Terry Brooks fans, newest book discussion here:

I know Terry Brooks doesn’t seem to get a lot of love here, but I picked up his second book (by mistake) in my HS library as a kid and couldn’t put it down. 700 pages in one day, and boy was my vision blurry after that.

Now, after the first trilogy (which was all self-contained stories with a definitive beginning and end for each set of characters), he switched to longer, to-be-continued type series, typically with several cliffhangers at the end of each novel. But, they were still decent reads (though I think things started to go downhill somewhere after Druid of Shannarra) and I’ve picked them up (not with any sense of urgency) just to find out how his world is maturing.

I also read his Word/Void series (wierdly enough also starting with the second novel by mistake), and it followed the same general pattern as the early Shannarra books, that is, each story was self contained but had references to earlier works.

For my birthday, my wife got me a copy of Armageddon’s Children, set in the Word/Void universe, though many years into the future. I was happily enjoying the read, but getting curious as to how he was going to wrap up all the plotlines in one book, when about halfway in, there’s a reference to (and this is a serious spoiler):

The Ellcrys, the legendary tree which holds the wall of forbidding against demonkind, which plays a substantial part in the Shannarra series.

So needless to say I was taken aback, and was not surprised when the book ended with several cliffhangers.

Any other fans been keeping up with his work? I was surprised to find out, when looking for stuff about this series, that he completed a whole new series in the Shannarra universe after the Jerle Shannarra saga had completed. I have that checked out of the library right now.

Ok, so there’s really no love lost on this guy, huh?

Well, I enjoyed it anyway.

Are you referring to Elfstones of Shannara? Back in high school, I read the original 3 Shannara books, and I seem to recall liking Elfstones quite a lot. Haven’t gotten around to reading any of the later series yet.

I only ever read up to the Heritage of Shanara. I understand that there are two more trilogies (one set after Heritage, and one set in the past) as well as a standalone book about the first Druid, no? I never read the Word/Void books, but I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to note that

the universes all seem to be connected and lead into each other: that’s made pretty clear publically in the PR for the books that I can remember

Yes, that’s the one. Of the 3 original books, it is the one which is the most engaging (to ma, anyhow). The Sword of Shannarra was a little slower, and Wishsong of Shannarra was just a notch below Elfstones. Reading through it, I think only perhaps Druid of Shannarra was better than Elfsontes, and even that would be a close matchup. I think his imagery got a little better, but the story in Elfstones kept me on my toes for the whole book.

I seem to have missed that PR, though I don’t get much into book publicity anyhow, I just noticed the book on the shelf and decided to read it. The heritage of Shannara is basically the first three books condensed into one. I don’t recall any series set before Heritage, but there was a standalone, First King of Shannara that was published and gave a little backstory. I found it interesting.

Heh, I just read some of the Amazon reviews for Heritage of Shannara…I can’t beleive someone would compare Terry Brooks to Robert Jordan unfavorably. I mean, Jordan writes decent enough stuff, but I think Terry outclasses him in the ability to actually advance the damn plot.

Oops, I seem to have misread the description of the Heritage book. It is the second series out of 4:
Original 3 (Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong)
Heritage (Scions, Druid, Elf Queen, …?)
Voyage of Jerle
High Druid

I just finished the Sword of Shannara and I can’t bring myself to read any further. Brooks’ writing style grates me. I really enjoyed Robert Jordan’s series and a friend suggested Shannara, seeing as the WoT series will never be finished.

Brooks never really drew me in to the world. I am very visual and without a Tolkien-like style of describing the setting, I can’t really be there. Reading it felt too much like descriptions a DM would use at a session. The only details given were the ones immediately necessary.

I also thought many of the ‘encounters’ were anti-climactic. The Tirsis(?) is attacked, the battle rages everywhere and then:

The next day the walked through the city taking stock of the damage.

Brooks doesn’t compare to Jordan in this regard. Book 6 of WoT builds up until

Rand is kidnapped

and then

The book ejaculates at the climax with Rand exploding out of his confines.

There was nothing in the SoS to indicate to me that any event of this magnitude would come to pass or that Brooks would do justice to it.
One last criticism, what the hell is with the comments like “if he only knew what lay ahead, he wouldn’t feel that way now”? I expect comments like this to be in sixth grade reading class. It’s like Brooks feels that the readers would be too stupid to understand that there could be more to come. I think that these comments greatly contribute to sabotaging any climactic event Brooks attempts to create.

To be fair, Sword was his first book. I found Elfstones much more enjoyable. I’ll give you some credit wioth the annoying comments, it is less like forshadowing and more like hitting you over the head with a blunt instrument.

While Jordan might have done a decent job in Book Six, by book 8 he’s advancing through maybe a week’s worth of plot per book. Inexcusable in my opinion.

And you’re right baout magnitude. For real magnitude you need to read Elfstones.

That’s kind of funny: The description you give here of Brooks’ prose makes me want to read him. I hate descriptive passages. I usually skip them. This occasionally causes me to miss important plot points. :slight_smile: But I’m like, “Yeah, yeah, I get it, there were mountains. I can picture them for myself thank you.” And I skip ahead to actual plot.

Anyway, I always wondered why alot of authors describe scenes in so much detail. I guess now I understand. Not everybody reads impatiently like me. :slight_smile:


So you’re suggesting I try EoS?

It might be worth it. If I like it, then a whole series opens before me.
When I read, Frylock, I can nearly see and smell everything. To describe a minimal scene makes it feel like a DnD campaign.

Well, I’d put Jordan above Brooks simply because Brooks had written one book. A dozen times. I read the Original Trilogy and the four book long Heritage set. And they’re all basically the same book. And they copy Tolkein pretty clearly as well.