I read some of the Shannara books after reading Tolkien
, and my impression is that it is pure commercial pap
, pandering to the escapist.
The pattern is terribly simple: unlikely hero-big trouble happens-big dude arrives, drags unlikely hero into big trouble-unlikely hero triumphs over adversity.
Repeat with the following generations of unlikely hero's offspring, write a zillion book.
I mean, could we have something that does not quite lend itself so much to formula analisis (and formulaic repetition) ? If I want to read finite state automata I can write myself one based on Propp's work and run it until my CPU explodes.
After all this bitterness, some hope: go and read Gene Wolfe
. He is not innocent of the sin of repetition, but at least he is colorful.