Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pawn of Prophecy, Book 1 of the Belgariad by David Eddings

Posted by lea at 1:41 PM
I came across this childhood favourite of mine at a church jumble sale and bought it for $1. What a bargain for this fantastic fantasy fiction.

I enjoyed rereading it enormously – the characters are well-drawn and diverse, the action is vivid and in true fantasy fashion, the journey is epic. The best thing about Pawn of Prophecy is the handful of characters who are drawn together to undertake a journey and complete a task (on which the balance of the world hangs, of course). Each has different strengths and weaknesses, motivations, backgrounds and heartaches, and their interactions are priceless. The whole setup reminds me a lot of the fellowship in Lord of the Rings (as most post-Tolkien fantasies do) but I didn’t know that when I first read this book.

There are elements in the Pawn of Prophecy seen in many other fantasy novels – whole worlds, different races, wise magicians, jealous gods, underdog heroes who discover their destiny and a long journey to right a world gone wrong. So while a lot of it is not strictly original, the book is engrossing and, best of all, genuinely funny. Sometimes the humour is a little... young and somewhat repetitive, but it's still very enjoyable.

The main weakness in the series that I can see now as an adult is that things work out too perfectly – none of the main characters dies, almost everyone finds their match, the world is set aright and they go riding off into the sunset (so to speak). There’s a depth to sorrow and heartache in children's books that grab the juvenile heart and force a kid to grow up, and it is unfortunate that Eddings didn't capture that in this series. Who can forget bawling over Charlotte’s Web and Bridge to Terabithia? Eddings gives the reader exactly what we want – which is satisfying for us, but cheats the series of being great.

Rating: 8/10
Highly enjoyable and satisfying read. And I adore Garion.


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