Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

When it comes to modern classic series of fantasy, there are a few names that always pop up: The Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, Shannara, The Riftwar Cycle, Dragaeran (Vlad Taltos) series, and on and on, this being a very, very small sample of some of those that tend to pop up a lot. Among these series belongs David Eddings’ first foray into fantasy, The Belgariad. Originally released as five novels (and continuing into the five novel Mallorean and a couple prequels, along with a companion book), it is now also available in a set of two omnibuses. Having read the first novel quite some years ago and enjoying it, I picked up the omnibus so I could start from the beginning and actually read the other books this time.

Garion is a simple farm boy who lives with his Aunt Pol on a farm in the country. However, when the wandering storyteller returns and tidings of evil are spread, Garion finds a far more powerful destiny lies ahead of him. Along with his Aunt Pol and the storyteller, Mister Wolf, the loyal smith Durnik, and a couple of new allies, Garion begins a quest along the Western Kingdoms, meeting kings and rulers, as his group sets out to find a powerful artifact that has been stolen. Yet this is only the beginning of a vast quest that will change the entire world.

Once you pick up Pawn of Prophecy, it is hard to put down. The beautifully rendered style matches the story perfectly, and each character is unique. They meld together to truly be more than the sum of their parts.

Yet, one of the best parts of the book is how comfortable it is to step in and feel at home. It is a story with archetypes, yet it never feels clich├ęd or overdone. There is no real question on how this will turn out, but that doesn’t matter, because the joy and pleasure of the book is the characters, the interactions, and the beauty of the journey. In a way, this could be called comfort reading, but that might do an injustice to what Eddings has wrought, which is a wonderful story that won’t disappoint.


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