Many years ago, the world was ripped asunder by the Great Wars. Those who survived were changed, left to build new societies from the rubble. Then came the Wars of the Races in which people of the Four Lands fought each other for dominance.
Now, living a quiet and peaceful life in the Vale, Shea Ohmsford enjoys the solidarity and the simplicity of his life. When a mysterious giant of a man arrives at Shea’s father’s inn one night, Shea learns that the Warlock Lord, an evil tyrant believed to have been dead for hundreds of years, has returned and Shea’s half-human, half-elfin heritage has put his life in danger. Shea is the last living descendant of Jerle Shannara and now the Warlock Lord wants him dead. There is one weapon with the power to defeat the Warlock Lord, the Sword of Shannara, and Shea is the last man alive who can wield it against the Warlock Lord.
Now Shea and a group of friends must set off on a quest to retrieve the Sword of Shannara before the Warlock Lord discovers Shea’s identity, and before his army attacks the Southland in his attempt to conquer the Four Lands. Can they find the Sword of Shannara and avoid the Skull Bearers long enough to prevent the enslavement of all of the citizens of the Four Lands?
Many people have been made aware of this series since the launch of the television series. I managed to see the pilot episode but that was about it.
I enjoyed this novel, though it was not what I was expecting. The writing is well constructed with appropriate, though not difficult, vocabulary. The settings are detailed and easy to visualize and the characters are dynamic.
Shea Ohmsford is your typical “unexpected” hero. While his mixed race heritage makes him stand out from the other characters, his personality marks him as the unremarkable character who grows into the hero throughout his journey. Though the changes to his personality and growth of character occur out of necessity, he remains a normal person whom the readers are able to connect to.
As for the plotline, I found that this novel reminded me in many ways of “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien. A band of characters including a wise and mysterious leader with magical talents, two young warriors, two elves and a dwarf accompany Shea and his brother Flick across the Four Lands to stop the evil Warlock Lord from destroying the world as they know it. Along the way they encounter gnomes, trolls, and Skull Bearers who are working for the Warlock Lord. Shea is the only one who can stop him.
All in all, I did enjoy this novel, though the extreme closeness to “The Lord of the Rings” was highly unexpected. I would recommend this novel to fans of “The Lord of the Rings” series.
I received my copy of this book from my uncle who originally recommended the series to me. I do plan to read the rest of the trilogy. I have requested permission to use an image of the cover artwork from the publishers at Orbit and am still awaiting a reply.
Adult, Young Adult, and Teen Reviews.
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