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The First King of Shannara [Audio Cassette]

Terry Brooks , Scott Brick
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 2003 The Sword of Shannara
After the terrible misuse of magic during the First War of the Races, the Druids at Paranor devoted themselves to the study of the old sciences. But dark forces were on the move from the Northlands, and it was left to Bremen and those few who supported him in his work with the arcane arts to stand against the enemy's seemingly-invincible Troll army. For at the heart of the evil tide was an archmage and former Druid named Brona...Using the special skills he had acquired through his own study of Magic, Bremen was able to penetrate the huge camp of the Troll army and learn many of its secrets. And he immediately understood that if the peoples of the Four Lands were to escape eternal subjugation they would need to unite. But, even when united, they would need a weapon, something so powerful that the evil magic of Brona, the Warlock Lord, would fail before its might...
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent work of fiction... June 25 2004
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Average, Predictable.... June 13 2004
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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1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty craptacular May 21 2004
By A Customer
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing Sept. 10 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Among The Best From Brooks May 17 2003
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great audio book
Published 16 days ago by 2011cardar
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed.
I was not very happy that it was a pocket book that was recovered. That was not mentioned in the information. I wanted the hardcover because of the size of the book.
Published 15 months ago by Brenda Crossland
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Shannara
This was the first Shannara book I ever read, and it remains one of my favorite books. This novel introduces some really cool characters, like Tay and Risca, as well as one of the... Read more
Published on June 30 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows Brooks' improvement after years
I prefered the prequel than the Trilogy he wrote before. Here he manages to include the whole quest in fewer words, whereas The Sword of Shannara, at times it becomes a bit boring. Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by "scichi"
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating!
If you're a fan Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings trilogy you'll certainly love Terry Brooks' First King of Shannara and the other books in the trilogy. Read more
Published on May 7 2004 by Eric Ray Sloan
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy at it's best
I absolutely love this book. It is a fantastic prequel to the whole Shannara series and I don't just mean the Shannara trilogy. Read more
Published on April 3 2004 by Cassandra B.
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly intense fantasy novel
This is the first Shannara novel I have read in about 14 years. In that time I was surprised to see how graphic and violent the novel was. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2004 by Anthony Sunclades
4.0 out of 5 stars my look on shannara
The First King of Shannara is the prelude to The Sword of Shannara and I think it is a great book. First King of Shannara is like the Lord of the Rings in many ways. Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Terry Brooks is losing his Shannara touch
All i have to say is WOW! This book was a huge disappointment. It's been quite sometime since i've read other installments in the series, and i am trying not to let this one keep... Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2003 by Miguel A. Cruz Jr.
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