Book Review : First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks

I first read books of Shannara series when I was about 16, during my second year in highschool. English novels are an interesting books for me, now and then. But back then, I lacked the money to obtain one myself, so the best I could do was borrowing them. I remembered that I read “The Elfstones of Shannara” and “The Wishsong of Shannara” back then. Those two were good reading and able to made me immersed into them. I remembered reading them everytime I had spare times : when it was lunchtime, when it was resting time after sport class, and even when the teachers was so boring. No matter that there were some words that I couldn’t understand the meaning, I kept on reading, cause the characters, the events, and the plots that were told in those books were so captivating, it stimulated my imaginations.
And that is the exact kind of magic that I sought in this kind of fiction novels : stimulations for my imagination (as you can see in my comicblog, I am a man who has things for making comics)

And now, present day. The man I am now is a man of source of income. I have the meaning to buy books that I wish to buy. And from so many books that I wish to buy, fiction novels are among the ones I wish to have.

So, I bought one, 10 days ago. It is “First King of Shannara”, by Terry Brooks. I chose it because the word “Shannara” is already familiar, and chosing something out of familarity is something wasy to do.

Here is my take for the book : It is irresistible.

It doesn’t start slow, and it doesn’t stop rolling from the start. From the first told meeting of Bremen the Druid with Kinson Ravenslock the Tracker, to their travel to the Druids “refugee” of Paranor, to the gathering and the travel of 5 people in search for the answers on how to nullify the impeding threat brough by the returning Warlock Lord and his army of Trolls, Gnomes, and The Foul Netherworlds Creatures commanded by their Skull Bearer captains, to the wars between the hideous army with the dwarves and the elves, and till the end of the wars, this book took you on a journey that you will not be able to resist.

The story is a classic one : An impending threat is coming, and none but the exiled Druid is able to learn about it. So went he did, trying as hard as he could to seek assistances in every corners of the world on which he had travelled during his journey to learn about the much hated secrets of Magic.

A tracker that went by the name of Kinson Ravenlock is the first he sought. Loyal friend that shared the same way of nomadic living as he was, the two then travelled to Paranor, the Druid Keep, in his effort to enlightened the self-isolating druids about what the world would be facing soon. He then came out of it rejected, but he went out bringing with him 2 friends. Tay and Risca, that share the same idea and belief as he was, and the assurance that the the most powerful secrets of the druids were secured. They were later joined by another dissatisfied Druid, Mareth. Together they travelled to their first destination, a place of secrets held firm, Hadeshorn, to seek answer from the keepers of the secrets.

Imbued with 4 visions, the Druid then told his friends to separate into three, two to warn each of their races that a threat was coming. Two more came with him to sought ways to make the vision realized.

It is after this separations, Terry Brooks skill in writing shines. Each of the separated persons have their own story, personal story. And Terry told it in a way that is deep and enchanting. He told them in a way that will make the readers feel at one with the said characters, one with their feelings, with their emotions. The readers will be guided to understand each characters traits, their fights with their innerselves, their efforts to understand themselves, and their ways to resolve conflicts and gave ways for fate to unfold.

These personal stories are the main essences of this book. They are emphasized more then the magic wielded by the characters, more then the slashes of swords, the lunge of arrows, the combats, and even bigger then the mortal wars between the Warlock Lord’s army with the dwarves and the elves themselves. And yet, Terry managed to make them in tune with other aspects of the book, making the books an inseparable experience, and he told them in a flow so smooth, the readers will not realized that they have been taken deep and far into the epic.

It is an epic as expected from a writer of this level of experience and fame : the travels are long and demanding, the fights are brutal and mortally endangering, the battles are colossal and tactical, and the personal struggles are enchanting.

But the book is not without flaw : it feels rather flat sometimes, especially when describing fights and the battles. Terry chose to make the fights and battles left as is, without much emphasis on the cool parts of them. But it’s not a fatal flaw, the book is still a great book to read.

And like a great book to read, upon reaching the end, you will feel that you have been brought out of a great adventure, and wish for more.

Then he began to rebuild himself. He drew from the life of the garden to accomplish this. He drew from the creatures that had once been human but no were longer so. He found the essence of what they were, the core of what the black elfstone’s magic had made of them, and he let it blossom within himself. He became like them….

The Elves watching could see him change. They could see his tall, slightly stoope form shrink and curl. They could see his gangly arms and legs turn gnarled and bent. They could feel the foulness creep over him and into him until there was nothing else. They could smell the decay. They could taste the ruin. He was anathema to anything good, to anything human, and even Jerle Shannara, steeled as he was to face what his friends was about to do, shrank from him.

Madness buzzed within Tay Trefenweyd’s head….


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