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Topic: Sword of shannara VS sword of truth

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Subject: Sword of shannara VS sword of truth
Date Posted: 2/10/2014 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2014
Posts: 72
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at some point id like to try one of these series. now as i am depressingly poor and both of these series are incredibly long, ill only be able to do one at the moment. which would you guys suggest? i havnt read alot of fantasy aside from Tolkien and the first two song of ice and fire books.


Date Posted: 2/12/2014 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
Posts: 826
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I wasn't a fan of either series, actually.  They're both extremely derivative.  

The Shannara books are too similar to Tolkien and the Sword of Truth series seemed too similar to the Wheel of Time series.

Though I did make it through 5 or 6 Sword of Truth books and only half a Shannara book, but the Sword of Truth books were read back at a time when the library closest to me just didn't have much in the way of fantasy so I had to take what I could get.  The Shannara books were attempted a few years later when I had the spare cash to buy a more worthwhile book.

So my advice is save your limited cash for some of the books from your wishlist that are worth reading and borrow these two series from a library.


Let me completely bypass your question and recommend something different.  You have some great books on your wishlist as it is.  

Another epic/high fantasy book I'd recommend would be Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion  (This can be read as a stand alone)

I do see you have some Horatio Hornblower books on there, and a somewhat similar fantasy take on that would be Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, starting with His Majesty's Dragon.

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Okay, this is a very old question, but I wouldn't read the Sword of Truth if you paid me. They were really poorly written, in my opinion. The characters were, at best, implausible, and I knew how things would work out long before they reached the conclusion. Not generally, I mean I knew specifically how the book was going to end. Actually, I'm overstating things by saying "they" because I couldn't finish the first one. It was that bad.

Sword of Shannara started very derivative, certainly, though Brooks did make the series more his own over time. If you absolutely have to choose between them, pick Shannara.

Instead, I'd recommend anything by Roben Hobb or Guy Gavriel Kay. I like Lois McMaster Bujold's work, but you may find her fantasy a little too female centered, if you're someone who is bothered by that.

Date Posted: 10/20/2014 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2007
Posts: 33
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Terry Goodkind has a slightly different writing style. I kind of prefer his to Terry Brooks. I do suggest picking up some of their books at the library if you can. That should tell you all you need to know. ;) I hope this helps.

Date Posted: 11/20/2014 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 9,556
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RE, Terry Goodkind:  (and the genre, Fantasy).

True, Terry Goodkind is derivative of Robert Jordan, but both are doing something entirely different from the others mentioned above. To grasp what these two are doing and appreciate it (or reject it; always one's prerogative), one must have some knowledge of Joseph Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Jordan was always, to his death, a very serious writer, writing of a hero in the way that a serious storyteller of this kind must. And in these books, the writer must not only take the hero through the required steps, so to speak. (most famous hero, Jesus Christ). And as far as the "magical" abilities the hero has, they must be clearly defined.

In the first book, The Sword of Truth, Goodkind starts off almost exactly the same as does Jordan. He is quite good, but always sort of "Jordan Lite." About book 4 or 5, he must have run out of gas, and an unfortunate pattern sets in: His nemesis, so to speak, comes up with a new kind of "magic" and uses it to kidnap the hero's love interest. So the hero then must come up with a still newer magical power to get her back. About the third time he [Goodkind] does this, I give up and quit. 

Brooks, Prachett, et al, are never serious writers, but they are very imaginative and entertaining. I have read, always with enjoyment, but never serious involvement, a half-dozen or so books by each.

And if a serious series, maybe not even qualifying as fantasy, interests you, try Jordan, but these are long, involved, and have many characters. And if you don't like them because of these factors, you are commenting on yourself, not the books. Which is, of course, your prerogative and there is nothing wrong with that.

Date Posted: 2/8/2015 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2008
Posts: 207
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Old post, but I just wanted to add that the first book of Sword of Shannara is quite derivative of Lord of the Rings. You'll recognize all those parts. The next two books in the series veer off to other areas. 

I personally could not get into Sword of Truth series.  I assume it's the writing style since others very much enjoy these works. 

Date Posted: 7/2/2015 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/19/2005
Posts: 5,091
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Coming back to a very old question to respond to a nearly as old comment that was nonetheless posted after my previous response:

It's not that I didn't "get" what Goodkind was doing. I got it, I just don't think he did it well. I would also object to the implication that Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin Hobb are not "serious" writers. They are among the best writers in the field right now. That doesn't mean any particular reader must or even should like their works, but as writers, as storytellers, as literary creators, they are far better than Goodkind.

Now, being a better serious writer doesn't mean you need to enjoy them. I greatly respect James Joyce's achievement, but I hate reading his work. Others probably feel the same about Tolkien or Kay. Their loss. :)