The Sword of Shannara – Terry Brooks

Sword_of_shannara_hardcover The book of many tropes lumbered adverbially through its mire of repeating words, and languished in its easy use of one female character whose strength was in her utter obedience. As the Lord of the Rings fanfic slogged on, an adjectival thought bubbled descriptively to the surface, where its oily film reflected murky rainbows upon the backs of my eyelids, and with its final, shuddering death-throes, fizzled and threw its final cliché, weakly, at the already covered wall of my mind.

A harsh opening, to be sure, but man was this an uninteresting listen. The reader was skilled, but there was very little substance to the story. There’s some mildly intriguing world building — long after the bombs, presumably, radiation created elves, gnomes, trolls, and magic — but it falls flat in the face of a seemingly endless cavalcade of tropes and cliches.

A mysterious wizard shows up, and informs a wee lad that he must save the world from a grand evil. His trusting, somewhat imbecilic companion/brother joins him and they narrowly escape death at the hands of the nefarious dude’s scary dark lackey, then go through a forest and fight a large octopus-type monster near a cliffside, hoping to enter a mine. Then, an assembly of the good races takes place wherein it is decided that the crew will help the boy find the artifact that will allow him to defeat evil. They go to a scary place overrun with bad small guys, and the wizard falls into flame, fighting a large scary monster.

Etcetera, etcetera.

There were a few moments in Shannara where I felt genuine enjoyment, but they were too few and far between for me to want to read any more of the series. It just so happens that MTV (I believe) is picking up Shannara, and the trailer I saw made the book seem quite a bit more exciting. I noticed 5 times more female characters in the trailer than in the book, which contains literally one.

I really don’t have much to say about this book. It was a real disappointment, especially considering how much incredible reading I’ve been doing lately. They can’t all be hits though. Fortunately for you, dear reader, the next few books I’ll be reviewing were great.

Don’t bother with this one. If you want some epic “classic” fantasy, start with Eye of the World, and read the incredible 14-book Wheel of Time series over a year or so.

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