Reviewed by: Dave Gibbons, Library Patron and Volunteer
Genre: Fantasy, Audiobook
Suggested Age: Adults, teens
What is the book about?: Shea Ohmsford has journeyed across the Four Lands to embrace his destiny. With only three elfstones for protection he is joined by the mysterious Druid Allanon and his brother Flick in a quest find the lost Sword of Shannara and slay the villainous warlock lord. Stopping first in the Kingdom of Culhaven, the party is joined by Prince Balinor, two elven brothers, and a crusty dwarf. Along the way the party is separated, they take on the minions of the warlock lord, rescue the elven king and spur an elaborate siege in which not all characters survive. The Sword of Shannara is ultimately located in an understated but by no means anticlimactic fashion assisted by Panamon Creel and his troll companion Kelset (who serve as a sort of Han solo and Chewbacca for the book) and the warlock lord defeated. While this may seem like the end of the story it ultimately raises far more questions than are answered.
My Review: This is the first part of a trilogy that sets the stage for a series that will ultimately make up over twenty novels. The many parallels between this story and Tolkien’s Lord of the rings are undeniable, but it would do a great disservice to dismiss it as a “knock off” as a far more elaborate world is hinted at in this book and explored in future volumes.
Typically I am a huge fan of annotated editions of books. I find the added info enriches the story. The Shannara saga has recently been optioned by MTV, inspiring me to revisit the story, and I choose the annotated edition. How quickly I would realize my mistake. Author Terry Brooks’s ongoing commentary is akin to an obnoxious person interrupting a movie repeatedly to ask “who is that?”. I have listened to many books that, in print, use footnotes as a storytelling device translated masterfully to audio but the jarring nature of these tear you out of the story and interrupt Scott Brick’s exceptional narration and typically offer little to the story or Brooks’s writing style as a majority of his insights are merely “…and my answer is ‘what do you think?”. While I would whole heartedly recommend this book I would steer clear of the annotated edition.
About FDL Reads
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!