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First King of Shannara (The Sword of Shannara) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Hardcover, 1996
CDN$ 799.29 CDN$ 0.77 Books Gift Guide

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: LEGEND (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099601915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099601913
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 3.6 x 15.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 721 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,370,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.3 out of 5 stars

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. D Purvis on June 25 2004
Format: Hardcover
First of all, let me just state that I am so incredibly sick and tired of EVERYONE comparing Tolkien to Brooks. Yes, the writings are similar. Brooks has even stated in the past that Tolkien was an inspiration. But, the two are different. There are those that like Tolkien and those that don't. I personally do not. I find his fiction to be boring, drawn out, and highly unpalatable. I'm sorry if this offends some of the Tolkien aficionados out there, but guess what, some people in this world do not share your apparent narrow minded view...HEAVEN FORBID!!!! I had to fight through Fellowship 6 times to eventually finish it.
Now, onto The First King. As a prelude, this book was not all that bad. It continued rather well in the same vein as the rest of Brooks' Shannara series. He did an excellent job with staying within the pre-determined guidelines of what he had already hinted at in his other books. Personally, I thought Bremen's end was a little anti-climactic, but that was the author's personal choice. All in all, not too bad of a novel. I the way that he continues to tell a marvelous tale of fantasy and wonder. If you are a fan of the Shannara series, you will like this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I listened to the audio version of Firstling of Shannara, and while I enjoyed the narration, I found the story a little boring and predictable. For some reason the plot just failed to grab me. In the story there are elves. There is a dwarf. There is a druid muttering some mystic mumbo-jumbo. They are out to find/forge the sword of Shannara, and everyone is reluctant. Reluctant to become involved, reluctant to believe, reluctant to wield the sword properly. Reluctant to fall in love.
Relationships are passionless and handled poorly. The three major romantic relationships featured in this book are quite dysfunctional. Tay loves Preia, Preiea loves the king Jerle, the King loves Tay's sister who is married, Merrith loves the ranger who is supposed to be 40+ years old? Ech. The only person I actually really liked was Bremen. I felt sorry for him and the pain/sacrifice he bore at times. But the rest of the characters had as much personality as department store mannequins.
Look. If a story is going to have romance in it. Make it ROMANTIC. The romances were hasty and very contrived.
Not quite up to par with the rest of the books. And what's with all the female character's being called 'girl'? The author refers to Preia as 'the elf girl' and Merrith as the 'druid girl' but the male characters are all called 'men' come on now. These characters are WOMEN. Lets call them such, shall we?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I remember from earlier years of my life when Sword of Shannara, and the others of the well known series, were held in high regard and still are. However, if Terry Brooks keeps adding on to his fantasy universe with episodes like First King, the Shannara world will soon be tainted. I am almost discouraged to read the older ones again because First King of Shannara was so badly written and predictable. It ruined almost everything for me. The characters were all mirror images of eachother with different occupations. Race, in this installment at least, made no difference to personality. All Brooks's characters seem to be one size fits all. The magic was over used. If i hear the phrase "druid fire" one more time in my life i will personally burn the book. Such all powerful druids should have a much wider variety of magic then intuition and the all powerful "druid fire." Please, not all of us are fantasy freaks and will take whatever is fed too us. We need orignality, we need surprise. We need to feel like the world is really in peril. The bad guys in this novel were like a really stupid ogre who was saying "uhhhh what do i do next" the whole extent of the tale. I say, stay with the first few Brooks novels and stay away from First King. A waste of time.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've previously read the three books in the original Shannara series and the four books in the Heritage of Shannara series. I enjoyed them all very much, although I though some were better than others. THE FIRST KING OF SHANNARA is a prequel to the others, with the action taking place several hundred years before the events taken up in THE SWORD OF SHANNARA. The drawback here, for me, was that it's been many years since I read those books, particularly the first series. Hence, this latest tale gives background to things in the later series that I hardly remember.
That issue aside, I've always had a couple of other small problems with Brooks' writing. It's always seemed to me that either the world of The Four Lands is lilliputian, or the characters in these books walk at extraordinary speed. Brooks frequently has characters traverse passes through mountains in a day. Early in this book, Bremen and his companions go from Paranor south through mountains to the Mermidon in a day, then go from there (the western end of the Dragon's Teeth) to near the Valley of Shale (at the eastern end of the Dragon's Teeth), a distance that would have to be 100 miles or more based on maps from the books, the following day. Admittedly, these are imaginary places, but, as someone who has done a little backpacking, the sheer unreasonableness of traveling such distances on foot in the timeframe given in the stories always bothers me. Try walking through a range of mountains in a day or two. Further, these characters seem inexhaustable. They get tired and haggard, but they hike for days at a time, often continuing far into the night, with little food and little sleep. Superman couldn't do it.
These are, however, small problems.
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