Escape Velocity

A curated Collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction Media

Ben Holiday, a depressed lawyer whom has lost his joy in life after losing his wife and unborn child in a car accident, gets the unique offer to buy a magical kingdom called Landover. Though Ben thinks this offer is too good to be true, he knows one thing for sure: he’s got nothing left to lose. He might as well seek out what this so-called kingdom entails, no?

The first book I ever read from Terry Brooks – some twenty years ago – was the first book in his Shannara series. I vividly remember I hated it and did not even come close to finishing it. It left me with the conviction that Terry Brooks – although not necessarily a bad writer – was seemingly not capable of originality. Still, somehow I chose to pick up Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold! some time later. This book proved much more to my liking, and I read most of its sequels.

Recently, I reread Kingdom for Sale: Sold! because I craved something comfortable and was feeling… nostalgic, I guess. And, even though I’m a little more critical than when I was a pre-teen, I’ll confess I still very much liked the concept of this series. There is just something very charming about a cynical lawyer protagonist that winds up as a king in a fantasy kingdom with both whacky and sinister elements. I can’t say too much without spoiling things, but Terry Brooks manages to balance different tones quite well in this series, especially after establishing the specifics of his worldbuilding.

Is Kingdom for Sale: Sold! a masterpiece? No, I don’t think so. At times it has a tendency to repeat itself, negatively impacting its pacing. It also lacks the emotional depth I usually look for in my media. However, its characters are very fun and/or cool (a certain dragon and hag come to mind). It’s a book that after all those years still managed to make me chuckle, and that’s quite powerful in these trying times. Additionaly, I remember the sequels introducing some pretty neat plot twists and worldbuilding aspects, so I’ll probably pick them up when I come across them again. This probably means you should also give this book a chance when you come upon it. The Prism Cat knows The Magic Kingdom of Landover books deserve it more than the Shannara series. 

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