Brooks is an American author, born in 1944. After getting his Juris Doctor, Terry decided to stop practicing law to dedicate himself to full-time writing. His move paid off, and Brooks has since had 20 of his novels make it to the New York Times best-seller list and has sold millions of copies of his books worldwide.
He has dedicated his entire career as a novelist to the genre of fantasy fiction. Deeply inspired by Tolkien’s work, he has also created a parallel universe populated with fairy folk and magic and has been releasing series centered on Shannara for decades.
Best Terry Brooks Books
|Original Shannara Trilogy||9.44/10||3 Books||Check Price On Amazon|
|Heritage of Shannara Series||9.76/10||4 Books||Check Price On Amazon|
|The Word & The Void Series||9.88/10||3 Books||Check Price On Amazon|
|Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Series||9.42/10||3 Books||Check Price On Amazon|
|High Druid of Shannara Series||9.48/10||3 Books||Check Price On Amazon|
Brooks has been an extremely prolific writer, writing for more than four decades. In this Terry Brooks book review, you will find some information on the best Brooks novels to get you started on this author’s body of work. We are not listing Terry Brooks’s books from best to worst, because making the list of Brooks’s books ranked would be too difficult.
The Original Shannara Trilogy
Future Fantasy World
The original Shannara Trilogy and the remaining books related to the original series are all set in a futuristic world that incorporates all the elements fantasy fiction lovers adore.
After various armed conflicts, our present world has been completely obliterated as we know it. The Great Wars have ended industrialized civilization, and the world has gone back to a pre-industrial version of itself. With one huge difference: science has been replaced with magic.
The new world has four Kingdoms or “Lands”, each named after the direction they point towards on the compass: Northland, Eastland, Southland, and Westland. Each of these lands is home to a different species: elves, dwarves and gnomes, trolls, and humans.
Different evils plague the small part of the world, from evil warlocks to deadly creatures, and one by one, the heroes of the Shannara series will battle the forces of darkness.
The Sword of Shannara
Shea Ohmsford started the entire series off in 1977 in the first book of the trilogy – The Sword of Shannara. Shea lives a quiet life in Shady Valley, oblivious to everything that is happening outside of his peaceful patch of land. We also covered this novel in our article about the books like Eragon, make sure to check it out.
Then, one day, the giant Allenon comes to give him the bad news: an evil warlock, thought to be dead, is actually still alive and kicking, and has plans to destroy the world. And the only weapon that can stop him is the Sword of Shannara. There’s only one catch: only heirs of Shannara can wield it, and as luck would have it, Shea is the only living one.
The Elfstones of Shannara
The novel number two of Brooks’s Shannara books in order is The Elfstones of Shannara. It is one of Terry Brooks’s best books, which was picked up by television to create the Shannara Chronicles TV show, where the author takes readers to the land of elves.
An old tree, grown from elven magic, is dying. Wil Ohmsford is sent out on a dangerous journey: he needs to find a new seed to replant a new tree and ensure its legacy continues. It will be a tough quest because along the way he will have to come face to face with the Reaper, the most dangerous and evil demon known throughout the lands.
The Wishsong of Shannara
The Ildatch is an ancient book of spells, containing the darkest magic. This evil spellbook has stirred some demonic creatures to life, and their mission is to destroy the last of mankind.
Once again, Allanon, the giant that protects all the races, needs to find the right person for the quest. This time, the dangerous honor falls on Brin, Wil Ohmsford’s daughter. Brin has been born with the gift (or curse) of the Wishsong, the only way to reach the Ildatch.
A Place to Start
A little reluctantly – but given little choice – Brin will follow Allanon as they set off to save the world, while Brin’s younger brother, Jair, is left in the village. However, that doesn’t mean Jair gets to relax while his sister is fighting demons; he learns that unless he can reach her in time, she will likely fail and die on her quest.
The original series is where the entire universe of Shannara starts off, and the trilogy works remain some of the best-selling Brooks books. It is the best place to start to get familiar with the rest of the series.
Heritage of Shannara Series
Four in One
Unlike the first, original trilogy, the Heritage of Shannara is not comprised of four stand-alone books. The entire series covers a single story, so the Heritage of Shannara will top the lists of best Terry Brooks books for readers who love to get into a plot-line or a cast of characters and stay with them for long periods of time.
The series has four novels in total and the Terry Brooks’s books in order are – The Scions of Shannara, The Druid of Shannara, The Elf Queen of Shannara, and The Talismans of Shannara.
A Quest Centuries Later
The Heritage of Shannara is set 300 years after the events of the original trilogy. Now, Allanon is dead, but his shadow is still around to help.
Magic has been outlawed, and the dwellers need to bring it back. The only ones who can do this are the heirs of Shannara because it’s up to them to find the Sword of Shannara. They need to unlock the power of magic.
The first three books will follow the individual quest of the “children” (who are actually all adults): Par Ohmsford is tracking down the sword with the Wishsong, Walker Boh is tasked with resurrecting the druids, and Wren is in charge of bringing back the Elves, a race who left years ago without leaving any trace, somehow convincing the people to come back to the Four Lands with her.
