So I’m really glad I’ve finally been able to come around to this series and talk about it here.  I have been reading the Shannara series and anything by Terry Brooks really since I was thirteen.  Honestly, if it wasn’t for Terry Brooks and Shannara, I don’t know what I would be reading right now, because First King of Shannara was THE book that got me into fantasy.

Most of the Shannara series takes place in the Four Lands, with the four points of the lands compass divided by the major races.  Men to the south, Elves to the west, Dwarves and Gnomes to the East, Trolls and other unsavory creatures to the north, with every kind of creature real mythological stalking the corners in between.

The basis if the story is this (an bear with me it’s a long one).  In today’s world there are two forces at war: the Word and the Void, or good and evil.  Their minions, Knights and Demons, fight for the future of our world.  The Demons try to start the holocaust and end the world, the Knights try to stop them.  The majority of this battle takes place in the Word and the Void series, and starts the Shannara series.

However the majority of the series takes place after the fact.  The Knights of the Word failed.  The Demons were able to bring about the holocaust, but thankfully some quick thinking Knights were able to save a small population of humanity.  So now the Four Lands is all that remains of our world after WWIII, the lands and their races are the result of centuries of the world trying to recoup and revive itself.

Science is abhorred as anathema as it brought about what is now known as the Great War.  The races have warred several times as races will do, and now magic is the dominate force of change in the Four Lands, and the cartakers of this magic is the order known as the Druids.

We never really see the Druids at their full strength.  When Shannara was first published, the first book saw the fall of the First Druid Order through betrayal, and the subsequent books see the rise and fall of the Second, Third, and Fourth orders, none of them really with the numbers or strength of the First.

I fell in love with Shannara and the four lands.  It was only later that I realized how much of a rip it was of Lord of the Rings.  Most of the books all focus on an artifact that needs a party to carry it to be discovered/hidden/destroyed.  The party always splits, there is always at least one member who almost betrays everyone for greed/power/etc, and at least in the first two books I read the Big Bad was the spirit of a powerful magic user who refused to accept the fact that he was in essence dead.

Sound familiar anyone?

Anyways.  I know the failing of this series, but I don’t care.  When I first found it Shannara was a fresh, beautiful new world for me, and it opened up a realm of possibilities within the fantasy genre.  I don’t know where I would be without it or it’s creator Terry Brooks.

And as I said before, this series has a helluva lotta books, the whole timeline of the world broken down into trilogies and quintets.  Publication date varies as Terry Brooks has kinda bounced back and forth writing prequels here and there, so tomorrow I’ll post the reading order as per world chronology timeline.

I hope you all enjoy Shannara as much as I have.

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