What I’m Reading: The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

What it’s about:

This huge fantasy story follows the story of Shea Ohmsford and his brother, Flick, as they are thrown headlong into a race to save the world from the advance of the dreaded and evil Warlock Lord.

What I liked:

  • The characters – each character has his place in the story and adds his piece. The characters are believable, have strengths and flaws, make mistakes that have great cost, and eventually find within themselves what they need in order to push past where they believed their limits lay.
  • The storyline – there were multiple storylines running throughout the book, especially as the characters separated and went their various ways for their various purposes.
  • The length – this is a FAT book and yet it still almost didn’t feel long enough to encompass the story.
  • The ending – (which OF COURSE I won’t give away) I’ve read bits and pieces of this book to my kids while I wait for them to fall asleep at nap time and on the last day, when I had just 30 pages to go, I read it out loud, my voice trembling in certain parts, fighting to keep reading in others, cheering at still other points.

What I didn’t like:

  • One woman in the entire book – Shirl Ravenlock is literally the only woman in the entire book, though one elven woman is mentioned as the love interest of one of the main characters. I understand this book was written in the late 70s, but it’s still disappointing that it’s an entirely male cast.
  • The ending – Wait a minute?? Didn’t I say I loved it? Yes, but it was over all too quickly. The very last chapter felt hastily wrapped up and I would have liked to experience some of the debriefing that would have undoubtedly happened after the entire book. Without giving TOO much away, I was disappointed with how the Father Ohmsford line ended in the book.
  • Emotionality – The ending is really big and some things happen to certain characters and I would have liked to really slow the book down and experience the emotions there a little bit more. They felt a little hidden under all the action.

Overall thoughts and opinions:

When I first mentioned I was reading this book, someone told me the book was boring. It does start out slowly and a bit confusing, but once the action takes hold, it is SO good and I just read and read every chance I had (which admittedly isn’t many chances). I was drawn into the storyline and felt invested in the characters and the importance of their success. At times, I wanted to shout to the characters “NO, DON’T DO THAT!” or “WHY ARE YOU ALL GOING TO SLEEP NOW???” but of course they needed to for the sake of the story.

I finished this 726 page book in just a couple weeks and would have done it faster if I had just a hair more free time. It was a delightful book and I get why it’s still around and being shared 40 years later. I give this book 5 stars (even though I want to take one away for no women in the book, it still was just so good!).

5 star rating


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