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The "New Titles" Meme

In the spirit of the "Alternative Authors" craze, here's a new mem:
Take a book or series that you have read and give it the title it really deserves.

Here's my contribution:

The Heritage of Shannara series

1. The Scions of Shannara: The Reruns of Shannara
2. The Druid of Shannara: The Tepid (and in No Way Phallic) Love Story of Shannara
3. The Elf Queen of Shannara: Most Predictable Horrorfic Ever of Shannara
4. The Talismans of Shannara: Why Don't You Just Build the Atomic Bomb of Shannara?

'tis truly a wonder of cheese and corn. Scions was kindasorta worth while, and I liked Druid despite the unrealistic dialogue.

Edit, 17:55 CDT Thu 20 Apr 2006 - here are my Reviews of Shannara:

The original series:

Elfstones [9 out of 10] was on par with any fantasy I've ever read save The Lord of the Rings itself. It is far superior IMO to Eddings' Belgariad. I'd compare it to C. S. Friedman's Coldfire trilogy and Mercedes Lackey's good Valdemar stories.

Sword, I hear, is a LOTR clone, but a good one. (I'm gradually reading it now.)

Wishsong was okay [8] - not great, but still better than the Belgariad.

The second quartet:

Scions [6] is about at the level of the Belgariad, or a little better - very trite, very obvious, just all-around boring.

Druid [7] was actually very good - nice plot, tense, intriguing - except for the atrociously implausible dialogue ("oh, we're being chased by a 40-foot tall monster through the streets of a ruined city! let's duck into an abandoned building and have a half hour-long discussion on the metaphysics of its origin, shall we?"). The love story was actually tragic and mildly touching without being cloying; I just didn't care for the total futility of it. If you like lots of magic, you'll like this story. If you are tired of Warcraft-like races and creatures (and remember, this second book of the Heritage series came out about six years before the original Warcraft), you may want to skip the whole series.

Elf Queen [3] is embarrassing. I could have hacked MegaHAL to generate a better story. It's as if the plot of every SF&F B-movie were put into a blender and spiced with a dash of soap opera. It tries to be epic and instead feels like a warmed-over fanfic. I'd compare it to bad episode of Buffy or Angel, but it'd be a massive insult to Joss Whedon. It's a total waste of time, and I wish I had the two days I spent reading it back, but for the fact that I wanted to finish the series.

Talismans [6] was okay, as good as Scions and almost as good as Druid, but the plot was atrocious. I gave it a 6 instead of a 5 only because I liked the ending. The "mysteries" in the plot are laughable. No, really. Also, Brooks tends to get ridiculous in his magical arms race. In this final book, they gather all the "XYZ of Shannara" and put it together for a final fight against evil. Woo. Sound like a season finale of Buffy? If only.




( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
Hehe - Your new titles are very accurate.. though I must say that I hate that series with a passion. I read those books while I had the measles, and I really think they made me sicker >_>
Apr. 20th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
As they say, what does ye expect from a series whose hero is a druid named Al-Anon? ;-)

Your turn!

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 20th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
The Heritage of Shannara versus the original trilogy
The original trilogy is about as far superior to the Heritage series as it is to Eddings' belgariad, or, if you like, the original SW trilogy is the the latter one.

See my (non-spoiler) short reviews in a reply to raistlinbrown.

(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
Re: The Heritage of Shannara versus the original trilogy
Druid makes the Heritage series worth while. I actually liked it about as much as Wishsong.

I just bought First King (part of the prequel series) a couple of weeks ago. I haven't read any of the Jerle Shannara or Forbidding series, which I guess brings the Shannaraverse up to five series now. The Forbidding one looks very interesting, but I'm worried that it will spoil the magic of Elfstones. Draenor, after Warcraft 2, was a boring place, which is why I suppose they blew it up.

Apr. 21st, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
You mention Eddings as an author. Unfortunately, my first experience with his writing was with The Dreamers series. I read the first one hoping it would eventually evolve into a good tale. I realize that characters need to be introduced and established in the first book, and that tends to slow the development of the story. I began reading the second book, The Treasured One in hopes that the story would improve. Rarely, very rarely, do I quit reading mid-book, but I could not force myself to read any further. Its deserved title: I Should Have Remained a Tree or How to Torture the Reader with Multiple Views of the Very Same Scene.

I love fantasy, but I will skirt around the Shannara series as I fully understand wanting a refund of your time when it is wasted on a bad book.
Apr. 21st, 2006 01:48 pm (UTC)
Elfstones is fantastic. I like it more than Lord of the Rings, to be honest, because I think the characters are generally more developed.
Apr. 21st, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC)
The Elfstones of Shannara
Aha! Yet another fan of Elfstones. My dad actually read it and liked it.

I'm a fan of the "magical and/or demonic Terminator" genre, and the whole business with the Reaper was interesting. I don't agree that it's in a class with LOTR, but IMO JRRT makes just about every SF author look like a "good amateur to his returning professional", to paraphrase Simon Cowell.

Brooks got just a tad repetitive with the "beings of faerie" and Wil's agonizing, but in general it was epic, it was original, it was moving, and I found it fantastically good.

Apr. 22nd, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Re: The Elfstones of Shannara
One of my favourite elements of the stories was the Rovers, and Eretria (sp? been years since I read it). In a genre where copying is rampant (Sword of Shanara is a well-intentioned knock-off of LoTR), the Rovers produce, IMO, one of the stronger female characters in the literature. Not an amazonian "chick in chainmail", not the stereotyped wise spellcaster (Sephrenia in Eddings' work), but something very different.

Like I said, I haven't read Elfstones in years, probably not since grade nine, or around 1995. But I always remember the Rovers.
Apr. 22nd, 2006 03:03 am (UTC)
Hmmmm...The Animorph Series, aka The partial slaying, burning, dying, and hectic events of four kids, a hawk and an alien.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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