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Summary

In this prequel to The Sword of Shannara, in which many details of the Four Lands' history are revealed, Druids, horrified by the misuse of magic, have eschewed it in favor of science. But Bremen the Druid studies magic, and becomes an outcast on its account. Bremen discovers that an invincible army of trolls are fast conquering all that lay to their south. Before them come the Nazgul-like Skull Bearers, disfigured and transformed Druids who have fallen prey to the dark arts. And at their head is an evil archmage and former Druid called Brona. Bremen realizes that if the peoples of the Four Lands are to evade slavery, they will have to unite. But to defeat Brona, they will need a mighty weapon: the Sword of Shannara.
©1996 Terry Brooks (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc.

What listeners say about First King of Shannara

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first king of shannara

loved this book as I do all the others in the series. Didn't enjoy American reader but got used to him.

4 people found this helpful

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Good book with really bad narration

It it probably good book no doubt about it but Narrator is soooo boring thats make you actually sick

3 people found this helpful

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For completionists only

I listened to this book already knowing the ending, as it is a prequel. That's fine. I enjoyed the Silmarillion, for example. But this is not a lovingly crafted fantasy history. Nor is it a complete novel in its own right. It is the worst of both. There are none of the engaging plot twists typical of Brooks' writing. The character development failed to reach the fairly low bar expected in the genre. No characters, enemies, creatures or perils captured my imagination as did e.g. the Changeling, the Maelmord, Uhl Belk or the Wisteron in other Shannara works. The book just feels like a vehicle for low effort backstories for Allanon, Bremen, Jerle Shannara, the Sword of Shannara and the Black Elfstone, none of which are especially interesting. The narrator's voice takes some time getting used to, but he did a good job.

1 person found this helpful

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Good but not as good as the others

it was good but not as good as the others I have read. still good though!

1 person found this helpful

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  • k
  • 26-10-17

awsome book

i loved this book couldnt stop listening .big story strong friendships awsome story.cant say more

1 person found this helpful

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...AMAZINGLY GOOD...

Thank you for this complex and compelling story set in a time and place you will never forget.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent.

I read the book years ago and now listening to it being read is just as good. Would recommend this to all fans of these books.

1 person found this helpful

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Wanted to be enthralled, instead am just bored

I have enjoyed many of the Shannara series, and have kept this in my library for ages before venturing into the adventure. Oh dear....

Narration:- I have enjoyed Scott Bricks narration in the past but having listened to many other narrators (I listen to audible everyday have done for years, and therefore have got through 100's of books), I find the reading lack lustre, he always sounds the same on any audio book and for me this is problematic for it hints of lack of diversity in voice range. It is difficult to distinguish characters, the voice remains static other than slight variances in pitch....but it all sounds the same overall and the character speaking qualifiers are needed. For clarity and pronunciation he is to be commended and for a straightforward reading this is adequate. For the book coming alive however it is not. Reading story and listening to story are two very different experiences, for audio I am looking for the narrator to understand the plot, characters, pick up on nuances and differentiate characters so you know without qualifiers just whom is speaking, to intone, reflect to enthrall and lift the writing out of the pages into an experience.......this has not happened. I will concede a small caveat of my assessment of the narration story with my story assessment, yet a different narrator with distinguishable characters might have been able to lift this woefully inadequate offering from Mr Brooks.

Story:- I have nearly 6hrs left to go ...this feels like a lifetime mainly because I am disappointed by the lack lustre sloppy writing. If something can be described in three words...we get 20 words which is overkill and I generally love flowery prose, it suggests a word count to be reached, sadly it completly detracts from the story and I am zoning in and out, having to rewind constantly and generally haven't a clue as to the plot, characters development...there seems little and this is down to the sloppy 'empty fillers' writing and lacking narration. I will persevere for a while longer or might skip to the final chapter...I doubt I will have missed anything pertinent.

Sadly a thumbs down on this one. Give this one a miss is my conclusion it adds nothing to the Shannara series other than...the sword gets made...plot spoiler.

If I hadn't saved this for so long in my library...I would be returning it.

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very good ..

a fine prequel to a much read much loved fantasy trilogy ....a must for shannara fans

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Great start to to a Fantasy Epic!

This book serves as either a great start to the series if you are beginning here or as an enlightening prequel adding extra poignancy if you listen to the books in publication order.

I knew some of the names from the TV series so had some understandings of importance, but found myself swept up in the emotions taking place throughout, smiling like a fool at times and a built up sense of anticipation before events.

The narration from Scott Brick I found very pleasant on the ear and let me be absorbed by the story, I look forward to listening to the rest now also done by him.

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  • Shack Cash
  • 20-01-18

disappointed.

The character Gerril Shannarah was a huge disappointment.The author paints a picture of him as one thing then spends the rest of the book contradicting what he described him to be throughout. It felt like he became this big baby who needed a tissue box for all his encounters.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Stewart
  • 21-06-18

Very boring narration

I was excited to listen to my 1st audio book, but very unimpressed with the straight mono tone Reading of the book.
I hope all Audiobooks are not this boring.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Dan McGee
  • 17-05-16

predictable

the story filled in a few blanks but it was much too predictable and I really don't like the narrator. He puts in way to much emotion into passages that really don't need it

9 people found this helpful

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  • Bell
  • 15-12-18

Sub-Par at best.

Narration wad dull. Very Ben Stein monotone. Story was uninspired and lacked real life. Verisimilitude was weak. Overall it is little more than a filler for fantasy lovers waiting on more inspired authors but adequate as a junk read.

7 people found this helpful

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  • 87463529
  • 20-07-16

Annoying Narration Ruins Book

What would have made The First King of Shannara better?

This book needs a different narrator. I made it 4 hours in but couldn't handle the performance any longer.

How could the performance have been better?

Each sentence was overly flourished and exaggerated as though coming from a bad theater actor trying to pay the bills by reading books. I can imagine the narrator being breathless and exhausted after nearly every sentence. It turns even the most casual conversation between characters into a boisterous exchange that's difficult to listen to. I only made it through about 4 or 5 hours before I gave up. I will have to be more careful when picking books in the future.

Any additional comments?

I don't know how the narrator was hired for this series of books. Must of had a really low budget.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Elisha Cyr
  • 22-05-19

good story

I liked the story, but narration sometimes made it hard for me to keep listening, tuned out a time or two.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Megan
  • 19-04-12

I could not get into it

Would you try another book from Terry Brooks and/or Scott Brick?

I love Terry Brooks and I love it but I personally could not get invested in the story

Any additional comments?

I know this is suppose to be an amazing book and I normally like these kind of books but this was really not worth my time

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brendan Segraves
  • 06-09-06

Predictable

Predictable (I haven't read the main series) and overly dramatic. Never a sense of humor, and all the characters are pretty much the same.

The story might be compelling for a teen, but an adult is advised to look elsewhere.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • K & L MITCHELL
  • 23-08-08

A True Pleasure

I have read and listened to a great number of books, this book in particular is one of my favorites. I find the desire to listen to it several times a year. I find that Scott Brick has a voice like no other clear, strong, precise, PERFECT.

22 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • SSL
  • 29-08-13

Juvenile

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Wrong age bracket for me.

Would you ever listen to anything by Terry Brooks again?

No.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Scott Brick?

Unknown

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The First King of Shannara?

N/a

Any additional comments?

I'm sure this appeals to a great many readers. Wish I had run across it in my teens, not my 60's!

7 people found this helpful