The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

“Long books, when read, are usually overpraised, because the reader wishes to convince others and himself that he has not wasted his time.”

—E.M. Forster

I am upset about this book and you are going to hear about it now.

Here are the things I hate about it in no particular order:

  1. It’s a NYT bestseller. That’s upsetting because it’s so terrible. Not surprising, just upsetting.
  2. The ADVERBS. The adverbs. I cannot handle the adverbs.
  3. The pointless descriptions. Here’s an example:

“Hendel nodded faintly in the hushed silence that followed. Balinor immediately took command of the situation, ordering Durin and Menion to cut poles to make stretchers, while Hendel and he prepared hammocks to hold the Valemen in place. Dayel was placed on guard in case the creature should return unexpectedly. Fifteen minutes later the stretchers were completed, the unconscious men were securely fastened in place and covered with blankets to protect them from the cold of the approaching night, and the company was ready to march. Hendel took the lead, with the other four carrying the stretchers.”

Did you even read all that? Were you bored? I was bored typing it.

I am into setting the scene and I am into character development, both of which may require seemingly unneeded details and descriptions.

But what the everliving fuck is this?

I read it and wondered how the information on who cut the poles and who prepared the hammocks and who stood guard could become relevant in the next few pages. Or even in the next few chapters. 64 pages later (roughly 3 chapters) it still isn’t relevant. It’s just a boring detail, written in a boring way, an entire boring paragraph of boring description for no good reason.

This book is the Dollar General version of LOTR.

Allanon is a dumber and more ragey version of Gandalf, Balinor is Aragorn, Shea is Frodo, Flick is Sam, and then we have a couple of elves and a dwarf, fill in the blanks, blah blah blah. I haven’t even read all of LOTR (don’t shoot me) and I’m upset.

Off they go on a perilous journey to retrieve (rather than return) an important relic that holds the power to determine the entire future of the whole world in an epic and urgent battle for good and evil that’s been building for a long time but nobody really knew what was going on except for the wizards, sorry, druids, and now the fate of the free world rests on the young, untrained, incapable shoulders of Frodo, I mean, sorry, Shea, who will somehow have to become capable enough to face and overthrow the great evil that is Mordor, oops, sorry, Bromine or Bardor or whatever the actual name of the Warlock Lord is. It doesn’t matter. He’s a super bad Power of Darkness. It’s all going to hell in a hand basket. There are trolls. Wraiths. Souls of the dead. A weird flesh-eating machine monster with poison stingers. The hills have eyes. Etc.

I’m going to finish this 726-page enthralling Shannara epic and I’m going to be mad about it the entire time.

Update: I did not finish it.