Monday, February 1, 2016

The First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks ~ Review

Title: First King of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy #0)
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Length: 489 pages
Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: March 6, 1997
Source: Library
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by: Jasmyn


Horrified by the misuse of magic they had witnessed during the First War of the Races, the Druids at Paranor devoted themselves to the study of the old sciences, from the period before the collapse of civilization a thousand years before. Only the Bremen and a few trusted associates still studied the arcane arts. And for his persistence, Bremen found himself outcast, avoided by all but the few free-thinkers among the Druids.

But his removal from Paranor was not altogether a terrible thing, for Bremen learned that dark forces were on the move from the Northlands. That seemingly invincible armies of trolls were fast conquering all that lay to their south. That the scouts for the army - and its principal assassins - were Skull Bearers, disfigured and transformed Druids who had fallen prey to the seductions of the magic arts. And that 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 united, they would need a weapon, something so powerful that the evil magic of Brona, the Warlock Lord, would fail before its might...

All those events you hear Allanon talking about - well here's the first hand look into the life of Bremen, the fall of the Druids and the first battle with Brona. Seeing the events unfold all together as a single story was a lot of fun. You pick up on the various parts of the legends and the histories that you hear in bits and pieces throughout the series. As such, it can easily be read as a stand alone and you will still get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

In fact, you may get more enjoyment out of it. I found I had learned a little too much about the events and characters, and when they didn't live up to my expectations, especially Jerle Shannara, who I found to be very un-heroic and a little whiny at times.

The druid Bremen, on the other hand, was great. I loved his tenacity and his sorrow that he wasn't able to make people (like the Druids) change their mind about how they would react to events. Overall the adventure was a little predictable (but I already knew what was going to happen), and the hero was a little too underwhelming, but it was still fun.

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