Sunday, December 8, 2013

Shannara

This was the first fantasy novel I ever read. My Uncle had left it at my Grandmother's house after coming home to visit, and I managed to convince her to let my eleven year old self borrow it. I devoured it. I loved it. It consumed me. In sixth grade I wrote a 300-page scrawled story that was so reminiscent to it, it was cringeworthy. (300 pages in the font of a sixth-grade isn't really that long), it was the book that got me into the fanstasy genre. Shea, Flick, and of course... Allanon. The Druid. The mysterious stranger, the quest giver. The opposite of Brona, the Warlock War.
It was another year or two until my grandfather gifted me a tattered copy of the Lord of the Rings. I loved it, but still thought Sword was better. Sword was mine. I didn't care that it was a rehash of EVERY SINGLE PLOT POINT of Tolkien's work. It was mine. It was fantastic.

It was everything I was looking for at eleven.
Terry Brooks made Lord of the Rings accessible, he brought Fantasy into the mainstream. Sorta. I was the weird kid at school, constantly reading, I'm sure a lot of you can relate. I picked up Elfstones, then Wishsong. Plowed through the Heritage series. And stopped.
Why did I stop?
Well, there were no books left in the series at that time.
That was the only reason.
And I had discovered other fantasy novels by that time. Ed Greenwood, and his delightful Elminster: The Making of a Mage caught my attention. God, was that good when I was thirteen.
The nostalgia for the Shannara series is still strong. Heady with it, I read First King of Shannara, years after I had wanted to. The making of Brona. Bremen, Allanon's father (only not really), the forging of the Sword. I could go on a rant here about how Brooks made the original Sword of Truth here, and call a certain author out, but I won't, because his first novel was fairly decent.) I still need to read the later books, but I'm afraid they won't have the same magic, give the same feelings of warmth I had experienced as a child. Honestly, it would be weird if they did, though I don't blame Terry Brooks for that. I'm the one that grew up, the one who's tastes changed from the Sword style to more of the Black Company, Broken Empire, and Malazan tastes I have now.
In fantasy, Malazan is the steak, Shannara is the hot dog. I like a good steak, but a hot dog sometimes hits the spot. Especially with sauerkraut and good mustard.