The Sword of Shannara is an epic fantasy tale that you will either love or hate. I’m a Lord of the Rings fan, and it seems that this novel is a tribute to it. Despite this, there are mixed feelings about the Shannara Chronicles out there. Some people love it, but others hate it. I belong to the group who finds it fascinating. It’s not exactly like LOTR, although you can see many similar things along the way. The world-building is nice, the characters are believable, and the story has some surprises by the end of the book.
But it has a downfall: there’s only a female character having something to say, and she’s a damsel in distress. Despite this, the story is worth it. So, I’ll be keeping my plan of reading all the Shannara Chronicles little by little.
Expect some dorks in the story. There’s a Druid called Allanon. He can be irritating at times. His knowledge of the magical world of Shannara is incredible. But this also means that you’ll end up as nervous as the characters who are either drunk with too much information about history or thirsty because he gives no further details.
Allanon is a dork and an antisocial guy. He has lots of connections, but he is like a closed book. Despite this, I found myself dragged to the character, in a similar way other characters in the book feel about him. So yes, he is mysterious, dangerous and annoying.
The read was quite quick. I found the language on point, without too many artifacts. I hate reading books that are too concentrated in linguistic acrobatics. But I must admit that some parts felt a little bit boring. When Terry Brooks describes the world, he can go too much into it. The same applies to the battles. I think he enjoyed himself quite too much when he was writing the book.
Storywise this book is a small surprise. However, you might end up hating it. There are no middle grounds for this book: love and hate are its mottoes.
Female characters are almost non-existent. There’s only one that we meet along the story, but she’s just a damsel in distress. Forget epic female characters like those from the show. This first novel is plenty of dudes on an awesome quest. I think things will change from the second book onwards, or so it seems according to the show connections with the Shannara Chronicles.
Overall this is a great epic fantasy story. It’s a good start for the rest of the series. I just hope that the LOTR flavor disappears and it gets its own taste afterward.
Favorite character: Allanon
Worst character: Flick
Surprises: the Sword and how it works; finding a sort-of Captain Hook helping the Valeman; the world building in the book.
What to read next: The Elfstones of Shannara
Note: this post contains affiliate links. I only promote things that I love.