I am a big Terry Brook’s fan. He isn’t the best author or even the best fantasy author around but I thoroughly enjoy his novels. Except maybe the sequels in the Magic Kingdom of Landover series.
I’ve heard several criticisms about him. Most of which is true. He borrows heavily from other sources, most notably The Lord of the Rings in his first novel The Sword of Shannara. Many of his novels have the same dilemmas over and over again, usually about the corruption of magic. Stories can seem rehashed at times.
That being said, I have enjoyed his books. They were one of the first fantasy series I read. Brook’s writing style, while not groundbreaking or exceptional, flows well with dialouge. His action descriptions are effective and complete without leaving me scratching my head wondering what just happened.
I think what I like best is that he seems to write real people. The characters come alive with different and similar personalities. Many other series that I read now, the characters all seem to blend together with no real distinctive voice or personality. Getting people similar in background and personality to feel like individuals is hard to do but I’ve never had a problem getting characters voices mixed up with Brooks.
And enough cannot be said for keeping his books short with a complete story. Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, and countless others seem to be dragging their heals with giant books containing the same people over and over with no end in sight. Terry Brooks tells entertaining stories in just three average size books. His main world has almost unlimited story telling potential because he isn’t just following approximately 20-30 years of a handful of characters but hundreds upon hundreds of years with people constantly living and dying.
I haven’t even started on his best series, the Word and Void or how he’s helped shape the world of fantasy literature, but I’ve written enough for now and I have to get back to work.