Shannara: what is it about?

Discussion in 'Terry Brooks' started by Brian G Turner, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. Boaz

    Boaz Thaphireth!

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    Me too.
     
  2. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    Having never read these I picked up a copy at the weekend, after readign this I'm now interested to see what I make of them :)
     
  3. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    I've just started reading this and I must admit it's like hearing a new version of an old joke, it feels familiar but you can't quite place it.. until you hear the punchline. However, I'm hoping (probably in vain) the punchline is not one I've heard before.

    In the first couple of chapters the LoTR overtones are glaring, however it is an easy read and so far I am enjoying it. I've given up on Shadowmarch for now so will persevere with Shannara.

    Oh and does the edit function on here disappear after a certain time period? I would have added this to my above post to save double posting
     
  4. dekket

    dekket Well-Known Member

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    I seem to be in the minority here, but I quite like the works of Terry Brooks. While the Sword of Shannara could very well be considered by some as a clone of the lord of the rings, it was his (Terry Brooks) first novel. And even so, it is still very different in to Tolkiens works. It is only when you really reduce both books down to the barest outline that the similarities jump out at you.
    Everyone seems so eager to find echoes of Tolkien in modern fantasy.
    And Elfstones is a much better book, and I haven't come across anyone yet who has claimed it to be a copy of anything. I am looking forward to the movie.
    I didn't like Wishsong as much as Elfstones, but I still enjoyed it. And the series has gone on from there, and the Fourlands is a very different place to Middle Earth.
    And the linking of the Four lands (Shannara) with our world (from the Word/Void trilogy) in the Genesis of Shannara series is in my opinion very well done.
    And a little piece of me is hoping that Ben Holiday and Landover will make a token appearance somewhere, just to link up the three Brooks series.
    Can just imagine Strabo snacking on a giant War Shrike.
     
  5. doc123

    doc123 Doc

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    thanks dekket, you hit the nail on the head. Elfstones hopefully will be a great movie.
     
  6. dekket

    dekket Well-Known Member

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    If done properly, Elfstones should be a brilliant movie.
    I shudder to think what it might be like if done poorly though.
     
  7. Grimward

    Grimward Where matter vanishes...

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    Brooks' creation has evolved so far beyond the Sword book that it's sometimes difficult to recognize the place! And as for comparing the more recent series (Jerle Shannara, High Druid) to Tolkien, well, they're apples and oranges. I echo the sentiment that the similarities really disappeared with Elfstones, and would argue that even in Sword the whole remnants of the pre-Great Wars civilization angle really has no parallel in Tolkien (the closest it gets is Numenor, but you can't really equate the escape and slow dwindling of the line of Elendil to the radical transformation of humans into the inhabitants of the Four Lands brought on by the Great Wars).

    Let's hope that the manic attention to detail that possessed Peter Jackson during LOTR visits Mike Newell. I for one REALLY want to see who they pick to play Amberle.
     
  8. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    Well I finished Sword and after sruggling to get into it I really enjoyed it. I'm now working my way through Elfstones and loving it so far.

    The beginning of Elfstone was a bit reminiscent of Tolkein only in that the same families and same magician/druid are used to carry on the tale years later as in the Hobbit/LoTR, but in fantasy I think you can see parallels in every book and there are very few unique ideas. I find Brooks a lot easier to read than Tolkein, more of a story and less of a history lesson. Done well I'm sure the movie of this could be fantastic, I just hope it is done well.

    And as we are talking about stealing other peoples' ideas I'm sure some one else has borrowed the Sword of Truth concept :) but of course that isn't a fantasy book
     
  9. ghost8772

    ghost8772 Well-Known Member

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    dekket, I can understand a person who really enjoyed an authors works to take offense if someone else maligns their work. however my feeling was that it was more than bare outline that there was similarity between sword of Shannara and the Lord of the rings. there were enough differences that he wasn't burned at the stake with his own books. but to my feeling the quest, and the characters were taken from either Tolkiens works or they both took the story from an earlier tale, but the level of congruency between the two is too much for there to be no tie. however once he was published and went to elfstones and beyond, his stories were indelibly his own.
     
