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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold! Amber Gilchrist
Magic Kingdom For Sale Sold! By Terry Brooks is an amazing book.
Magic Kingdom For Sale Sold! is about a lawyer, Ben Holiday, wanting a challenge, wanting excitement. What started this wanting was his wife dying in a car crash two months pregnant with their first child. He isolated himself from social events, drinking more, and just going from work to home every day...
Published on Oct. 27 2003

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting more
The book cover for 'Magic Kingdom' didn't look very promising to me, but I was inspired by its reviews, its comical premise, and the fact that Terry Brooks wrote it--hey, one of fantasy's best supposedly, though I never really made it through the first book of Shannara. The name itself suggests a fun, light-weight, humor filled adventure and that's what I went in...
Published on July 7 2004 by I. M. Umoh


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3.0 out of 5 stars I was expecting more, July 7 2004
The book cover for 'Magic Kingdom' didn't look very promising to me, but I was inspired by its reviews, its comical premise, and the fact that Terry Brooks wrote it--hey, one of fantasy's best supposedly, though I never really made it through the first book of Shannara. The name itself suggests a fun, light-weight, humor filled adventure and that's what I went in expecting.
I was disappointed. Almost all elements of Landover follow standard fairy-tale cliches. Granted, that is pretty much what was promised, but the book did little to make up for its lack of originality, in humor or otherwise. It's actually quite serious and dry, and too much of it is just plain boring. Sometimes I found myself taking in the words as quickly as possible without bothering to visualize the scenes or soak it in, just to get on with it. Strange since usually when a book doesn't interest me I'll hardly finish it, I guess in this case, like Ben, I was stubborn.
It starts slow enough, introducing us to Ben Holiday's normal life preceding the purchase of Landover, and doesn't really pick up that much once he moves into the Kingdom and we are introduced to his four companions: bumbling wizard Questor, the talking dog squire Abernathy, and a couple of fierce monkeyish warrior kinda guys.
One major gripe I have is that Landover feels so barren, like endless plains of uninhabited earth. For the most part it fails to give us a sense of a real, living world. "Where are all the people?" I asked myself at one point. There was no sense of things happening, until of course the fivesome journey forth to wherever they must be for the story to progress and people seem to appear. At some points you'd think they're living on the moon or something.
It's really the last 100 pages that save my impression of the book, it turns into a real page-turner with some surprising and captivating elements. The character of Strabo the dragon is awesome, very well done, my favorite in the entire book. Most of the characters throughout are quite well done I think, if not outstanding. I take that back. They serve their purpose I should say, though some of the scenes between them strike me as cringe-worthily melodramatic. Let me quickly inject a complaint that the constant quibbling of Questor and the dog wore swiftly thin. I didn't care much for Willow, she seemed thrown in just to serve the "necessary" romance portion, which I didn't care for at all. It's forgivable since it wasn't the focus of the book but it was pretty straightforward and cringe-worthy. Throwing in a fairy-tale creature more-or-less reserved for Ben just seems like the easy route, and it kinda annoyed me adding to the "substanceless fantasy" feel. For being the only other female character can't say I'm too impressed.
Now I realize this review is starting to drag on so I'll sum it up. Terry Brooks still has work to do to esteem himself in my eyes, from what I've read of him he doesn't strike me as that creative and his writing lacks that... grandeur. I will pick up book two of this series because, even though it's far from the best out there, somehow it managed to keep me reading to the end and I came to enjoy Landover and its tiny group of mismatched characters. I wish to stick around a little longer.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Weak and rushed, Dec 21 2003
By 
K. A. Smith (Santa Cruz, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I'd seen this book around, thought about getting it, and finally did. I love fantasy and thought because Brooks was a best-seller and all that, that this would be a delightful book. Boy was I wrong. Okay, it's a very neat idea, and the plot was tight, but that's about where my compliments end. There's virtually NO character development. I didn't care in the least about Holiday. I could not relate to him, or to any of the characters. I could not get into Holiday's mind. I didn't feel welcome. It felt like the story was rushed and happened way too quickly and easily. There were no guts to this story; it's superficial. It was silly--not in a good way--trite, and paper thin.
