THE BELGARIAD by David Eddings
Back before David Eddings became a shampoo-rinse-repeat sort of author, churning out the same old storylines and character types, there was the original Belgariad series, which remains by far his best work.
The premise is an old stand-by — farmboy discovers he’s not who he thought he was and, along with a band of helpers, goes on a quest to stop the world’s destruction/domination by the evil one. But Eddings manages to breathe a lot of life into the archetypical plot. His characters are gradually revealed throughout the series to have hidden layers of complexity, his main character, Garion, grows throughout the series, the tone darkens and deepens as one goes on, the world tour is detailed and interesting, the plot quick moving, and there is a great deal of humor laced throughout, often in the form of great character banter.
David Eddings grew up near Seattle, in the Puget Sound area. In 1962, he married Judith Leigh Schall. He worked as a sales clerk at Boeing, a college English teacher, and served in the US Army. His first novel, the adventure High Hunt, debuted in 1973. His fantasy career began in 1982 with Pawn of Prophecy. He eventually published 27 novels. Eddings acknowledged that his wife helped write all of his novels, and her name began appearing on his works in the 1990s. Leigh Eddings died in 2007. Here’s a website devoted to David and Leigh Eddings and here is SFWA’s announcement of David Eddings’ death in 2009.
The Belgariad — (1982-1998) Young adult. Publisher: It all begins with the theft of the Orb that for so long protected the West from an evil god. As long as the Orb was at Riva, the prophecy went, its people would be safe from this corrupting power. Garion, a simple farm boy, is familiar with the legend of the Orb, but skeptical in matters of magic. Until, through a twist of fate, he learns not only that the story of the Orb is true, but that he must set out on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger to help recover it. For Garion is a child of destiny, and fate itself is leading him far from his home, sweeping him irrevocably toward a distant tower — and a cataclysmic confrontation with a master of the darkest magic.
THE BELGARIAD by David Eddings
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
I read Pawn of Prophecy as an adult, a few years ago. I had heard great things about it, so I was disappointed after reading it. The plot is typical "orphan boy saves the world" fantasy, the description is weak, the dialogue is often silly (humor is a focus, and much of the dialogue is funny — but it's not realistic). The pace is rapid, however, and I flew through the book in one day.
The Belgariad would be just right for a teenager (so I give it 3 stars), but not for an adult who's looking for something deeper to savor. Read More
The Malloreon — (1985-1991) Sequel to The Belgariad. Publisher: Garion has slain the evil God Torak and is now the King of Riva. The prophecy has been fulfilled–or so it seems. For there is a dire warning, as a great evil brews in the East. Now Garion once again finds himself with the fate of the world resting on his shoulders. When Garion’s infant son is kidnapped by Zandramas, the Child of Dark, a great quest begins to rescue the child. Among those on the dangerous mission are Garion and his wife, Queen Ce’Nedra, and the immortal Belgarath the Sorcerer and his daughter, Polgara. They must make their way through the foul swamps of Nyissa, then into the lands of the Murgos. Along the way, they will face grave dangers — captivity, a horde of demons, a fatal plague — while Zandramas plots to use Garion’s son in a chilling ritual that will make the Dark Prophecy supreme…
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THE MALLOREON by David Eddings
Take the plot from The Belgariad, add in the same characters, plus a couple of new ones that look strangely similar to ones in The Belgariad, and you have The Malloreon. Instead of chasing the Orb, the gang is chasing Garion and Ce'Nedra's son.
This is a quest type of fantasy, and the same things that made The Belgariad so enjoyable are here: interesting characters and a humourous banter that makes for a quick read. The pace is fast. The difficulty is this: this is the same story as The Belgariad. The humourous banter is starting to get tired, and some of the jokes are recycled.
The characters stopped developing at the end of The Belgariad, except for the new ones... Read More
The Elenium — (1989-1991) Set in a different world than The Belgariad and The Malloreon.
Publisher: Sparhawk, Pandion Knight, and Queen’s Champion have returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find young Queen Ehlanda trapped in a block of ensorcelled crystal. As Sparhawk sets out to find a cure for Ehlana, he discovers that only he can defeat the evil plots that threaten her rule…
Available for download at Audible.com
THE ELENIUM by David Eddings
I loved how The Elenium started. Sparhawk has to be the best character David Eddings has ever imagined. I thought, with the first book of this trilogy, that this series was a real departure from the world of Belgarath, Garion and Polgara.
The story starts as the publisher indicates, and it quickly becomes a quest for a mystical jewel that is buried somewhere. A cast of characters develops, and they go looking for the thing. However, this is where disappointment sets in. Though the characters in these books are different, the banter is the same, the narrative is almost pure dialogue, and after a while, you can't tell which character is speaking.
The pace is the typical Eddings speed, due to the formulaic plot and due to the simple prose. The characterization is hollow, and there is very little development. There could have been, espe... Read More
The Tamuli — (1992-1994) Sequel to The Elenium. Publisher: Danger stalked Queen Ehlana’s realm. When an ambassador from the far-off Tamul Empire begged for help, Sparhawk, Ehlana’s champion and Prince Consort, was the Emperor’s last hope. For surely the knight who had killed the evil God Azash could prevail against the terror in Tamul. But waiting for him was a glittering court seething with corruption, treachery — and the greatest danger Sparhawk would ever face!
Domes of Fire by David Eddings
I could not bring myself to finish Domes of Fire. I stopped somewhere towards the end and thought "why am I wasting my time?" This book is another repeat of the Eddings "gather a group of characters and send them on a long journey" formula, and I just could not do it again.
I can't give a synopsis, because I didn't finish it, but I don't really need to. The plot is the same as everything else that Eddings had written up to the time that this series was done. The narrative is almost pure dialogue with no description at all, and the dialogue is repetitive beyond belief. I got the strong impression that Eddings really was milking his name for all it was worth, because there was nothing redeeming about Domes of Fire at all. Sparhawk even stopped being Sparhawk. The characters just started to run ... Read More
The Dreamers — (2003-2006) Publisher: While most continents float freely on the face of Mother Sea, the Land of Dhrall survives anchored by the will of the Gods. AllGods, Elder and Younger, share the people and the land of Dhrall equally. But the one place they never enter is The Wasteland: a barren and hideous wilderness ruled by the Vlagh-a god-like creature whose young are evil spawn. Now, as the Elder Gods are about to transfer their power to the Younger Gods, the Vlagh plans to take advantage of their weakened state and neutralize them, eventually conquering the world. To do so, it is breeding a terrible force borne of monsters and demons. But one ray of hope shines through the darkness: four children called the Dreamers. They alone hold the power to change the course of history… and stop the Vlagh in its quest for total world domination.
The Redemption of Althalus by David & Leigh Eddings
The Redemption of Althalus was almost as bad as Domes of Fire. I read it because I thought that maybe David & Leigh Eddings got better. Unfortunately, it was more of the same. That’s the end of my review. Otherwise, I’ll just be repeating myself.
Our guest this week for Why You Should Read... is none other than the illustrious John Ottinger III, the chap behind Grasping For The Wind. He can also be found on Twitter as @johnottinger -- and his subject today is David Eddings, one of the most beloved fantasy author icons.
David Eddings is my all-time favorite author. As one of the first authors of fantasy I ever read, his work has a nostalgic quality for me. It’s a reminder of those days in middle school when I could spend an entire day reading (I was homeschooled) and finish one of his 600+ page novels in one sitting. Eddings (who wrote most of his work in conjunction with his wife Leigh) also made reading fun, using wry humor and silly yet fond interpersonal relationships to turn his ep... Read More