  10. dekket

    dekket Well-Known Member

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    Ghost, no offense was taken.
    Like yourself, I was simply stating my opinion. And it would be ridiculous to say that there was no link between the two. I believe that Tolkien would have been a very strong influence, and Tolkien-esque stories are what the publishers were looking to sell back in the late 70's, when Sword was published.
    However I don't believe the 'level of congruency' was enough to claim Brooks 'ripped off' Tolkien, as I have heard many people say.
    But I am glad that everyone agrees that Elfstones onwards are his own work.
     
  11. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    I'm currently working my way through Wishong, and I don't know if it is because I have read all three in a row, but I am feeling very familiar with the plot of Wishsong. It's as if he sticks rigidly to a forumula when writing.

    Allanon turns up at the Ohmsford's being all guarded and secretive. He then procedes to tell the protaganist that they are the only one who can save the world from the greatest evil. Then they go off on a quest of insurmountable odds where every misfortune turns out to be good in the end, the supporting characters are killed off but the main questors battle on through and at the end they prevail (usually with the help of a dubious character who turns out to be a staunch friend by the end even if he started off as a robber or a captor who they met at their lowest point and who miraculously decided to rescue them and then to tag along from that point on) but there is a slight twist in to how they win through and go back to Shady Vale for a few decades of peace before the doomridden druid turns up again to bother the next generation.

    Having said that they are an easy and enjoyable read and I like reading about the world they live in and the races that inhabit it. I also find myself liking the lead characters, thought I will proabbaly give old Terry a break after wishong and read something a little more meaty.
     
  12. ghost8772

    ghost8772 Well-Known Member

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    Tansy, actually after Wishsong, he goes down a darker path. scions, druid, elfqueen and talismans are dark, but a bit more complicated than the easy reads earlier.
     
  13. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    You've hit the nail on the head. He does write to a formula but a very succesful one for him. Whilst I think the writing improves in latter books they all have a pretty rigid logical structure.
     
  14. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    I think I've outgrown the traditional fantasy forumla tbh, I like to be surprised by an ending not see it coming from page 1.

    Not sure I will continue reading this series, I shall see how I feel after a break
     
  15. Grimward

    Grimward Where matter vanishes...

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    Hmmm, Elf Queen, etc. may not satisfy that requirement, but the High Druid, Jerle Shannara and especially the Armageddon's Children series (still need to grab the 2nd book on that last one, but REALLY liked the first) should fit the bill, Tansy. Here's hoping you enjoy the break with some other good SFF! ;)
     
  16. Tansy

    Tansy Northern Monkey

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    I'm sure I will return to Brooks in the future, just wish I'd discovered him in my early teens :)

    I've got Sahdowmarch to finish and some R Scott Bakker and Joe Abercrombie waiting to be read. The other half keeps leaving Asminov books at my place, I think he's trying to get me into Sf :)
     
  17. the smiling weirwood

    the smiling weirwood Axes and Saws Prohibited

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    I read Shannara after being exposed to GRRM and Neil Gaiman and the prose and characterization just fell flat for me. It seemed really heavily cliched, kind of like Eragon. Perhaps it was just my impression from the first book, I didn't read them all.
     
  18. Clansman

    Clansman Lochaber Axeman, QC

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    The Sword of Shannara is a bit cliched. It was written in 1977. Brooks gets much better than that, but I would not call him transcendent.
     
  19. Urien

    Urien Well-Known Member

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    I have only read The Sword of Shannara. It struck me as LoTR lite (and dangerously close to a straight rip off). I never went back. However, having read this thread it seems they get a lot better, if so what would you recommend to give it another go?

    Thanks

    AVS
     
  20. ghost8772

    ghost8772 Well-Known Member

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    well, Elfstones of Shannara was the sequel, and there were better story elements, though still some clicheness. of course nearly all sequels seem to have SOME level of cliche writing.
     
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