If you want to read a story about a real-world person entering a land of fantasy and having adventures there, read "The Woods Out Back" by RA Salvatore! THAT book is absolutely fabulous! It's witty, well constructed, believable, honest, meaningful, engaging--everything that "Magic Kingdom..." isn't. I heartily recommend it instead!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold! Amber Gilchrist, Oct. 27 2003
By A Customer
Magic Kingdom For Sale Sold! By Terry Brooks is an amazing book.
Magic Kingdom For Sale Sold! is about a lawyer, Ben Holiday, wanting a challenge, wanting excitement. What started this wanting was his wife dying in a car crash two months pregnant with their first child. He isolated himself from social events, drinking more, and just going from work to home every day. Than one cold day he was getting the mail and saw a magazine that his wife used to look at all the time. While looking through the Rosen's magazine that night while drinking his favorite drink found an ad selling a magical kingdom with dragons and damsels, knights and knaves. After talking with his friend Miles ( who thinks it's a fake ) about the ad decided to go to New York to meet the mysterious seller of the kingdom ( who is Meeks ). After he met with Meeks, Ben has a week to decide if he wants to waste one million dollars on a fairy tale kingdom that might not even be real. When Ben decides to go Miles and himself thinks he's going crazy. Then Meeks gives Ben special directions to get to the magic kingdom ( Landover ). As
Ben makes his way through the tunnel to Landover he gets chased by a giant black demon. When gets into Landover he stumbles onto a dragon that tosses him with one breath. Then he finds his guide ( Questor ) to the castle Sterling Silver, there he meets the rest of his subjects, Abernathy the once human now a dog squire and the kobolds. The kingdom's magic is failing from the lack of king so on Ben's journey to prove to every one else he's not like the others that tried and left he meets Willow who is half water sprite, half wood nymph, summons the Paladin and meets up with the most feared witch, Nightshade.
If you like adventure and mythical creatures I would recommend this book. This book has wonderful imagery and it just takes you away. After you read this book you should read the rest of the series, The Black Unicorn, Wizard At Large, The Tangle Box and Witch's brew.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Escaping into fun, Sept. 18 2003
By 
D. baker (Asheville, NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Terry Brooks is the undisputed master of presenting fantasy-novel concepts in a fashion that the "average Joe" can latch on to and identify with. His Shannara series has improved with every subsequent novel, and this legacy promises to continue with his upcoming series of books. However, Brooks does not deign to mimic the worlds and plotlines of "Shannara" with the "Magic Kingdom" series; rather, in my opinion he simply looks to create a fun and fascinating universe that, again, the average person can enjoy.
Lawyer Ben Holiday, while not the most dynamic character in fantasy fiction, is nonetheless interesting and his perspective is well-conceived and written. He must tackle the challenges of owning Landover, his very own newly-purchased fantasy kingdom, the reality of which is obscured from his view from page one. His comrades, the court wizard Questor Thews and the loyal scribe and half-canine Abernathy, are unwittingly comical in their sincerity and approach to matters. Holiday's adversaries, while at times cliche (a dragon and a witch), are regardless interesting in and of themselves (Strabo the dragon is positioned as a cynical yet introspective pseudo-philosophical being with sparse but powerful fascinations). And our hero's challenges range from daunting to hilarious, often spanning multiple adjectives in between and invoking a plethora of emotions from the reader.
