Book Reviews

The Belgariad

The Belgariad; David Eddings; ISBNs unknown

  1. Pawn of Prophecy
  2. Queen of Sorcery
  3. Magician's Gambit
  4. Castle of Wizardry
  5. Enchanters' EndGame

I really enjoyed this swords and sorcery fantasy series. The Belgariad is a series of five books (a quintet) about a boy raised on a farm who is a lot more that he thinks that he is. It's hard to say very much about it without giving away the plot, but it involves Belgarath the Sorcerer, a sorcerer and first disciple of the god Aldur who has lived for seven thousand years; his daughter, Polgara, who is about four thousand years old and the boy that she raises, Garion. Together with the mysterious Silk and Barak, they must race to find the Apostate who has stolen something of great value and will use it to awaken the evil (or mad, or just egotistical depending on how you read it) god Torak from his five hundred year sleep.

This may sound like a load of old, worn tosh, but it is a captivating book. Once you start reading it, it really draws the reader into the storyline. The storyline itself is clever, and never lets the reader get complacent. The supporting characters are all well developed and you come to care for them as much as you do for the heroes. The character of Silk in particular has fascinated me from the start, and he gets developed most as the series progresses, and well into the sequel series – the Mallorean. As you read on, the comparisons with the Lord of the Rings become more and more apparent, but Eddings steers a careful line between using some of Tolkien's concepts and blatently ripping him off. His narrative is well written and keeps you enthralled. The way that sorcery is dealt with,"the Will and the Word" – i.e. using your will to perform an action, and saying a word to focus the will – is also refreshing and new. I read the entire quintet within about three weeks, and the only reason that I didn't finish it sooner, because my local library didn't have it in stock, so I had to order the final volume from a different library, which took some days.

I would have no hesitation in recommending the Belgariad to anybody who enjoys fantasy.

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