I will be totally honest I started reading this series because I saw the first episode of the MTV adaptation of this series. It seemed kinda good and I thought, "well if I don't read it now I probably never will." So off I went to the book store to find Book 1, only it took me like 3 trips & some internet research to find the correct book to start with. Terry Brooks not only wrote a prequel to the first trilogy but he also had them put "book 1" on the second book after the show premiered because the show starts with book 2. Talk about confusing!
After I finally started reading The Sword of Shannara turned out to be every bit the high fantasy series I wanted it to be! The writing style reminded me a bit of Tolkien, only with less poems. Particularly when there was long stretches of traveling and description of the country side. I really enjoyed that it felt big, right from the beginning. The history is long & rich, and there are enough characters/races to fill it. I think Allanon was my favorite character because he is equal parts caring & mysterious. There is so much about him that we don't know and It has to be interesting! Also it becomes clear that he is one of the few characters that will be constant for a while in this story. For the majority of the characters the final chapter was our goodbye to them.
The Sword it self was fascinating to me. I found how it worked very interesting and wondered what kind of reaction I would have to the power of the Sword and having to face the truth about myself. It was also interesting that so many magical objects appear to be tied to this one family. I found myself wondering (having watched the first episode) how that power will be preserved as the elvish blood diminishes. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was all the parallels to our current world & the conflicts we are facing today. Brooks makes it very believable that this world was created out of the collapse of the current world we live in. Yet he never comes out and says it directly so that is still left up to the imagination of the reader.
As with most first books in any series there were parts that dragged a little but it was very clear that the description in these portions were pure world building and they were super interesting despite their slow moving nature. I would definitely recommend The Sword of Shannara to a fellow fantasy reader! Maybe even to someone that hasn't read a lot of fantasy & would like a good series to try.