The Elfstones of Shannara (1982)

At the dawn of time the Elves fought against Demons, won and imprisoned them in another dimension. This was accomplished by a spell, embodied by a tree. But the tree has withered, and the Demons are back, trying to destroy their old enemies.

I’ve never read the first Shannara book, the one that has been hailed as a xerox copy of Lord of the Rings. The first one I read was TEoS, and while some of the overarching elements could have been taken from Tolkien (but it’s not as if Tolkien is the origin of good vs evil stories, quest stories, elves, trolls and all the other tropes found in fantasy), Brooks has always been creative when it came to the details of his fantasy world. In fantasy, names have often power, but in fiction even more so. If you can pin down a place or character with just a name, giving him an identity that sticks in the mind of the reader, you’re halfway there. The other half is a good mix of adventure, the right pacing and some plot twists. And TEoS doesn’t disappoint in that regard. If you want epic fantasy, this is a good as it gets.