Reviews of Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold! (1986)
Seriously Terry, put an end to that never-ending Shannara *bad word* and write stuff which is more like this.
This book marks the beginning of one of the best fantasies ever written up to date. The plot is flawless while the writing style is amazing as well. The way Brooks connects Landover to our world is very intriguing and it is the first time I have read something of the sort. If this keeps up (knowing Terry Brooks's work, I don't think so), I'll have my book shelf full of books that are NOT a waste of space...
Review by alacombe (2005-11-08)
A magic kingdom for sale in a Christmas wish catalogue catches the attention of Ben Holiday. Recently widowed and struggling to remain focused on his "lawyer life," Ben's curiosity wins out. His life is forever changed as he crosses to a magical kingdom, which is every bit what we had hoped for, and a lot of what he hadn't.
I found the choice of crossing over into a fantasy world, rather than starting there, quite intriguing. I enjoyed the connection it gave Ben to our world. Somehow, it made the story more believable.
The characters in this story are well developed and easy to love or hate, as the case may be. I appreciate that there are enough characters to make the story interesting, but not so many that you lose track of them. Another plus for me is that the names were not difficult; I didn't have to spend a great deal of time refiguring out what they were each time I read them.
One of the things that makes Ben a "real person" is that he doesn't forget his dead wife, quickly. She isn't just a necessary character to make the plot line work. He is allowed the true emotion of grief.
This book is enjoyable from cover to cover. Its array of events leads you through a well-paced fantasy. It develops, sustains and concludes in a satisfying and fun story. It, of course, sets you up to want to read the next book in the series.
I think the only deterrent would be for those who enjoy convoluted and complex fantasy. This may not fit the bill on that type of order.
Review by mrdude (2005-02-15)
Magic Kingdom for Sale SOLD! The first book in the Magic Kingdom of Landover Series by Terry Brooks is a the story of recent widower Ben Holiday, who finds an add in a department store Christmas catalogue for a "Magic Kingdom for sale".
I was very pleased with this book, although somewhat surprised by it as well. I had expected something funny and outlandish, and although it did have it moments, it was a surprisingly serious piece of fiction. This is the first book I have read by Terry Brooks and I am pleased to say he is indeed a good writer. In this tale he combines his knowledge from being a lawyer, with his skills as a fantasy writer. The combination may seem odd, but it really makes the main character more believable in addition to making him someone who we can relate to a little bit more than your average fantasy hero. I was also quite impressed at the amount of effort Brooks put in to making his world really substantial. He refused to gloss over the minor details and instead presented them to the reader in ways that kept the story moving as well. Uniqueness also played a key role in my appreciation of this novel. Although the author does use creatures that are quite common in fantasy works, Trolls, dragons and faeries, he manages to make them unique to his own story and own world.
Bad things about the book? I would really have to grasp at straws to find them. I think most of the things one might find bothersome about the book are more a matter of preference. If you are a die hard fantasy reader and do not enjoy it when the book starts off in a modern age, then this book would probably not be for you. Although with that I might add that I rarely enjoy such a premise but still felt that the authors use of such in this novel was not a hindrance. I would complain about the story not resolving, but it is within a series so I expected that. So I really have no complaints about the book and suggest that you read it, fantasy fan or not.
(Review also posted at the IBDoF)