A while back I was given Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks as a Christmas present. Recognising it as a watery blend of most popular fantasy novels I discarded it before I read ten pages. Recently I attempted to reread it, noticing thirty pages in that the only women referred to were the dead mothers of two of the protagonists.
The story is relatively simple, a naive half elf goes out on a quest to find an ultimately powerful artifact after being warned of deep danger by a mystically powerful man. He and his small-town brother have to travel to a dwarven city to avoid the dark servants of the Warlord King. They pick up a human along the way who is a skilled tracker, swordsman and happens to be of royal blood (and he also has a dead mother). They travel through a forest and a marsh to be attacked by a tentacled thing. A mysterious, benevolent man helps the protagonist and his brother to find the dwarven city. The royal tracker human gets separated from the brothers and is almost eaten by a tree who creates the illusion of a beautiful girl to lure manly travellers into its leafy clutches. Once the brothers get to the city it is revealed that they must to go on a further quest, gathering a small skilled party of people to make a daring raid into an enemy strong hold (the safety of the world rests on their shoulders!).
The party starts their adventure, a few humans, an unknown, two elves, a halfling elf and a dwarf. It is revealed that one of the elves has a female fiance in the conversation of the following morn. DING DING DING! It took a hundred and six pages before an alive woman (of course she is referred to as a “beautiful girl”) is mentioned. Three dead mothers and a illusion siren pre-empted her, as did much story telling about the race of Man, good guys and bad guys. I don’t want to know how much of that crap I would have to read to discover a named female character (*shock* *horror*).
In summary, men suck. kthnxbai.