Poll: Favorite Book of the Original Shannara Trilogy?

Forthcoming: November 13! | Order a Signed Copy!

Yesterday, I received my author copy of The Annotated Sword of Shannara, which will be coming to US bookstores on November 13!

Opening it up took me back 25 years to the first time I opened The Sword of Shannara. I had a very strong nostalgic response. I remember where I was at when I first started reading Terry’s work. I remember where I finished his debut novel. I remember pouring over the Hildebrandt Bros. artwork each time I came to a new piece of art while reading. That book was truly magical for me for so many reasons I can’t even begin to describe—just like it is for many of you.

The Christmas after I read The Sword of Shannara, my mother surprised me with The Elfstones of Shannara and The Wishsong of Shannara. I can’t remember any Christmas gifts from my youth but I do remember those gifts. To say they are probably my favorite two gifts ever is an understatement. I’ll never forget their magic. I devoured them as quickly as I had Sword and it would be many years before The Scions of Shannara was published.

All of this came flooding back to me and much more when I opened up my copy of The Annotated Sword of Shannara. It got me thinking. What book is my favorite out of those three? They were Terry’s first three books and since then I’ve read them numerous times at very different times in my own life. Has my favorite changed over time?

So I ask you all today:

What is your favorite book out of the original Shannara trilogy?

And why!



48 responses to “Poll: Favorite Book of the Original Shannara Trilogy?”

      • I wouldn’t recommend reading the Word/Void novels first. Not that they are not good reads – I’ve read all of Terry’s books save the Landover series. But, there is something magical that captures a reader when they pick up The Sword series first. After it is read, you can’t help but feel drawn to read anything that happened before or after. In addition, I think it takes away from the mystery behind the setting of the Sword if you read the prequels first… except maybe First King. Just my opinion. Regardless, a book written by Terry is always going to be a great journey!

  1. I loved all the books but sense The Sword of Shannara was the one that I read first and got me hooked I had to go with it would really have liked a loved them all button.

    • I would have to agree. Sword was the original and started me on the journey through the four lands. Nothing can surpass it. I have read it three times in the past Thirty years, I find it just as good now as I did then, and it allows me to relive my childhood, a bit.

      • it was the start and i have read it twice in 3 years it was the epicness of the epic fantasy that is a must for every magical, somewhat mideaval scifi novel

  2. While Sword started it all and Wishsong has my favorite Brooks character of all time, I have to say that Elfstones is my favorite. The escaped demons, the wonderful battle descriptions, and the race to save the Ellcrys all combined to make Elfstones riveting and a must-read-multiple-times novel.

  3. So hard to choose as I love them all, but I’m going with Wishsong. My edition has the illustrations and introduces one of my favorite characters.

  4. Sword of Shannara got me hooked, but it’s hard for me to reread it the beginning. It seems to drag now (maybe because I have read it about 50 times in the past 15 years). Elfstones is my favorite in the books listed above. 🙂

  5. Elfstones. Period. End of Discussion.The Dagda Mor, the Changeling, the Reaper, Ander Elessedil, Crispin, even an appearance by Flick.

    Dwwarven sappers, Free Corps and Stee Jans. IRON MAN.

  6. The Elfstones is my favorite book. My dad bought me the set for Christmas one year, and for some reason, that was the first one I read. I wasn’t much of a reader before I read Elfstones, but i became an avid reader afterwards. I re-read that book so many times that it literally fell apart, and I had to replace it.

  7. Wishsong introduced me to Shannara and Mr. Brooks. I followed it by reading Sword then Elfstones. I love them all but Elfstones is my favorite. It is just an incredible story from start to finish. Wishsong is my next favorite followed by Sword. Stee Jans is one of the best characters I’ve ever read….behind Garet Jax of course! 🙂

    • Huh, I thought I was the only odd person who read Wishsong first – I swiped my mom’s copy when I needed something to read.By default of it introducing me to Terry Brooks, Wishsong is my favorite. (I immediately had to go out and get the other two, of course, for the backstory. It’s a tribute to Terry’s writing that I was able to pick up the third in a trilogy, read it, and have it make sense.)

  8. Wishsong, hands down.

    They say the side with a giant squid usually wins…..unless you happen to have Garet Jax.

    And the final confrontation between the ormsford siblings…….just so much win.

    RIP Allanon, Garet Jax. Two of the greatest fantasy characters of all time.

  9. Sword started it all and got me hooked. Remarkable and very memorable characters. I especially love the Creel/Keltset pairing. That said, I must say Elfstones is my favorite of the three overall.

  10. It’s a very tough choice between Elfstones and Wishsong. Wishsong has some of my absolute favorite characters but I think Elfstones is the clear choice for me. Sword was a great read and will always have a special place in my heart, but I think it was Elfstones that really set the stage for many more stories to come. Afterall, it was the magic of the Elfstones that gave birth to the magic within the Ohmsford line that made all the other stories that followed possible. In addition to that there is a tragic love story in Elfstones that the other books in the first series just can’t measure up to with me. The amount of pure emotion that I felt reading Elfstones was just riveting.

  11. I was an only child being raised by me paternal grandmother living in below poverty. No electricity, no running water, and a true outhouse. I had no friends, was bullied in school by teachers and peers. Home life included some not so happy events. The only thing I had was my animals and books. There was a time I was convinced there was no such thing as true friendships and that maybe the only way my life would be better would be to end it. Somehow I was given a first addition copy of The Sword of Shannara. I never put it down I would read and re-read it. That book and the characters renewed by belief in true friendships. The fold out center of the entire cast of characters helped me more than I can tell. When abused I trained my mind and body to go where Shea and Flick were. Balinor and Menion were my protectors, Allanon the father I never had. I still carry a copy of the Sword with me. My original first edition burned when our house burned down.

