Books of the Month - December 2008
For the last Book of the Month selections for 2008, I thought it would be good (for me) to stroll down memory lane and review one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. That series is The Belgariad, written by David Eddings.
That being the case, the first selection is Volume One, which contains the first three books in the original five book series. The first book, Pawn of Prophecy was published in 1982, followed by Queen of Sorcery, also in 1982 and Magician's Gambit in 1983.
I first stumbled on this series when I was a junior in high school and loved it from the first time I read it. I've been rereading this series recently, as I've done five or six times over the past twenty years.
The Belgariad will never be confused or mistaken for The Lord of the Rings trilogy or other pillars of the fantasy genre and that really is too bad. Eddings' puts in place some of his philosophy on the fantasy genre. His character development is strong, and the detail of the world in which his characters roam is wonderful. The characters are flawed but compelling and you become invested in them and actually care about (what happens to) them.
The story may be ordinary as far as the fantasy genre goes but there is something compelling about Eddings' writing style, though far from perfect, that keeps bringing me back. I seem to lose track of time when I get involved reading this story, even after all these years. Though I must say that I'm not too keen on this combined 3-in-1 book and prefer reading the individual volumes instead. Below is the original cover art for the first three books.
Pawn of Prophecy opens with the boy Garion living on a farm and being raised by his Aunt Pol. Occasionally a mysterious storyteller drops by the farm to visit. On one occasion the storyteller, comes by with news that a certain object has been stolen and needs to be recovered quickly, uprooting the life of Garion, his Aunt and Durnik, the smith. Turns out that the storyteller is Belgarath, a 7,000 year old sorcerer who happens to be Garion's grandfather, several hundred generations removed and Aunt Pol is Polgara the Sorceress, who herself is 3,000 years old. Garion, Durnik, Polgara and Belgarath are joined by other characters, and the quest to recover the certain object, which happens to be the powerful and legendary Orb of Aldur, begins.
I'm not going to tell you what happens in the other books. You'll have to find out for yourself! And I hope you do just that! Suffice it to say though that everyone I've recommended this series to over the years has loved it. I've never gotten any bad feedback from anyone.
Purchase your copy here.
The second selection this month is Volume Two, containing books four and five of the original five book series. The fourth book, Castle of Wizardry and the fifth book, Enchanter's End Game were both published in 1984.
Castle of Wizardry opens with Garion receiving his birthright and thus becoming King Belgarion, the long awaited heir to the Rivan throne and Guardian of the West. But one daunting task remains for the young king, of which prophecies have spoken for millennia. How it will turn out is anyone's guess, and nothing less than the fate of the universe rides on the outcome. Obviously.
Purchase your copy here.