Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!

Title: Magic Kingdom for Sale - Sold!
Author: Terry Brooks
Genre: Fantasy Novel
Length: 324 pages
Published: 1986

My Rating: 3.5 / 5

Summary: Chicago lawyer Ben Holiday finds an ad in a specialty catalog listing a magic kingdom for sale. Price: $1,000,000. Fed up with the real world anyway, Holiday decides to purchase the kingdom, thereby assuming the position of its king. Things get complicated, however, when he finds out that the magic kingdom of Landover—a real magical world complete with knights, wizards, and fairies—has its share of problems, bringing (now Hight Lord) Holiday face to face with dragons, witches, and an army of demons in his attempt to gain the pledges of the population and convince them that he can provide the leadership and protection that they need.

My Review: This is a fun book, with a different and largely original take on the “normal person suddenly finds himself in the fantasy world” premise that forms the basis of so many fantasy novels now and historically.

What I liked: The book moves fast enough to keep you interested, but not so fast that you get lost and can’t understand what is going on. It was a fun book, a not altogether serious one; good for to relax and get out of the real world a little bit yourself.

What I didn’t: There’s a lot of profanity in this book. Nothing strong, but enough of it to make me mildly annoyed. I absolutely hate the little tree fairy girl Willow; if I were in Landover, the first thing I would do would be to send her head first into the fairy world.

Rating: Three and a half out of five. Good enough to read, but not so good that you’ll need to rush out and buy it or recommend that all your friends read it. It’s also the first book of a four or five book (and not necessarily finished yet) series, and it wasn’t so good as to convince me to read the rest of them (at least not right now). It probably lost an entire point because of the character Willow, whom I detest, and whom I am told marries the main character further along in the series (which may be why I won’t be reading the rest of the series any time soon).

Note: This is the first of my “Book Reviews” section, so I’m still working the bugs out of the system. Let me know what you think of it (add a comment to this post if you have something to add).


  1. I read this one back when it was published, and loathed it. On the one hand, it actually had a fairly novel idea. On the other, it reminded me of cotton candy — cloyingly sweet, with no nutritional value.

    Brooks is also responsible for the “Shannara” tolkien clones, which I gave up on after number two or so.

    I think what perturbs me is that he *can* write. He has a smooth prose style and can come up with an idea when he feels like it. The problem is, he seldom seems to feel like it. It’s like he discovered “Hey, crap sells! I’ll write *crap*!”, and put his creative sense on autopilot.

    I feel roughly the same about Piers Anthony, but Piers has an excuse: he takes the money from his writing and uses it to buy virgin land in Florida to *keep* it undeveloped. Endless Xanth retreads sell better than serious work, so endless Xanth retreads is what he does. I support the ideal, even if I can’t read the output that supports it.

    If Brooks has any such excuse, I’m unaware of it.

    Comment by dmccunney — November 27, 2005 @ 11:22 pm

  2. I’m here to speak for the younger class that reads this novel. I thought it was perfect for its purpose: an enjoyable fairy tale. If you were expecting another Charles Dickens, then obviously you were going to be disappointed. In our school district the reading level of Magic Kingdom For Sale - Sold is only a 6.9. That means it meets the requirements of a sixth grader in their nonth month of school. That’s not quite a college level reading. So, I rest my case by sying I thought it was enjoyable and would reccommend it if asked.

    Comment by Aari — December 8, 2005 @ 11:28 pm

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