Sword of Shannara review

Sword of Shannara Review | Terry Brooks

Terry Brooks is an author who kept cropping up on a number of fantasy reading lists. I thought it was time to give his work ago and dived straight in with this one. While I enjoyed it, it hasn’t aged well in the way some of the language worked, and there were parts that didn’t work for me. Still, I did like it – here’s my full review on Sword of Shannara.

Publisher: Orbit | Date: 1978 | Genre: Fantasy

Plot: Long ago, wars of ancient Evil ruined the world and forced mankind to compete with many other races – gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, and elves. In peaceful Shady Vale, half-elfin Shea Ohmsford knows little of such troubles until giant, forbidding Allanon, with strange Druidic powers, reveals a supposedly-dead Warlock Lord plots to destroy the world. 

The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness is the Sword of Shannara, only usable by a true heir of Shannara. On Shea, last of the bloodline, rests the hope of all the races. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flies into the Vale to kill Shea. To save the Vale, Shea flees, drawing the Skull Bearer after him.


Sword of Shannara Review

The Sword of Shannara has been on my TBR list for a long time. I keep stumbling across Terry Brooks, but only now have started reading his books.

From the very start, I felt I was reading Lord of the Rings. For the majority of the book, the events and the characters matched up perfectly – including forbidden tombs under a mountain and an impassable mountain path.

It made it hard to judge the book on its own merit.

It did, however, really grow on me and by the end, I didn’t want to put it down. That could perhaps be because of the long battle scenes – scenes I love reading.


The characters all grew. Valemen Flick and Shea were out of their depth from the beginning and yet proved their worth – they orchestrated two of the most important events in the book.

Menion Leah changed from a flippant young man to a prince worthy of his title. Menion was my favourite because of his development – he proved that he was a good man who cared deeply for his friends. Allannon was mysterious and Balinor was just Aragon by another name, but they were all likeable.

He could not sensibly deny this other side of his character; like the limited image of the person he had always believed himself to be, this was only a part of the real Shea Ohmsford – but it was indeed a part, however difficult he found it to accept.


This is a long book. It didn’t need to be.

There was excess description the whole way through the book. Scenery and past events could go on for a few pages before you even knew what character’s view point the chapter was from. It was distracting to say the least! You could cut 200 pages out and not change the plot. It unfortunately detached me from the book on numerous occasions and I struggled to immerse myself in the world because of the info-dump occurring.

Final Thoughts

That being said, I look back on the book and know that I enjoyed it. It has its flaws, but this is Brook’s first novel – it will be interesting to see how his writing develops. All the components of a great fantasy story are here – he can write well, it just needed a little tightening.

Have you tried Terry Brooks? What did you think?

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7 thoughts on “Sword of Shannara Review | Terry Brooks

    • I wouldn’t re-read it and found Robin Hobb a lot better… but I thought it had its own charms despite its many flaws (mainly way too much description!)


      • Err…I might end up dnfing it when I read it. Too much description is why I haven’t returned to the Lord of the Rings series.


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