Way back in the swirling mists of time (well, sometime back in the late 70s/early 80s) I discovered The Lord of the Rings and started my lifelong (from that point) love of Fantasy Fiction. One of the early series I started on around that time was Shannara and my love/hate relationship with these books is one thing I have never quite got my head round.
Back to the very beginning...
A young Ebookwyrm browsing the fantasy section at WH Smith spots the cover of Sword of Shannara, complete with elf, dwarf and village boy, and is hooked. This sounds very much like Lord of Rings - and therein lies the problem. It wasn't 'like' LotR it was an absolute rip off of it. I could not bring myself to finish it, and all these years later still haven't. But the very beginning, the first few chapters where Allanon the Druid turns up in Shady Vale looking for a Shannara descendant was wonderful, the rest of it though... awful.
Then, a couple of years later, same young chap, a tad older, same book dept, spots Elfstones of Shannara. Should have known better but, again, the cover hooked me. And, unlike Sword, Elfstones was wonderful, and is still one of my favourite books of all time.
That was followed by Wishsong of Shannara, another better of a book and the end of my journeying in that land.
Yeah, right... almost 40 years later there have been 28 novels in this world. Most I have looked at, some I've loved (Scions of Shannara series especially) while others have been poor, in my opinion.
The thing is though, despite my indifference, this is the one series where I feel most attached to the history and the land. I don't need to keep referring back to the map because I know where everywhere is. Through these books I feel I have walked the paths of this land. And for that I can only tip my hat to author Terry Brooks and say "Well done Sir".
And now Brooks brings us to the Endgame, the final days of Shannara with his four book series The Fall of Shannara, starting with book 1 The Black Elfstone. After this it is all over (there may be still tales to tell from 'history' but this series marks what I guess is the final resolution of Brooks vision.
And this makes me a little sad I guess but I will stick with this series as I have to know how things turn out. Thankfully, after starting it yesterday, it promises to be one of the better ones.