It's probably safe to say that 99% of fantasy readers have, at some point, read Terry Brooks. He's prolific and reliable, although the standard critique of his writing would also include "derivative and prosaic". I think readers would be well-served to ignore those critics if they're in need of a fantasy fix. The Genesis of Shannara
trilogy is not chronologically first
in the massive Shannara series, but it's pretty close. The setting is post-nuclear apocalypse Earth, with a blend of fantasy elements that I thoroughly enjoyed. There are knights and demons and elves but they live and work in secret and the average person would deny their existence. There are breeds of "monsters" as well (Lizards and Spiders and Once-Men), but they're a known threat derived from genetic mutations. The plot is also familiar to fantasy fans: an otherwise unremarkable boy is the world's only hope of salvation from complete destruction by a powerful evil. And that's where the critics start piping up with "derivative!", but who cares? If you like those kinds of stories or are looking to scratch a fantasy or post-apocalypse itch, grab it up - Brooks might not be the best but he won't fail to satisfy. Whatever You Do, Don't Run
was a bit of a disappointment. It's essentially just an undirected series of "war stories" from a safari guide; the time I got a truckload of tourists stuck in the middle of a hippo-infested river, the time I found a snake in the outhouse, the time I scared off a water buffalo with a fart - that sort of thing. He's got some good yarns to tell, he's just not especially good at telling them. I also got the impression that he had a bit of a dude-bro personality, which was not endearing. He's a successful eco-tourism guide and environmental advocate, but his book would have benefitted greatly from a co-writer who could have also listed "author" on their resumé.