Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time II criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.
Book : 2 The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks.
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Right off the bat I have to tell you all that I have the old TPB versions which you probably can only get on ebay anymore, so the pictures you see for the cover and inside are only available in the old TPB version.
Mass Market Paperback: 736 pages
Publisher: Del Rey (July 12, 1983)
Amazon Product Description
Living in peaceful Shady Vale, Shea Ohmsford knew little of the troubles that plagued the rest of the world. Then the giant, forbidding Allanon revaled that the supposedly dead Warlock Lord was plotting to destory the world. The sole weapon against this Power of Darkness was the Sword of Shannara, which could only be used by a true heir of Shannara--Shea being the last of the bloodline, upon whom all hope rested. Soon a Skull Bearer, dread minion of Evil, flew into the Vale, seeking to destroy Shea. To save the Vale, Shea fled, drawing the Skull Bearer after him....
Like the cover? The cover is painted by the Brothers Hildebrandt. (I love the covers of all the books but the other two are by another artist)
Inside this book, besides a great story is a fold out painting by the Hildebrandt Brothers and some sketches... here are a few before I get into the review..
(above: double page fold out)
Rarely, if ever do you see drawings such as these in an adult Fantasy book. I don't know if they made them smaller and included them in the mass paperbacks or not... I do know they didn't use Hildebrandt's cover.
Ok.. now to my old friends...
Back when this book first came out it was slammed really hard as a rip-off of Lord of the Rings. And to be honest, as I looked around at other reviews.. it still is! But bear in mind... many books have come from this original that all tie in to The Sword of Shannara and have continued success for Terry Brooks. This can mean only one thing.. eventually, his characters make their own imprint.
As much as I've enjoyed book one of this very long series, (however you can read just the trilogy and even just book one !) and as much as this is the first reread of it I have done in more than a long time, and as much as it drove me crazy searching for the original tpb to buy once again (loaned them out and somehow they never came home again) I will say that there is no denying that if you get this book to read you will not only make comparisons to LOTR but you will probably announce them to yourself out loud! I know I did! haha..
I think it was considered a "bad rip-off" for years because no one could think that anyone could be as good a writer as Tolkien. But years ago when I first read the book I knew I wanted "more Tolkien, more LOTR" and I knew I wasn't going to get either... what I got was Terry Brooks. So.. a bad rip-off? I don't know about the bad part. Good characters? Yes, definitely.. but this is the part some might have a hard time with the comparison to Tolkien with.
With all the reviews I read, I will say that this book isn't for everyone, and it probably has more bad reviews than good....and they all center around the fact that people couldn't get around comparing it. It does seem obvious. But I guess way back when I first read this book I wanted to see what he did with his characters anyway. And considering that other books that began with The Sword of Shannara are still being release today.. I'd say there was something worthwhile in it all.
It's been years since I read these books, and I didn't have so many problems with my eyes back then, add to that I guess I never realized that the next two books to this trilogy drastically change. For one thing the artist changed (another good artist so that isn't the deal breaker). The Artist for the next two books is Darrell K Sweet. An excellent artist, and I even own one of his art books! But the main change in the next two books is: THE FONT SIZE!
(Oh boy... that hurts! lol and of course it's smaller than it looks in the photo)
Elfstones is 469 pgs and Wishsong has 498 pgs, I had planned on reading the original Trilogy but after trying to read the first chapter of book 2 I decided against it.
Of course, it's not like I don't have other books in my TBR pile to read!!! I just wanted to revisit old friends. But I still have other books to reread! I am determined this to be a ReRead my Favorites year.
I will do a post about the artist from the other two books Darrell K Sweet and show you how those books look.. and what probably drew me to the series in the first place, many years ago. I may even have to purchase the newer hardback copy that contains all 3 books just to be able to reread the other two books, and just keep the original TPB for the art value! (I'd never get rid of the originals!!)