Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Magic Kingdom For Sale/Sold - Terry Brooks)

Book one of the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. I'd never even heard of Terry Brooks before a co-worker lent the books. Thank you, Stephen!

After Ben Holiday purchased Landover, he discovered the magic kingdom had some problems. The Barons refused to recognize a king and the peasants were without hope. To make matters worse, Ben learned that he had to duel to the death with the Iron Mask, the terrible lord of the demons--a duel which no human could hope to win....


And my review as posted on GoodReads:

I was intrigued by the premise of buying a fairy world (kingship included!), and thank God I was, because it took a few chapters for this to take off for me. Once things got settled, this was a pretty fun and entertaining read for me.

Ben Holiday, lawyer and widower, came across as mopey and unbalanced at first. I can't say he didn't have his reasons, though. His wife was dead, and he was contemplating buying the kingdom of Landover for one million dollars, all on a whim. He was full of doubts for being a successful thirty-something, but given the situation that seemed logical. Within ten minutes of setting foot in Landover, he had to escape the demon known as the Iron Mark and the dragon called Strabo, then ran across the would-be wizard Questor Thews, who wasted no time in demonstrating his ineptitude. Good start! I like how whenever Ben was in over his head trying to validate his claim to the throne, he fell back on his courtroom experience and stayed cool. It was training that served him well.

It's hard to say who I liked best out of the secondary characters. Questor was well-meaning, Abernathy the talking dog (who was once human) was often sarcastic, but he had a level head and gave some good advice, even if Ben didn't take it. Willow the sylph wasn't a main player until about halfway through the book, but she was so steady I couldn't help but come to like her.

There's problems in Landover, and that's for sure. The magic that keeps the land alive is failing, and the only way to save it is for a King to establish himself. But first Ben has to win over the people he'd be king to, and that's not going to be easy. Before the Lords of the Greensward will pledge to him, they want him to get rid of Strabo. Before the River Master will pledge to him, he wants Ben to stop the humans from polluting the river system. To get rid of Strabo, he'll have to convince the witch Nightshade to help him (and I doubt we've seen the last of her yet!). To top it all off, the Iron Mark has challenged him to a duel, and the only way he could possibly survive that is through the help of the Paladin, the King's protector and champion of old. Just one problem: no one has seen the Paladin in twenty years.

If it weren't for the occasional swearing, I wouldn't have been able to guess that this was aimed at adults. It didn't take itself too seriously and it was at times light-hearted and, well, just plain fun. I also appreciated the old school fantasy characters as opposed to the generic ones we're stuck with today, and I can only hope that's a trend that continues through the series. Overall, I'd say Mr. Brooks is off to a fine start as far as I'm concerned. The only thing that kept this from getting a five-star rating was the way the pacing took its sweet time in a few places. Other than that, I can't complain!

Your humble book nerd,

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it. Nice accurate review if my memory hasn't failed yet. There's a more serious series of his on my shelf for you when you finish the Magic Kingdom series. Heck, I may re-read some of it myself.


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