Jakiś czas temu, mając dużo czasu 🙂 postanowiłem popracować nad swoją klasyczną edukacją. Nie, nie zapisałem się na zajęcia z łaciny. Klasyka fantasy i s/f, oto, co mam na myśli. Było różnie. Heinlein generalnie świetny. Beagle super. Burroughs się niestety nieładnie postarzał. Jordan… kiedyś przetrawię tą traumę na tyle, że napiszę recenzję Koła Czasu. Brooks… przyszła kolej na Brooksa, autora bardzo długiego i bardzo popularnego cyklu Shannara. MTV (!) szykuje serial, chciałem ugryć temat zanim pojawi się w… telewizji.
It’s… not a very good book. A good one, maybe. An epitome of generic post-Tolkien fantasy. The good parts are mostly borrowed, the rest isn’t very imaginative.
Honestly, it isn’t all bad. There are heroes, adventures, big bad enemy… from time to time I like to read some classic high fantasy, and it doesn’t have to be Tolkien or Kay every time. So – if you want some old-school fantasy, Brooks is ok. I, for one, can’t live on grimdark alone.
But the worldbuilding is not up to our times’ standards, and the names… the names… mixture of regular and generic-fantasy names given to characters of different races with no apparent culture-specific rules. And if you look at a map of the Four Lands… it seems like a bunch of names were randomly assigned to cities, mountains and rivers. We can’t expect every author to create his own language, but still…
Characters… are there, have their quests, but all is rather cliche. At times, enjoyable, at times – rather boring. I had enough fun to finish, but it took me almost a month, and for me – that’s very long.
Score? Solid 2, maybe weak 3… if the following volumes will let me see it in a better light. I wish Goodreads had 1-10 scale. It probably was a mistake to begin with this, and not “The Sword of Shannara”. I will read at least that, before MTV’s series premiere and maybe my opinion of the entire Shannara universe will improve.
Basically a Tolkien fanfic. Sort-of-enjoyable though, I had some fun reading it and I should have begun with this one, not the prequel. As fanfics go, it could have been worse.
An orphan with great heritage – and destiny. Loyal friend from the idyllic country of his youth. Wise old mage and his ranger ally. Sinister wraiths on the hunt. Etc.
One scene from the middle of the book:
Part of our recentlty split party, lead by an old wizard that not so long before miraculously returned (after seemingly having perished in a battle), encounters a recent battlefield. They use their trailing skills to learn how the battle went and to discover that their lost friend might have been here, apparently captive…
Well… there are more examples like this. Frankly, entire book is Tolkien shredded and reassembled, by a craftsman lacking talent and wisdom of the Master.
Worldbuilding is at best mediocre and the author is severely limited in his ability to invent names. Surprisingly, here it is less of a problem than in his prequel novel written years after the first one.
Still, paradoxically, there is a certain freshness to it and someone looking for light, old-school fantasy reading won’t be disappointed. It’s a Tolkien rip-off written when ripping off Tolkien was still a fairly recent idea. The world was young and readers less cynical…
I look forward to the TV series but I don’t think I’ll read more Shannara books any time soon.
If you like Tolkien as the father of fantasy genre, you might enjoy Brooks. If you love Tolkien’s myth-creating powers, everything that makes his books more than strange adventures in magical world – skip Shannara and go for, say, Fionavar Tapestry.
W Polsce Brooksa wydawał/wydaje Rebis i Replika.