©1982 Terry Brooks; (P)2003 Books on Tape
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Carrying on two generations later from "Sword of Shannara", you taken on another fantastic journey. Though this story is filled with great action, it lacks any occasional humor to help endear the reader to the characters, leaving the story a little dry. Also the continous waves of action seem repetivite when the story hits on large scale events, but does not take away from the enjoyment. Just don't try to listen to the battle events at 1AM. I can't wait till the next book.
"Another Great Shannara Story"
I do love Terry Brooks depiction of the mythical land of Shannara. He does a wonderful job of world building in every book, so that you really don't need to read from the very first book to "get it". The ending is such a surprise, I won't spoil it with this review.
Scott Brick. What can I say about Scott Brick? I'm sure many people find his style to be terrific. And, I will say he is a very good reader, with plenty of depth to his reading and he rarely gets words wrong. I don't, for example, hear him pronouncing the medical corps as the medical "corpse" rather than "medical core". Don't laugh. I've heard that done, and as a former medical corpsman, (pronounced core-man, not "corpse-man" ) I can tell you that kind of mistake is very off-putting.
But Mr. Brick does read even mundane passages and scenes as though they're fraught with the same tension and meaning and danger as scenes that actually do deserve that kind of treatment. When you read "He turned and closed the door." with the same intensity and tremulous, heart in your throat sort of voice as "He breathed out and between the heartbeats felt the trigger give and watched the President fall dead through his scope." , well, one wonders if anything is truly filled with tension, danger or intensity. Eventually, it loses its effect. It's his default voice when he reads, thus the lower "grade". Sorry, Scott.
Over all, wonderful story, and if you can take Scott Brick's style of reading, I recommend it.
"Good book. a bit excessive on some details for me"
got way to excessive on some of his details and lost me during the long ones but I liked the book overall good story
"I couldn't take the narrator"
When I read the book I really enjoyed it, however I could not take the narrator and had to stop listening to the book. He uses the exact same cadence for every sentence, excitement at the beginning and fading almost completely by the end. It actually becomes rather droning. Even though he changes inflection, it doesn't go with what is happening in the story. It'll put you right to sleep, if it doesn't annoy you too much first.
"A good story"
Terry Brooks is often accused of plagiarising J.R.R. Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I would encourage people not to think of these books as plagiarism but as a further exploration of a world that we didn't get to see enough of before Mr.Tolkien's death. After I finished the Lord of the Rings I really wanted more. There were so many corners of Middle Earth that were left unexplored, so much more to see. I think that's what authors like Terry Brooks offer us. His world is not Middle Earth, as that's a copyrighted name, but it's clearly based off of it. None of the ideas here are unique. They are taken from better series like the Lord of the Rings and put into a post-apocalyptic world just like Stephen King's Dark Tower series but if you want more of the same, which I did, these books will deliver. I wouldn't recommend them as your first fantasy novels, I'd recommend LoTR, Dark Tower, The Song of Ice and Fire and The Wheel of Time series first, but when you're done with those and want more, as many fans do, the Shanarra books are a good read. They have all your favorite monsters and creatures revisted. There are better books out there but I feel the Shannara stories are good extensions of those tales for people who don't feel like they've had enough yet.
"Read the book"
I remember enjoying this book when I first read it, many years ago, so I was pretty excited to get the unabridged audiobook... Then I started listening. Scott Brick's voice is clear and rich, pleasant to listen to, but his narration style makes me want to stab myself in the ear with a sharp object. EVERYTHING is dramatic- extremely dramatic- whether or not anything important is happening in the story. This style might work for reading Poe or Shakespearean drama but it doesn't work here. It completely destroys the flow and pacing of the story by trying to add artificial tension. The overall effect is 23 hours of torture. My advice is to read the books and spend your Audible credits elsewhere.
"Some significant problems"
Another reviewer said these books should be looked at as weak cousins to the Tolkien books, so I took that approach from the start. It helped me handle all the unoriginal images, developments, references, although I did find it strange.
Still, there was some fun and grandeur in the story. But the constant references to "the elfin girl and the vale man" seemed cheesy. We know she is an elfin girl. Really, really, we know. A lot of the dialogue is like, "What say you, Elf Prince?" But OK, it's supposed to sound old and regal, I get it.
What killed it for me was the narration. As other people have commented, the narrator places strange, illogical emphases on words throughout the long book. So he might READ this sentence like this and eVENtually it beCOMES a Chinese WATER torture FOR the mind. The mind doesn't KNOW where to land OR why IT is landING.
I wonder if it can be re-recorded.I believe the narrator could do better. He doesn't do this thing with dialogue. Not sure WHY it was allowed to GO through like this, perHAPS it was the diRECtor, or maybe it sounded BETter in the STUdio. But it doesn't work.
"Reader is overly dramatic"
He reminds me of a pastor delivering a sermon. It actually is making it difficult to get into the story.
This is the second book of the Shannara series and it should be noted that it is the one of the first epic fantasy books written after Lord of the Rings. It started the the flood of the many fantasy offerings that we have today.
I could be biased, being a fanatical Terry Brooks Fan, but this book is probably my favourite of the Shannara series. Without giving too much away, a magical tree is dying, and the next generation of Ohmsfords' (the main family of the series) must aid the search for the magic required for the rebirth of the tree.
The thing I really like about Terry's work, he normally has more than one story thread running at the same time, but rarely more than can be followed, makes the reading of the book hard work. Sometimes simple is best.
The book is a long read. So if you get into the series, be prepared to lose many hours of your reading time on this story. But in my opinion its a rewarding escape.
"A Good Story But..."
I may recommend this story but I would have to offer some caveats.
They all blur together. I think the thing that I will remember is how insecure and whiny the characters all are.
The narration was overly dramatic. I think that some of the weaknesses of the story were exacerbated by Scott Brick's overblown reading. I think in my mind, when I read the book, I read them with a little less emotion. Maybe more sincere and less exaggerated.
I liked the story, I really did. But I got annoyed with the characters questioning and questioning everything. The main character is absolutely certain he will never be able to use the Elfstones again after ONE FAILURE. I could understand him wondering what went wrong but he is just ready to pack things in because they let him down one time. I think that Scott Brick, whom I adore reading many other books, simply was overly dramatic on this one. A more measured approach may have make the listening more enjoyable. It is almost like he highlighted all the weakness of the writing.
Easy to listen to and get lost in, good narration. What more is there? I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
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