Monday, December 17, 2012

The Annotated Sword of Shannara-Terry Brooks

Title: The Annotated Sword of Shannara
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Publication: Del Ray, 2012/1977
Source: Own
“Then, just as Flick prepared to ease his tired limbs by sitting, the sky was suddenly blotted out by something huge and black that floated overhead and then passed from sight. A moment later it passed again, circling slowly without seeming to move, its shadow hanging ominously above the two hidden travelers as if preparing to fall upon them. A sudden feeling of terror raced through Flick’s mind, trapping it in an iron web as it strained to flee the fearful madness penetrating inward. Something seemed to be reading downward into his chest, slowly squeezing the air from his lings, and he found himself gasping for breath."

I was first introduced to the world of Shannara as a child. My mom and I were going on a road trip. On these trips we frequently listened to audio books and for this trip we picked the Elfstones of Shannara. I was smitten. I loved the world and the way the story flowed. It was exciting and mysterious and wonderful. After listening to it a few more times I knew that I had to hunt down the books. Luckily for me, my aunt had some that I could borrow. It was a great world with even greater characters and I devoured the books.

Now, reading The Annotated Sword of Shannara, all those feelings are present again. The magic and the wonder of discovering a new place and meeting new characters with lives very different than my own is such a gift. A gift that Terry Brooks weaves well throughout the book. Not only are the characters extremely well developed with varying personalities, but they are realistic to their world.

The conflict is intriguing in its complexity, with not all the facts laid out in the beginning or even the middle of the story, but rather everything becomes clear at the very end. This kept me right on the edge of my seat, turning pages until my eyes could barely stay open. The world is beautifully developed and all inclusive in its design. Not one detail has been overlooked that may throw the reader off.

The annotations gave an insight into the mind of Terry Brooks, as well a clearer picture of what he went through during the writing and editing process of The Sword of Shannara. Not only is this extremely interesting to me as a reader, but also as a writer. It shows the other half of the writing process, not just the acting of writing, but the act of editing to get things just right for publication. There are some great words of wisdom in those annotations, as well as explanations to the story that made me stop and think about the story more deeply. His comments heightened the whole reading experience for me.

If you have not read The Sword of Shannara, or do not own a copy, I highly recommend getting The Annotated Sword of Shannara. I promise it will not disappoint.


  1. I always think it's neat to read the Annotations. It really gives you an inside feel. I've read one book in this world, and should get back to it one day as I have more here to read. :) Thank you!!

    1. This is the first book with annotations that I have read. At least, as far as I can remember. I may have read one in college for class or something, but obviously it didn't leave an impression. I think the world building in the series is fantastic and Terry Brooks constantly improves and adds more in subsequent stories.