    This is why the Sword whas and will alway be my favorite Shannara book

  12. I loved the 2nd half of Sword and expected Elfstones to be similar so I didn’t like it (the first time). It took me awhile to read Wishsong but when I did I couldn’t put it down. Wishsong is still my favorite book of all time not just within this set.
    For the record before I started reading more of the books I reread the entire first set. The 2nd time I loved Elfstones because I had no errant expectations. I so far have read the first three books three times and love them all.

  13. Wishsong by far for me. It had the awesome Wishsong (duh), Garet Jax, the “death” of Allanon, and the Sword of Leah became magical. I have read this book 5 times and it gets better each time. 🙂

  14. Elfstones I read it first and didn’t know there was an earlier book i was thrilled when i found out. I don’t know if I read sword first if i would have continued with the serier I remember when i read it I thought it long and was hard to follow with all of the characture plot lines.
    after reading elfstones it made me want to read and comlete sword, which I still love as a novel, but elfstones was my first love where i met the coolest characture in liturature Allanon

  15. Not only is Elfstones my favorite Brooks book, but Wil remains my favorite Ohmsford. He strikes me as quiet, level-headed, and duty bound, yet he knows that something is wrong with his having used the Elfstones. His introspection and sense of duty are why I admire him.

  16. I gotta say, i refused to read these books for the longest time. i though, nerds, or geeks read them. . . it has been several years since i cracked my copy of the sword, and i have never looked back. i love every page, My kids love it when i sit down at night and read to them, they have bonded with all of the figures in these books, none more so than Allanon. I am pre-ordering my copy. i cant beleive i almost missed this release.

  17. Two series introduced me to the world of sci-fi fantasy back in the early 70s; the Conan books (don’t remember the first title I read of these books), and The Sword of Shannara. I can never forget the feeling I got reading TSoS for the first time. I had never read anything like it, before. It was sort of like falling in love.

  18. they are all amazing but elfstone is definitely the best. and to the question posed above about Stee Jans vs Garet Jax i would definitely have to go with Stee Jans i fell in love with this character and although Garet Jax was amazing he just dd not live up to the character of Stee Jans

  19. The Sword of Shannara will probably always be my favorite Brooks book. I can’t quite explain why, but it has a very comforting feel to me every time I read it. Plus it’s not just a single character or a few characters who end up being heroes–each of the core group has his chance to shine.

  20. The Elfstones definitely, such a brilliant concept the Forbidding and the tension surrounding the demons trying to get through until they eventually do…brilliant and then the final twist.

    If I was going to read one of the original three again and again it would be the Elfstones. in fact I think I will!

  21. it is impossible to “pick a favorite”! One lead to another, and another, and another…What started it all for me was “sometimes the magic works”..thats all I needed.

  22. It was hard choosing between Sword and Elfstones but I ended up casting my vote for Elfstones with a caveat..please! Sword of Shannara is exceptional and got me interested in Terry’s writing enough that I came back for Elfstones which in turn made sure I would not miss Wishsong and lo these many years later I am still here. As D’Arcy said “…sometimes the magic works…” Well for me it continues to work. And a big thumbs up for the Word/Void trilogy. Terry at his best there!

  23. Definitely elfstones. It was the first Brooks book I read. It started the life long journey for me with these fantastic books. I can still remember the teacher in the elementary school book kiosk arguing with me that it was too advanced for me to read. She was wrong. That started the incredible journey that has continued well into my adult life. Keep going Terry!

  24. I must say I was disappointed that one of the original trilogy wasn’t picked for the movie option. My biggest fear is that the first movie will be more Harry Potter, less lord of the rings.

  25. I must say that is saddens me that The Lord of the Rings is holding the Sword of Shannara back from a movie/television production which confusses me. I got into an argument with a librarian because he refused to read it because he said it was to similar to LOTR. I’ve reread the Sword fo Shannara several times and have read LOTR two or three times and I seriously cannot figure out what that librarian is talking about. If you really want to argue about it, then you might as well say TLOR is a ripoff of Dungeons and Dragons. lol. Anyway, enough of my rant, I just think Swords should be treated fairly in consideration for a movie/television production. Plus I think it would be fair to Terry’s fanbase. Plus if anyone tries to sue, Terry’s an ex-layer. I’m sure he can handle himself. It’s not like he’s going to lose his fanbase. We’ll support him.

    • Actually, it’s the other way around, LOTR is the progenitor of D&D, and before LOTR, was mythology. However, I agree since I can’t seem to find what the heck the deal is with people saying Sword is a ripoff of LOTR. Maybe I’m missing something?

  26. Wishsong was the first I read, and my favorite book of all time. Garret Jax is the best character (in my eyes) in all of literature. Incidentally, unless I misunderstood it in wishsong, Stee Jans and Garret Jax are same man. Let me know if I’m wrong.

  27. Well, I can’t say that any of the original trilogy was the first to introduce me to Shannara, but I can honestly say that Elfstones is my favorite. The one, however that introduced me was E’f-Queen, but then again, it was an audiobook my mom bought when we went on a roadtrip across the US.

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