The three quests converge for a final epic ending in the Talismans of Shannara, where the heirs of Shannara will have to stand up to the Shadowen. One of the top Terry Brooks books for readers who like their endings to build-up gradually, culminating after long hours of reading.
The Word & The Void Series
This series is set in almost present-day Illinois – with a few exceptions. The exception is that in Terry Brook’s version of modern Illinois there is magic. These magical powers are bestowed by a benign force known as The Word, which is a representation of Good in the world.
In stark contrast to the Word is the Void, a force that represents darkness. And as usual, the darkness also has many demons who are willing to do their will to ensure that Good does not triumph.
Two representatives of the Word and the Void are on Earth, and they are both after the same: Nest Freemark, an unwitting 14-year-old whose entire life is about to change once she discovers the secret the adults in her life have been hiding from her all this time.
A secret that can no longer be kept hidden, because only by revealing it does the world have a fighting chance. Readers who love stories on battling and opposing forces are likely to find these best-rated Brooks books for them.
John Ross is a Knight for the Word, and in his faithful service to the side of the Good guys, aka the Word, he has been given the chance to see what the future will look like if he doesn’t step in with his magical abilities and try to clear the world of demonic creatures.
It isn’t pretty, and John Ross is sometimes haunted by the enormity of his responsibility, a theme in his character development throughout the trilogy. He is teamed up with Nest Freemark, and they turn into an unlikely duo. A Knight of the World, a teenage girl – they have the fate of the world in their hands.
When it first came out in 1997, the Word & Void trilogy was believed to have nothing to do with Terry Brook’s famous Shannara universe, but it was later made clear that this series does serve as a prequel to the original Sword of Shannara books. This is the best Terry Brooks book for readers that like a more urban touch to their fantasy fiction.
The Word & the Void has three novels in total and the chronological order of Terry Brooks’s books goes as follows: Running with the Demon (1997), A Knight of the Word (1998), and Angel Fire East (1999).
The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Series
Too Many Crooks Spoil the Soup
Thirty years ago, an expedition led by an elven prince set out to search for a magic stronger than anything anyone had ever seen before. Three decades later, everyone is believed to have vanished and died along the way, but one day a half-drowned elf is found, clutching a map tightly.
Walker Boh, the last of the Druids, is the only one capable of deciphering the symbols it is filled with – that is, until it is discovered that the Ilse Witch can also crack the code. And she’s after the same powerful magic that the elves set foot for, but for much less noble purposes.
One Long Quest
The Voyage of Jerle Shannara is another one of Terry Brook’s trilogies, and through the three books the main characters, good and evil, are all looking for the same thing, and only one team can get their hands on it. The three Terry Brooks’s books reading order go as follows: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr.
Monsters, witches, and soul-sucking sorcerers are all vying for the powerful magic the map leads to. But one man has a completely different end-goal: Bek Ohmsford just wants to save his long-lost sister.
Another best Terry Brooks novel for lovers of the magical quest genre, where characters are faced with innumerable obstacles, and the readers get to see them grow and develop as they inch closer to their destiny.
High Druid of Shannara Series
Every best-selling Terry Brooks book is beloved by fans because it expertly blends in the spices of fantasy and adventure, and this trilogy is no different. It does, however, have an extra layer of political scheming and manipulation in doses unseen in the former trilogies. Lovers of plotting and Machiavellian web-weaving be warned: these three may just be the most popular Terry Brooks books for you.
A Missing Queen
Grianne Ohmsford has corrected her deviant ways and has fulfilled her destiny by becoming the High Druid of Shannara. Now, she’s using her powers to serve peace and unity among the races in the Four Lands.
But she made many enemies in the past. When she goes missing, it’s hard to point fingers because there are so many directions to point it. And her chair doesn’t sit empty for long: cunning Shadea a’Ru quickly maneuvers herself into a position to fill her shoes – and hold her clout.
Wherever It Takes
Only one brave young man, the vanished High Druid’s nephew, isn’t ready to give up the fight. He is determined to go wherever it takes to find his aunt, even if it leads him into dangerous lands that may take his life from him. It is one of the most wonderful series on our list of Terry Brooks’s books.
Genesis of Shannara Series
The Missing Link
The next series on our Brooks’s books list bridged the gap between The Word and the Void and the Original Sword of Shannara trilogy – a gap many did not know existed until Genesis was released. The first one of Brooks’s Shannara books, Armageddon’s Children, opens up a few decades after the end of the Word and the Void series ended: what was then present-day America has been ravaged and is all but destroyed; humans have finished off their own planet with wars and armed conflicts.
The few humans who survive are scattered and starting to mutate. And, unfortunately for what’s left of the human race, the forces of evil represented by the Void have gathered and are starting to hunt them down. The future of humanity is at stake.
Two Quests, One Journey
But even if demons are vying to take over the world from humans, Knights of the Word are still around to counterbalance everything. Logan Tom has to find the Gypsy Morph and make sure that he fulfills his destiny to save what’s left of civilization.