To those looking for a serious fantasy-epic compendium, I advise you strongly to avoid "Magic Kingdom" and its sequels. One must approach "Magic Kingdom" from a completely different angle than, say, "Wheel of Time" or "Shannara." Holiday's adventures in Landover are whimsical (to us, anyways; the more so because they are not for him) and the land's creatures, stock-standard though they often are at times, each possess a unique and engaging personality that has become Brooks' hallmark (Strabo's wizened introspection in solitude, Nightshade's driving disdain and fury for weaker beings, Kallendbor's politicianesque power plays and, in the later books, Edgewood Dirk's maddening simplistic disinterest in human worries and dreams). Expecting a complete detachment from life on our blue planet is the wrong approach to take here; instead, Brooks has given us the "Layman's Guide to Escaping Reality in Five Easy Steps." Chapter One, "Magic Kingdom For Sale: SOLD!" is a perfect introduction to this concept, and I highly encourage anyone looking for a fresh idea in the light-reading realm to purchase this book and its series brethren.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great start to a fresh series, July 22 2003
By 
Steven Sammons (Auburn University, AL United States) - See all my reviews
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Terry Brooks broke into the fantasy scene with his widely popular Shannara series, but here he breaks out of the epic fantasy mold and creates a fresh new series, one that challenges us right down where we live and breathe. Ben Holiday, a successful trial lawyer is having what amounts to a mid-life crisis, exacerbated by the recent loss of his wife and unborn child in a tragic auto accident. Lost, bereft of purpose and will, he stumbles onto an add in a catalog for a magic kingdom that is for sale. And then the fun begins. He buys the kingship, travels to the land, and realizes that behind all the magic and fantasy of Landover, the problems of running a kingdom are pretty similar to normal every day challenges that face us in life. The collection of characters that Ben meets in this new world are extremely entertaining, especially the dragon Strabo, who may be one of the most unforgetable characters in all of fantasy. Humor, action, mystery, and times of deep reflection: this series has it all, and is sure to please. Every book in this series is a solid 4 stars or better in my opinion. One of the few fantasy books that made me laugh out loud at times when I read it, especially any time Strabo and the hapless wizard Questor Thews get together. I read this series again and again, and you should too!
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5.0 out of 5 stars more interesting than Sword of Shannara, March 25 2003
I thoroughly enjoyed this book(and it's successors) It had adventure, humor, and it was fun to read. It didn't have all the long boring history lessons of Prologue 1&2, and pointless subplots that so many fantasy novels do. That was told gradually as they journey along and was mixed in with the action. Most of the book dealt with the matter at hand, getting X-lawyer, X-boxer, X everything Ben Holiday his Kingship and pulling Landover from the blighted state she was in. What subplotts there were, always stuck to the story, whether Ghome Gnomes, Crag Trolls, or Greenswardians, it was all interesting. This was an excellent start to an excellent series. I like to see a ruined kindom rise up to greatness by a single man. He and his friends(would-be subjects) travel many different places and you get to see for the first time just how big and vast the world of Landover truely is. The Characters and friendships were very well done and very humorous at times, especially Questor and Abernathy's relationship.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Flat character, flat plot. No reason to read this at all., Feb. 7 2003
By 
Leah Claire (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
A friend of mine who likes Terry Brooks recommended this to me. It was utterly boring. I can't believe any one got enjoyment from this book.
The main character is flat and uninventive. We have no reason to like him at all. He's just there to show us the world.
The world which we are being shown is slightly more inventive, but somehow Brooks manages to make this just as flat as the character. I felt a few flickers of hope at first, and kept reading on principle, hoping it would get better. It never did.
The point is, this book was so uninteresting to me that I didn't even care what was going on while I was reading it. As a confirmed book worm and an avid reader of fantasy since second grade, I felt I should give this author a chance, as he seems to be popular with so many. Sadly, it just wasn't worth it. If you want some good fantasy, go read Diana Wynne Jones or Andre Norton, who know how to write characters that you care about, and plots that aren't like transparent as this one.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Magical Kingdom- A Great Read!, Jan. 30 2003
"The kingdom was in ruin. The Barons refused to recognize a king, and the peasants were without hope. A dragon was laying waste the countryside, while an evil witch plotted to destroy everything..." Printed on the backside of the paperback, this passage explains Ben Holiday's problems after paying a million dollars to enter and rule in a fairytale land; Landover. In a special magazine called Rosen's Christmas Wishbook, Ben reads of an "...island of enchantment and adventure rescued from the mists of time, home of knights and knaves, of dragons and damsels, of wizards and warlocks." With his wife dead, and no near family, Ben enters Landover and promises to fix the dilemmas which Landover and its creatures have had for the past two centuries.
