I first got this book as a gift when I was 12, when I was not much into reading, and it opened my eyes to the joy of books, and fantasy in particular. I love LOTR as well, and never before has it ever crossed my mind that Shannara is a copy of those fantastic books. The two authors have completely different writing styles and the journeys that Brooks' characters fortake have an utterly different feel to them. Even as a 30-something adult with much deeper literary interests than from when I was 12, I still can't wait until Brooks comes out with a new book, so I can rush out and buy the hardback.
I first read "Sword" when I was 12 years old in the back of a car while on a fly drive holiday in the US with my parents. It was THE book that introduced me to fantasy and I still love it. A great read. I remained a fan of Brooks for a long time. I thought the original Shannara trilogy was great, the second set of four less so. The same is true for the Magic Kingdom series, the first book was great, over time I've been less and less impressed with them.
Everyone who learnt I was reading fantasy said "You must read Lord of the Rings." I have to admit, it was years later when I finally got around to picking up Tolkein and reading LOTR - but to be honest, I still preferred Brooks and the original Shannara trilogy. A fun, exciting read whereas I found Tolkein to be a bit of a slog to get through.
it was years later when I finally got around to picking up Tolkein and reading LOTR
That was the same thing that happened to me as well--Brooks was the first fantasy author I read and for quite a number of years I thought that Tolkien was the one that ripped him off and not the other way around. :) Of course, I quickly learned that I was stupid.
I think they're both fun reads, maybe the only difference is you have to be in a certain frame of mind when reading Tolkien, while you can read Brooks pretty much any time you want.
Our stories are similar.
I first read this book as a book report in high school. It was my teachers favorite book and I thought I could score some brownie points by reading it. Little did I know that this would be the book that would suck me into the fantasy genre and make me a Brooks fan for the rest of my life.
I went on to read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series after and noticed that, though they were exquisitely written, they were also heavy in content. Tolkien, with his elfish language and rich world, had created an excellent setting for his novels and an excellent series in his own right, but he had also made it more difficult to ease light readers into his novels. To this day when I think about re-reading them I think about how much time I will need to get through all three.
Brooks, on the other hand, has created an easier, dare I say "lighter", series that you can read one novel at a time, and it doesn't feel like a chore to read. Although this book shares a lot of similarities with Tolkien's, I feel that in the rest of the trilogy, and definitely later on in the series, Brooks was able to distinguish his novels from the pack.
Regardless, this book and the following two are a great read. From there you can decide if the rest of the trilogy are your cup of tea.
All genres have the same outline, fantasty usually has an unlikely protagonist, a mentor, a sidekick, an evil foe, and a seemingly impossible quest. This book was well done.
I think I read this one when I about 13 or 14 and absolutely loved it. I read this before Tolkien. When I was in Nottingham about 18 months ago, I met Terry Brooks and had him sign a copy. I've read several of his novels and enjoyed them all. Did go back and try to read this as a 36 year old and I must say that it is very obvious this was his first book.
It does read like the kind of story a writer in college would come up with after reading LOTR. It reads differently due to the vastly different age differences and education levels of the two writers. I think it was well done for someone of that age, but his later books give a much better indication of Brooks as a writer.
Great first attempt, I found that the book was very enjoyable. The only downside for me was how some parts of the book were very fast and they didn't match up with the pace of the rest of the book. I read this book before I read Tolkiens' work and sill loved it.