Meanwhile, Angel Perez also has to save an entire people – except this time, it’s elves, a race she didn’t even know existed but discovers has been around since before humans existed. Now, they are under siege, as the demons who live in the Forbidding, the place of nightmares, are crawling out and towards their evil plan to annihilate the elven race.
Bringing urban thrillers, a fantasy world, and a dystopian end-of-the-world feel to it, Genesis is another riveting Terry Brooks trilogy that sheds light on how Shannara first came to be. A must-read and Terry Brooks’s best book for die-hard fans of the Shannara world.
The Legends of Shannara Series
Shannara Comes to Life
In Legends of Shannara, the fantasy universe that Brooks first created in the seventies started to really take shape. This duology continues the trend started by Genesis, in which the author leads long-time readers through the steps that explain how 20th century America turned into the world of Shannara. The best Terry Brooks books for those that love a good “how it came to be” story.
Inside a Gilded Cage
After the Great War that almost eliminated the human race, the human survivors and elves have been living peacefully in a valley protected by the magic of the Black Staff. The one who bears it is the Knight of the Word that protects them. Sider Amet, the last bearer of the staff, dies and hands the staff and the responsibility it carries to young Tracker Panterra Qu.
Remnant of Peace
Panterra must now make sure the dwellers of the valley are safe, but can no longer protect them from what is coming at them from without. Evil forces aren’t trying to kill whoever bears the Black Staff aren’t Panterra’s only problem – the humans and elves are divided about what to do. Stay in the only remnant of peace they have known, or leave before the valley’s shaky serenity is shattered.
The Dark Legacy of Shannara Series
What the Heart Wants
Love can be messy, and it gets even more complicated when the two lovebirds come from vastly different backgrounds. Such as an Elven girl and a Darkling boy from the Void. It’s light and dark mixing, and the results can be catastrophic – and for the Four Lands, they were. Suckers for a “forbidden love” story will delight, and this is one of the best books by Terry Brooks for them.
Information Is Power
Many moons later, the Four Lands have sunk into all but chaos. The order that once reigned is slowly falling apart: defenders of magic and science are at odds with one another, fighting to get the upper hand. Meanwhile, the Druids, the keepers of wisdom, are dwindling and their teachings are slipping away into oblivion. Even the Elves have distanced themselves from all other races.
In the midst of all this, Aphenglow Elessedil, a young Druid, has found the diaries of the poor Elven girl who had her heart broken thousands of years ago, and discovers what happened to the long-lost elven stones. Knowledge is power, and Aphenglow will discover just how powerful she has become in the eyes of the assassins who are out to kill her. One of the top books written by Terry Brooks.
The Defenders of Shannara Series
The End Is Nigh
With these new Terry Brooks books, he once again gives fans a trilogy set in Shannara. The three loosely connected novels, which can be read perfectly as stand-along books too, are bringing everything together for what will be the end of the Shannara era.
Fans of the universe, please don’t fall into a depression. It is rumored that it will be the end of an era, but not necessarily the end of all books set in the Shannara universe. Brooks has demonstrated that he is capable of doing chronological time travel in his fiction, putting out works that pre-date the events of his earlier books.
Readers will follow Paxon Leah, a direct descendent of the once-mighty warriors that protected the Four Lands. All he has to prove it is a shabby sword hanging over his fireplace.
Little does Paxon know that his destiny holds much more for him and that the sword decorating his house has a worth he can’t quite begin to understand…
The Magic Kingdom of Landover Series
Kingdom for Sale
Ben Holiday was a trial lawyer in Chicago and a very successful one too. He raked in the big bucks with his profession, until one day, when a tragic traffic accident takes the lives of his wife and child, he realizes that his job is not fulfilling.
As he peruses through the ads in the paper in the depths of his depression, his eye catches an interesting one: someone is putting up an entire kingdom for sale. Since he has nothing to live for, Ben decides a kingdom to run may give meaning to his existence.
You would think as a lawyer, Ben would check if the magical property (for lack of a better term) he is purchasing has no latent defects, but Mr. Holiday did not do his due diligence. The Kingdom he is now the proud owner of is riddled with problems.
The ruler is gone and no taxes have been collected in years, meaning the Kingdom’s treasure chest is empty. The nobility refuses to acknowledge the king. The royal dragon is simply withering his days away. Meanwhile, the witch of the land is actively plotting against anything and any cause she finds worthy of plotting against – and the list is pretty long.
Order in the Court
Faced with this mess, other, less determined mortals, would turn away and request a refund. But Ben Holiday is stubborn. And he also has nothing to lose. The Magic Kingdom of Landover is a series dedicated exclusively to the eccentric adventures of a Chicago lawyer who is suddenly swept up into a magical world that he needs to bring to order, or else watch it fall apart.
If you were looking for a read that wasn’t set in Shannara, from all Terry Brooks books this might be the best Terry Brooks series for you. Humorous and light, the somewhat ridiculous premise is the perfect backdrop for the colorful cast of characters to make an appearance against.
Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)