Wednesday 11 July 2012

Paladins of Shannara by Terry Brooks (a review) and going back to The Four Lands

First off, my review of Paladin's of Shannara: Allanon's Quest -

How did Terry Brooks manage to fit this much story into so few pages?
This book covers the story of Allanon the Druid's quest to find someone of the Shannara bloodline and is set in the time just before and leading up to Mr. Brook's first novel Sword of Shannara.
In and of itself the story is well told and an enjoyable short read but as a prelude to the original story it is oh so much more.
Worth every penny.

Which got me remembering where all the magic of fantasy fiction started for me. As a youngster, way back in the distant past of the early eighties I remember going to the library and seeing the cover of Sword of Shannara (a boy, a man and a dwarf with a cauldron in the foreground if I remember rightly) and being totally enthralled. I just had to know the story behind it.
I also remember the disappointment of not being able to finish it (it was pretty terrible if i recall correctly). Still to this day I have not managed to get to the end of it.

For some reason as soon as the next book in the series (Elfstones of Shannara) came to my attention I whipped it up and to this day it remains one of my favourite fantasy books of all time. It was probably because Mr Brooks had stopped retelling Lord of the Rings and was now doing his own stuff. The characters in this book and the place names all seemed to have a proper sense of the magical and the storytelling was all I wanted and more.
This was followed by another favourite (Wishsong <I'll drop the "of Shannara" now - I'm sure you get the drift>) - another trip into another part of The Four Lands and more wonderfulness.

After a while Mr. Brooks started a new series with the title Heritage of Shannara comprising of 4 books - Scions of , Druid of and Elf Queen of - which I loved, and Talismans of, which I never finished.

More series followed but much as I loved the lands and peoples of these books I've struggled to get into the books. Now though, having read the 40 page short story that serves, more or less, as an extra 1st chapter to Sword  of Shannara I feel the urge to return to The Four Lands again, to visit the Silver River, to stand in the shadow of  the Druid's Keep at Paranor, to be once again entranced by the people and places with the odd names. After 30 years, maybe it's time to finish Sword and move on through the series, time to put on the old travelling gear and head on down to Shady Vale..........
I may be a while ;D

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