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The First King of Shannara Audio Cassette – Aug 2003


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Books on Tape; Unabridged edition (August 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0736693408
  • ISBN-13: 978-0736693400
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 15.5 x 7.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,456,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Dark forces are on the move from the Northlands, and Bremen, an outcast Druid, learns of the huge Troll armies on the march and the Skull Bearers who act as their spies. To save the Druids, Bremen must convince the people of the Four Lands that their only hope lies in uniting -- and in using the magic they fear above all else. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

You can't find the Four Lands on any map of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth; but, given all the elves, dwarves, warlocks, trolls and gnomes that run rampant in the setting of Brooks's many Shannara novels (The Talismans of Shannara, etc.), readers can be forgiven for trying. Tolkien's influence is so strong in this prequel to The Sword of Shannara (1977), which launched the series, that many of the events here seem predictable or repetitive. Set 500 years before the events of Sword, the novel chronicles the destruction of ivory-towered Paranor and its Druid scholars, tracing the subsequent adventures of the outcast Druid-magician Bremen. With a handful of companions, he must find and hide the Black Elfstone from the Warlock Lord and forge a magic sword for Elven King Jerle Shannara to wield against the warlock. Brooks's prose generates a breakneck pace, but it lacks depth of characterization and also the wealth of linguistic invention that the most satisfying high fantasy offers. As an allegory of the eternal struggle between good and evil, the vital basis of fantasy, Brooks's mythical universe also suffers from a crucial dearth of those magical moments of heart-stopping revelation when, against all hope, against all reason, against all the forces of evil, salvation comes at last. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

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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By A Customer on May 21 2004
Format: Hardcover
Let's not even mention the contrived and imitated plots that Brooks includes in ALL of his books. Let's focus on his writing talent or lack thereof. Can we say "cheesy"? In an effort to capture a fantasy-world atmosphere his prose is a failed attempt at an elevated language. Narrative that is intended to be lofty comes off as tacky. And don't even get me started on his dialogue! Preia Starle begs Jerle Shannara to marry her (which, by the way, is a synthetic situaton in itself) and says: "Make me your wife. Make me your life's partner and helpmate, your closest confidante and forever friend." I know this is supposed to be fantasy but WHO TALKS LIKE THAT? Upon reading that line of drivel, I threw the book across the room and refused to pick it up again. The blame does not lie solely on the shoulders of that hack writer. I blame Del Rey publishers for putting this nonsense in stores and I blame indiscriminate readers for giving this book a 4 1/2 star rating and making this sorry excuse for an author think he has the talent and right to keep writing this rubbish. The thought of how much money this inept guy has from his lack of writing ability makes me want to jump off a tall building.
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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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