Before Ben Holiday, the protagonist in the novel, accepted his job as King, there had been roughly two dozen past kings who have failed, all paying the million to a man named Meeks. Meeks, a native of Landover, planned to make fortunes by selling the Kingship to unworthy subjects. Yet he made a mistake by appointing Ben, for Holiday did not quit, and undertook the long plans of restoring the kingdom.
With description and creativity, this novel could be called a tremendous accomplishment. Terry Brooks, in his first Non-Shannara novel, uses vivid characters, to help Ben Holiday as King. His creativity in describing the "bonny blues," the main food source of Landoverians, will draw a perfect picture of the bluish tree in your mind. With leaves tasting of melon, and the branches of milk, the bonny blues contain all of Terry Brooks' imagination. One of Brooks' most striking accomplishments would be a scene where Ben fights another Lord, when Ben tries to accumulate allies to support the Throne. In this scene, Brooks' description reaches Tolkien's level of detail. With lines like, "The big man turned, grunting, and Ben hit him again, once, twice, a third time..." Brooks give you an opportunity to experience battles, not just to read about them.
The plot in A Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold!, slowly develops, but after it gets rolling, it keeps tumbling ahead. With action filled scene after scene, Ben Holiday is faced with the many perils of Landover as he tries to regain the allies of old.
Unlike his Shannara series novels, Brooks uses a more down-to-earth style of writing--not saying that his Shannara novels aren't down-to-earth--but A Magic Kingdom has fewer main characters, trapped in a smaller world, with less inhabitants. This book doesn't have the blood and gore of his other works, but has more "pleasant" battles, with no wars whatsoever.
As Ben Holiday rids Landover of the evils and allies himself with the good, he discovers the one thing that has held back the previous kings in the past. This, a theme throughout the novel, remained as the act of believing in yourself. Once Ben did this, he could master the magic hidden from Landoverian Kings for the past century. He uses this magic from the side of good, returning Landover to its former self.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Magical Kingdom- A Great Read!, Jan. 30 2003
"The kingdom was in ruin. The Barons refused to recognize a king, and the peasants were without hope. A dragon was laying waste the countryside, while an evil witch plotted to destroy everything..." Printed on the backside of the paperback, this passage explains Ben Holiday's problems after paying a million dollars to enter and rule in a fairytale land; Landover. In a special magazine called Rosen's Christmas Wishbook, Ben reads of an "...island of enchantment and adventure rescued from the mists of time, home of knights and knaves, of dragons and damsels, of wizards and warlocks." With his wife dead, and no near family, Ben enters Landover and promises to fix the dilemmas which Landover and its creatures have had for the past two centuries.
Before Ben Holiday, the protagonist in the novel, accepted his job as King, there had been roughly two dozen past kings who have failed, all paying the million to a man named Meeks. Meeks, a native of Landover, planned to make fortunes by selling the Kingship to unworthy subjects. Yet he made a mistake by appointing Ben, for Holiday did not quit, and undertook the long plans of restoring the kingdom.
With description and creativity, this novel could be called a tremendous accomplishment. Terry Brooks, in his first Non-Shannara novel, uses vivid characters, to help Ben Holiday as King. His creativity in describing the "bonny blues," the main food source of Landoverians, will draw a perfect picture of the bluish tree in your mind. With leaves tasting of melon, and the branches of milk, the bonny blues contain all of Terry Brooks' imagination. One of Brooks' most striking accomplishments would be a scene where Ben fights another Lord, when Ben tries to accumulate allies to support the Throne. In this scene, Brooks' description reaches Tolkien's level of detail. With lines like, "The big man turned, grunting, and Ben hit him again, once, twice, a third time..." Brooks give you an opportunity to experience battles, not just to read about them.
