Scathing Book Reviews of The Sword of Shannara, by Terry Brooks

The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks is an interesting book to read, particularly if you read it before reading or seeing The Lord of the Rings. OK, I admit it, I read it when I was 12, and its a great book for 12 year olds of any age. It was a NY Times Bestseller – and said so right on the cover! Then I read Tolkien. The similarities are, shall we say, striking.

Even so, the book is OK, even though it generated the all-too-common franchise of books in its wake. These Scathing Book Reviews of The Sword of Shanarra would like to put the “Sword” where the Sun doesn’t shine:
Hello… Mr. Brooks? John Tolkien here. Look, I’m really rather tired of spinning in my grave and would greatly appreciate it if you would donate the profits from this little stunt of yours to charity, preferably a literacy programme of some sort.


The writing style that Brooks uses is something you’d expect from a high school student who just didnt know when to quit.


SoS makes me think of a garage band playing a song you love very badly.


Epic fantasy is a much maligned genre. There are truly great authors out there writing GOOD epic fantasy… That is one of the reasons why you should read them and not waste your time with this.

…and, there’s this, from this reviewer. I think he doesn’t like the book:

One looks at a copy of “The Sword of Shannara” with a bit of cruelty in one’s eye. Not cruelty aimed at the hundreds of millions of poor, innocent, beautiful trees that were minding their own business when one day they were savagely and abruptly cut down to be made into the paper on which “The Sword of Shannara” was printed. Not even cruelty aimed at the hapless Terry Brooks who could not write great epic literature to save his doomed, heathen soul. Not cruelty aimed at the millions of geeky junior high lads who read this book and thought it was great literature. But cruelty and scorn aimed at the publishing industry that found a way to make big money out cheap versions of the people’s poetry.

One Response

  1. […] the first time back about 1982, and my first thought was “Wow, this is amazingly similar to The Sword of Shannara!”. After I got a bit older I realized it was actually vice-versa. I’ve probably read it […]

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