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The Sword of Shannara Mass Market Paperback – July 12, 1983
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From the Inside Flap
Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....
From the Back Cover
Long ago, the wars of the ancient Evil ruined the world. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles. But the supposedly dead Warlock.
Lord is plotting to destroy everything in his wake.
The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, which can be used only by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races.
Thus begins the enthralling Shannara epic, a spellbinding tale of adventure, magic, and myth...
Top customer reviews
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I ended up really liking the TV show so I thought I should start reading the series somewhere near the beginning...I realize there are other books perhaps earlier in the timeline but this one was far enough back for me.
I had read some of the critiques of this book and how Mr Brooks likely patterned it after The Lord of the Rings and anyone will tell you that from a character perspective, this is true but for me, that is where the similarity ends. The Shannara world is very different from Middle Earth. Allison is no Gandalf. The Shannara world is one that contained the world of men and was devastated by war and men are waning in power. Middle Earth was turning into the opposite at the end of the trilogy.
I really liked this Shannara world. In many ways, it is more real than Middle Earth. I intend to read a few more of the books in this series to see if this world keeps me interested. I highly recommend this book. A good read.
Judged on its own merits it is a good epic fantasy novel. The characters are a lot of fun and so is the world they inhabit. The beginning of Sword has a lot of mystery to it. I love how the valemen are as blind as the reader about who to trust, and what to do. Really when you get down to it this novel is just a heck of a lot of fun. It isn't very dark. The whole novel just moves things along quickly. For the most part it works well.
I have two complaints about the novel. First is that it is written in omniscient perspective. This means that the narrator is not one of the characters. So in any scene you can know what any one of the characters is thinking. I rarely like this type of writting style. It seems that the vast majority of fantasy is written in a style called 3rd person limited. It gives each chapter a flavor for whoever the chapters viewpoint is written from. You can crack this one up to personal taste. If this kind of thing doesn't bug you then it won't be an issue. The only other compliant that I would have is that the last act suffered a little to much from a battle without involving the character as much. It felt like a blow by blow account of a war instead of being on the front lines with the characters.
One nice thing is that the story wrap ups were very good. I liked what happens with the valemen at the end. Another thing that I think should be pointed out about this novel. This book got publishers excited about fantay again. A lot of books that I enjoy might not have ever taken place if Brooks hadn't sold so many copies of this first volume.
I enjoyed my stay in Shannara. I will be visiting again soon.