The plot in A Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold!, slowly develops, but after it gets rolling, it keeps tumbling ahead. With action filled scene after scene, Ben Holiday is faced with the many perils of Landover as he tries to regain the allies of old.
Unlike his Shannara series novels, Brooks uses a more down-to-earth style of writing--not saying that his Shannara novels aren't down-to-earth--but A Magic Kingdom has fewer main characters, trapped in a smaller world, with less inhabitants. This book doesn't have the blood and gore of his other works, but has more "pleasant" battles, with no wars whatsoever.
As Ben Holiday rids Landover of the evils and allies himself with the good, he discovers the one thing that has held back the previous kings in the past. This, a theme throughout the novel, remained as the act of believing in yourself. Once Ben did this, he could master the magic hidden from Landoverian Kings for the past century. He uses this magic from the side of good, returning Landover to its former self.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Warning, may contain spoilers!, Nov. 20 2002
By 
Bryan J. Peterson "I'm not blind drunk, I'm j... (Twin Falls, Idaho United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was first exposed to the writings of Terry Brooks in 1993, and to say that I was impressed would be something of an understatement. Magic Kingdom for Sale...Sold is the first of the five volumes in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
As to the presentation of this novel, I found it hard to believe it was an abridged version. Only relatively unimportant things were left out. Narrator Dick Hill also does a very excellent job of capturing the personalities of the characters with his many accents and voices, from Abernathy's almost Australian accent to the Scottish brogue of Lord Kalendbor. For the voices of creatures like this series' one dragon, Hill is aided by electronic devices which add an echo effect to his already excellent vocals. Now, let's talk about the story itself.
The Magic Kingdom of Landover series follows the adventures and misadventures of Ben Holiday, a trial lawyer from Chicago, Illinois. Note: I'll try not to give away key elements of the plot, but some may slip past me. You have been warned.
Magic Kingdom for Sale...Sold picks up two years after the death of Ben's wife and truest friend, Annie along with their unborn daughter. After the death of his wife and child, Ben becomes dissatisfied with his career and his life in general. When he sees an advertisement for a magical kingdom in a Christmas catalog put out anually by a highly respected department store, he takes what is possibly the greatest gamble of his life.
He is sent on his way to Landover by a mysterious old man known only as Meeks, who later prooves to be his greatest nemesis, for it is later revealed that Meeks is the former Court Wizard of Landover, who chose to foresake his duties and abandon Landover for other worlds, taking the last true heir to the throne along with him. Ben finds that Landover has not been ruled well since the death of the last true king, and this is causing the magic to drain from the land. If a king does not return soon, Landover will die. This story details Ben's quest to gain the respect of the valley's people so that the land will be made whole once more. However, to do this he must contend with three of the most feared creatures in the valley, the Dragon Strabo, the dark sorceress Nightshade and the Iron Mark, a demon lord from the netherworld of Abbadon. He must also come to grips with his deepest fear, that of failing to uphold the responsibilities of kingship. However, Ben is aided by such characters as Questor Thews, the rather inept court wizard, Abernathy the man turned dog who serves as court scribe and most importantly, a beautiful fairy girl named Willow, who seems to have an interest in Ben. Ben is also aided by the Paladin, a mysterious knight in silver armor who serves as the king's champion, and who mysteriously disappeared after the death of the last king and then mysteriously returns at the time of Ben's coming to Landover.
This is an epic tale of adventure and suffering in which the main character must come to grips with his emotions in order to overcome the obstacles that stand to thwart his quest.
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Magic Kingdom For Sale--Sold!: (#1)
Magic Kingdom For Sale--Sold!: (#1) by Terry Brooks (Hardcover - March 12 1986)
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