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First King of Shannara Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 944 customer reviews
Book 9 of 12 in the Sword of Shannara Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Dark forces are on the move from the Northlands, and Bremen, an outcast Druid, learns of the huge Troll armies on the march and the Skull Bearers who act as their spies. To save the Druids, Bremen must convince the people of the Four Lands that their only hope lies in uniting -- and in using the magic they fear above all else. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

You can't find the Four Lands on any map of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth; but, given all the elves, dwarves, warlocks, trolls and gnomes that run rampant in the setting of Brooks's many Shannara novels (The Talismans of Shannara, etc.), readers can be forgiven for trying. Tolkien's influence is so strong in this prequel to The Sword of Shannara (1977), which launched the series, that many of the events here seem predictable or repetitive. Set 500 years before the events of Sword, the novel chronicles the destruction of ivory-towered Paranor and its Druid scholars, tracing the subsequent adventures of the outcast Druid-magician Bremen. With a handful of companions, he must find and hide the Black Elfstone from the Warlock Lord and forge a magic sword for Elven King Jerle Shannara to wield against the warlock. Brooks's prose generates a breakneck pace, but it lacks depth of characterization and also the wealth of linguistic invention that the most satisfying high fantasy offers. As an allegory of the eternal struggle between good and evil, the vital basis of fantasy, Brooks's mythical universe also suffers from a crucial dearth of those magical moments of heart-stopping revelation when, against all hope, against all reason, against all the forces of evil, salvation comes at last. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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More from Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks's rich epics, filled with mystery, magic, and memorable characters, define modern fantasy fiction. Visit Amazon's Terry Brooks Page.

Product Details

  • Series: Shannara
  • Mass Market Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Mass Market Edition edition (January 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345396537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345396532
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (944 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Young VINE VOICE on January 26, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
First of all, I don't understand all the harsh reviews of Terry Goodkind's SoT series. Perhaps the themes in his books have appeared in other stories, but that's true of every author. Any fantasy author who has written about magic, wizards, beautiful women, elves, dwarves, dragons, swords, quests, traveling, a great evil foe, etc. has copied that theme from someone else. Many reviewers compare these stories to Robert Jordan's. They may have similarities, but the biggest difference is that Goodkind's books are INTERESTING. If Robert Jordan came up with these themes first (which he didn't), he sure didn't know what to do with them. I'm glad that Goodkind did. It takes Jordan a whole book just to get his characters to finish breakfast.
Others have recommended Terry Brooks over Terry Goodkind while in the same breath complaining that Goodkind copied the themes in his books. Did any of you ever read the Sword of Shannara? The first 100+ pages were a rip-off of The Fellowship of the Ring.
One reviewer, who ranked this book with ONE STAR wrote, "The evil emperor simply wants to control the world, wow...that's so amazing. We have no idea why he wants to control the world or how he got in a position to do that". If this reader had actually bothered to read the words INSIDE the book, he/she would know that why Jagang wanted to rule and also why he has the power he does. If you're going to rank a book as ONE at least read it. If you can't understand it, that's your problem, not the book's.
My last tirade is concerning the repetition others have complained about. He does fill you in on things you might have forgotten from previous books, but it is not overdone in the least.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This review is specifically for the Kindle edition of this book, not about the story.

For the story, this is the kind of writing and story telling that some people like
and some do not. I happen to like it, sometimes. It is what it is, and I don't
have much to say about it from that point of view.

I am moved to write a review specifically because of the quality of the Kindle edition.

Simply put, this is a poorly edited version of this book. It's not unreadable by any means,
and it is far from the worst example I've seen, but there are typos on what seems like
every few pages, and it is distracting and annoying.

Clearly the person(s) responsible for producing the Kindle edition did not bother proofreading
the text. You simply cannot read more than a few pages of this without finding some obvious
mistake.

I have read the original paperback edition, a few years ago. I am not going to bother
comparing the printed text with the Kindle text, but I do not recall that original edition
being so poorly edited.

Also I will say that I just finished reading the Kindle editions of the first two volumes
of this series, and they were much more carefully produced editions.

I would like to urge the publisher to go back and do a better job on this.

For some Kindle books I have received updates from Amazon for corrections in editions of
a few other books. I would hope that would occur in this case as well because this
is a much more outstanding example of a book very obviously needing correction.
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Format: Hardcover
Once again, Terry Brooks masterfully weaves his
storytelling magic in The First King of Shannara, the
eighth installment in the popular Shannara series. A
prequel to the series, this book embodies the classic
fantasy world in which the battle between good and evil
predominates in the story. Brooks, master of his art,
allows these "Tolkein-esque" elements to form only the
backdrop of a solidly forged epic, powerful and moving,
allowing readers to embrace characters as only Brooks can
create and develop them.
In great detail, The First King of Shannara answers
many of the questions raised in previous books: the fall of
Paranor and the Druids, the forging of the Sword of Shannara
, the discovery of the Black Elfstone, the origin of Allanon
, and more. Hundreds of years after the First War of the
Races, the outcast Bremen, the last of the Druids, is the
only force that convince the people of the Four Lands that
their only hope to prevent subjugation lies in uniting --
and in using the magic they fear above all else.
Whether dedicated fan or first time reader, this novel
will enthrall you, capturing your full attention and binding
you to the web woven by Terry Brooks. This book in the
least deserves the highest recommendation, and connot be
done justice by any summary, however massive. Only by
personally experiencing the latest work of Brooks can one
understand the wonder and proportion of it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is no question Terry Goodkind can write a spell binding fantasy adventure. Like the first two books, Goodkind combines magic, action, and good old human frailty and self doubt into a page turning story which makes the reader desperate to find out what happened to these characters after the book ends.
That said, this book was not up to the quality of the first two installments of the Sword of Truth series. First, the action sequences were too short and not well connected to the rest of the plot. But more importantly, by having his main characters spread all through his Old and New Worlds, not knowing what each of the others were doing, lead to a disconnected plot. There were simply too many unknowns, which despite the 600+ page length, were never meshed into a coherent story.
Finally, Goodkind spent far to much of the book first setting up the penultimate battle between good and evil--actually two battles--and then spent too much time setting up what were obvious tantalizers to the next installment in the series.
On the positive side, we did learn all about Gars and Mirswiths--making them seem like thinking, sentient beings rather than just creatures of magic programmed to be good or evil.
All in all, a good read--but definitely don't start the series here. Must read one and two first, or this book will be a waste.
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