry Brooks is the greatest writer to ever grace the face of the planet, and that Martin's work is boring and bad. I have given up on converting anyone who thinks that Terry Brooks is an example of great fantasy because of him. Now I simply let them continue in their misguided way while consoling myself with cheap rotgut and the fact that I am, as usual, right, lol.
     
  3. I hope you've slapped him. Repeatedly. With great force.:D
     
  4. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    I would, but he's the huge dumb brute type(pronounced jock) where I'm the skinny, intelligent, generally wonderful type (pronounced geek) and while I might slap him, the return beating would not be worth it, even for my principles, lol.
     
  5. I would say that people like that are invariably weak-kneed cowards, but experience has taught me otherwise. Moral superiority doesn't count for much if you're left limping home after a savage beating. We can can only hope that he learns the error of his ways. Or that he stays stupid. I vote for the latter. That's punishment enough.:D
     
  6. Mdnight Rising

    Mdnight Rising Minstrel

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    George R.R. MArtin is much better in my opinion, and i have been a fan of terry brooks for many a year
     
  7. BOOO Terry Brooks sucks.. cept the Black Unicorn >.>
     
  8. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    The one objection I have to Donaldson's style is one that's actually quite unusual for me to raise: it seems fairly obvious (to me) that he wrote with a dictionary, or at least thesaurus, in one hand, and whenever he got to a word he didn't know, he tried to find a way to include it. Which is an odd objection for me, since I normally encourage breadth of vocabulary. Seriously, though: if you go back through the books, try to spot the words you had to look up the first time you saw them (or may still need to)… and then try to find where he uses that word a second time. (You might also count the distribution of unfamiliar words relative to the alphabet: how many of them begin with 'a' as opposed to, say, 'r' or 't'?)

    Well, really, everybody's "weak-kneed"–in the sense that it's one of the easiest parts of the body to disable. So if you ever do get into a fight with such a person (or anybody)… go for a knee. In fact, that might be the best way to get a "jock" to back off you: they should be absolutely paranoid about taking knee damage. ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  9. Donny Bruso

    Donny Bruso Sage

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    @Ravana Yes, I know that knees are wonderful ways to get someone to drop to the ground squealing like a little girl who has lost her favorite doll. However, as I originally started the post, we are fairly close friends, so I don't think doing irreparable damage would be necessary
     
  10. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    looking at this thread I guess I'm out of the norm when I say that Terry Brooks is one of my favorite authors, (I have all of the Shannara books). I agree the Sword is derivative of Tolkien, he admits it himself in his book on writing Sometimes the Magic Works but his other books he stands on his own. Personally I would suggest reading the series and that means reading the Sword as the events therein are referred to but not explained in the later books. But don't, I repeat don't read First King first read it eighth because it has major spoilers for Sword and the Heritage series.

    It's definitely worth your time because it will open you to a, in my opinion, awesome series, which should not be judged by the failings of the first book.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011
  11. I think you'll need to provide specific examples in order to convince me (rather surprisingly, and despite my posts, my vocabulary is quite extensive). Admittedly I haven't read the Chronicles in decades, but at the time I wasn't jarred by his choice of words. Then again, I have a distinct feeling we approach books in different ways, so perhaps it's no surprise I didn't notice the things which made your hackles rise.:D

    (Oh, and of all the places to hit, knees are the least important.:eek:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  12. Janga

    Janga Minstrel

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    I found Sword of Shannara to be a very cheap Tolkien ripoff. I know most fantasy novels have an element of Tolkien in them, but Brooks just plain stole ideas for this book.

    My opinion anyway. If someone gave you a copy of it, go ahead and read a few chapters and see if you want to continue from there.
     
  13. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Ugh… that would require that I go back and look at the books (which I, too, have not done for decades), something I don't care to inflict upon myself. So you're on your own. But I remember his vocabulary–at least at the outset of the series–looking as much like a dictionary exercise as Brooks' does not. (Of course, what might have been "unfamiliar" then and what is now are completely different: you'd probably have to evaluate the vocab more along the lines of "Would this appear in something written by [insert unjustifiably popular author's name here]?")

    (I did actually enjoy reading the series, by the way… except for the parts that included the main character. :p I absolutely loved the half of Illearth War that didn't involve him; wish there'd been more like it. At least Covenant improved a bit in the second trilogy, as I recall.)

    Remind me not to choose you for my next bar fight team. :D Eyes and throat are better, sure, but they're harder to get to. In fact, one of the best reasons to make a move at the eyes is because people will defend them–invariably–at which point the knees are easy targets.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  14. I'm contemptuous of the books for that reason, but it's not a singular crime; the genre would collapse if publishers relied on writers being original. Sad but true.

    Poor ol' Covenant, so misunderstood. All he needs is a hug.

    Just as well - I'm the kind of guy who'd bring a knife to a gunfight.:p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  15. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

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    Infantry: "You brought a knife to a gunfight?"
    Marine: "You brought a gun to a knife fight?"
    Special Forces: "Hey, check out this nifty knife and gun I got off those two guys over there.…" ;)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  16. Poppa Weelee

    Poppa Weelee Dreamer

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    I'm going to attempt to bring balance to this thread. I like Terry Brooks for the Shannara series. Yes, Sword is a shameless ripoff of LOtR, but he explicitly states that in the Foreword, IIRC. It's not news. It's what he does after that makes the series great. I especially like the Armageddon's Children arc. Basically, there are a lot of people who knock Brooks for Sword. A lot a lot. A lot. But is he worth reading, at least to kill an otherwise uneventful afternoon? You betcha. And now I'm the forum's pariah.
     
  17. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Don't worry Poppa, I totally agree with you.
     
  18. Artless

    Artless Minstrel

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    Yes I completely agree. He writes like he is trying to write a book purely to be studied in an English Literature class. It is pretentious, and really bloody annoying.
    For the same reason, I sometimes dislike LoTR as well. :)
     
  19. Artless

    Artless Minstrel

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    I'm not sure if anyone has actually brought this up, but i seem to recall EVERY trilogy set in the Shannara world has the same theme.
    The unwilling hero, who is pretty much a whiney adolescent, with friends who are braver than him, goes and saves the world, and has a huge moral something or other
    Yawn....
    I actually own the three (or is it 4?) trilogy's set in the shannara world... I wish I had've spent that money on something better....
    Like beer?
     
  20. Poppa Weelee

    Poppa Weelee Dreamer

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    You show me a fantasy novel/series that doesn't follow that basic formula, and I'll show you hateful lies!
     
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