Hey there readers, I’ve got another doozy of a review to provide here, and it is one that I am ridiculously excited about. As many of you know, I am a huge nerd and proud of it. My reading and art habits absolutely reflect that, so when I recieved a new fantasy novel earlier this year as part of a huge book exchange (which I’d love to do again) I was pumped. The novel in question, Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings, was the first in a long series that I’d never heard of. By the time I finished the first few chapters, however, I knew I needed more. Within days I had ordered the four books that completed the first series, The Belgariad, as well as the next 5 book series, The Mallorean, and the two accompanying texts, Polgara the Sorceress and Belgarath the Sorcerer.
To say I was hooked and blown away by the magnitude of these book is an absolute understatement. The book tell the story of Garion, a young man who first comes to us through every day life on a local farm. His friends are typical medieval children, and the farm they live and work on is really more like a village. Garion is your typical orphaned child, living on the farm with his aunt who has made her way in the world as a cook for the house. Life is average, almost mundane, for Garion and Aunt Pol. Sometimes a storyteller will come to visit who seems to know both of them quite well, but Garion thinks little of it. All his life he has heard the legend and stories the storyteller circulates. Tales of Gods and creation, a stone that is the most powerful object in the known universe, and one God who decided he would rule all else by stealing the stone – which turned on him and scarred him with its glorious fire.
Garion is thrown into the middle of these tales and so much more when he learns the old storyteller is actually the ancient sorcerer Belgarath, who is more than 7,000 years old – and Garion’s grandfather. These books are absolutely filled with myth, legend, action, world-building, gods, magic, and so much emotion it can’t even be contained.
David Eddings was incredibly masterful at creating a world filled with characters I grew emotionally invested in. I found myself cheering for the heroes, laughing at their jokes, loving their friendship, mourning their sadness, and hating the enemies of the world. To be sure, a 10 book series with two accompanying texts seems like a lot to deal with – even greater that Tolkien’s tomes of Middle Earth – but these books are so immersive I flew through them. Several of the 3-400+ page books were done in just a couple of days and each one left me yearning for more. I devoured two thirds of the last book in less than a day and, as much as I would love to have more of Garion and his friends to entertain and move me, I can honestly say Eddings closed their tales in a rarely satisfying way.
In today’s world, with new movies and series springing up from some of our favorite classic tales, it is becoming increasingly easy for people to simply say they’ll wait for the books to be released on the big (or small) screen. That may well never be the case for these series. Eddings was adamant during his lifetime that his work never be watered down by alternate mediums. He stated that he wanted people to enjoy the Belgariad and its related works, but that he never wanted them made into movies or video games. He wanted people to read his words and live the worlds the way they were intended to be lived. Frankly, as much as I enjoy seeing my favorite works of literature translated into books, series, video games, music, and more, I agree. These books are simply so fantastic, so filled with lore and magic and strength and power, that they would almost surely lose much of their weight through translation.
In short, I set these books very high on my list of favorites, not only of the fantasy genre, but of literature as a whole. I would recommend them to most any reader at any age level from early YA to adult. The content is not overly suggestive (especially compared even to modern cable television) and it is not particularly difficult to understand. Beware of some violence, and some theological and even philosophical content, which is typical with this sort of narrative. Most of all, be sure to keep your mind open and ready to be immersed in a world like no other. If you’ve read these books before I’d love to know what you think of them, and if I’ve inspired you to give them a whirl I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Keep reading, everyone!