book review

Terry Brooks and His Writing

Reading Terry Brooks is a good way to relax.

I have, for the most part, enjoyed reading the writings of Terry Brooks, and his many series. He is one of my favourite fantasy writers, and he is also one of the main reasons I became a writer.  Lately however, I’ve found myself going back to read him and feeling a bit disenchanted by his newer works.  I still have fond recollections of the Sword of Shannara and the other two books which make up the first trilogy, but I am less than overjoyed with his other series. Note: when I write series, I am referring to the fact he tends to write three or four books about a time/event and then the next in the overall series jumps years, if not generations.

It began with a small change, and it was then I felt I was not ‘transported’ to his world, but rather re-reading something he had already written.  This is understandable since he had at one point three distinct series going.

I am unsure of one of  his most recent works, what a reader might call the “back history of Shannara”, in which he merges two series into one (Word and Void and Shannara). He’s also gone farther into the future or the past depending on which series you have recently read, but it has left me with more questions than answers. While this is new to me as a long time reader of his books, it shows some wonderful imagination and creativity on the part of Terry Brooks.

This being said, should you read the first published book by him you will find he uses a lot of adjectives and adverbs where a simple noun or verb would do just fine.

One of the more helpful books he has written is “Sometimes the Magic Works”. For any writer this is a good book to have, as he gives his own ideas and suggestions for writing especially in the fantasy genre. I enjoyed it and found his suggestions useful, but only as a beginner’s book, not something for a more advanced writer. Still a good reference to have, in the similar vein to Stephen King’s own self-help for writers book.

The reason I enjoy Terry Brook’s writing is because it is varied and different, and because of some very good memories of the very first book I bought- which was a Terry Brooks novel.

Of all the trilogy series on Shannara he’s written; I still enjoy the first three Shannara books. (The Sword of Shannara, the Elfstones of Shannara and the Wishsong of Shannara.) I am currently re- reading his newest book from the Landover Series.  I enjoy every minute, along with a glass of hot chocolate… But the question remains: is Terry Brooks a good writer?

After all he has published upwards of 30 bestselling books. He is what most writers want to be– a published author.

Is he a good writer?

His novels follow a formula, but at the same time he has published books which are listed on the New York Times bestseller list.   In this regard, a person who doesn’t have his sort of success should not complain about a formula.  These days I suspect he is like most published authors who have seen success, they don’t want to lose it. Or, he simply wants to finish something he began so long ago.  I’ve heard rumours he is thinking of setting a point of the end of the series.  I think at which point it will be bitter sweet and I will miss his writing of any of his series if he does retire from writing his books.

There are reasons to write in the same genre, he knows it well- he knows what his fans want to read, and he is not about to change that. This does not mean he is not a good writer.  What he has is a plan, and a vision and a very good team.  His website is always fun and usually gives some idea of when a new book will be published.

He does not want to rock the boat, there is a difference there. After all he had Shannara and Landover which are two successful series and the Word and the Void which he combined with Shannara.

That was his mistake– the combination. I do not think that many of his readers enjoyed it as much. He might have left it alone and seen more success.