by Terry Brooks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“The wind began to rush violently as he moved on, and he became aware of other creatures in the darkness. They came first as a vague awareness in his mind, then as soft cries that seemed to seep through the haze and cling inquisitively about him. At last they appeared as living bodies, touching softly with cringing fingers the flesh of his person. He laughed in maddened frenzy, knowing somehow that he was no longer in a world of living creatures, but a world of death where soulless beings wandered in hopeless search of escape from their eternal prison. He stumbled on amidst them, laughing, talking, even singing gaily, his mind no longer a part of his mortal being. All about him, the creatures of the dark world followed in cringing companionship, knowing that the maddened mortal was almost one of them. It was all a matter of time. When the mortal life was gone, he would be as they were – lost forever. Orl Fane would be with his own kind at last. Almost” --Sword of ShannaraThis novel (according to Wikipedia) launched Del Rey and and its success built a foundation for the fantasy genre. It is really long and it took me a while to get into it. The influence of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is very evident and some of the writing is extremely purple and cliched. However, once the quest is solidly underway and more secondary characters start adding threads to the story it becomes much more interesting and I found myself drawn in. The writing never really improves, but after 300+ pages I got used to it. I'm not prepared to commit to the 30+ books in the series, but I may read the next one in the original trilogy at some point.
This book is on my Classics Club list.