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The Belgariad by David Eddings

Review by Mike

The series consist of five books:
Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
Queen of Sorcery (1982)
Magician's Gambit (1983)
Castle of Wizardry (1984)
Enchanters' End Game (1984)

The Belgariad is one of the most well-known fantasy epics available today. It has been the first step into fantasyland for many readers, but is also held as something particularly repulsive by people who consider fantasy a genre of little or no literary merit. I read this series, and the sequel (Malloreon) series, in the early 90's when they were first published in Swedish, setting off a fantasy boom over here.

David Eddings' concept strongly reminds me of a visit to McDonald's. It doesnít have much taste, but it fills your tummy for the moment. There is little in the way of variety. Still, a lot of people eat there once in a while, most of them because itís quick and cheap. When they want something to satisfy their taste buds, they choose another restaurant.

Let's list the ingredients of this particular McEddings meal. We have a medieval world, consisting of ten countries or so. The population of each country is easily recognisable from their national traits, which seem to be inherited from their specific god. The Tolnedrans are all shrewd merchants, the Nyissans are dope addicts and the Murgos are generally stupid.

Into that world we add our young and innocent hero, Garion. To help him he has a group of sidekicks, some of them teaching him all he has to know to grow into his role as world saviour and some who protect him from various baddies. All of them are rather likeable guys, though not very believable as each one of them is based on a single characteristic. They are a happy little group, travelling from one danger to another in a spirit of friendly banter ŗ la Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Finally we pour a cup of Standard High Fantasy Plot 1A into the mix - the eternal battle between Good and Evil, a quest to regain an object of immense power and the fulfilment of an ancient prophecy. The main elements you can guess after having read the first fifty pages. Now we just have to sprinkle some romance on top and itís ready to print.

This may seem like a cynical and rather mean way to describe a series, and you probably think I don't like it at all. That is not completely true. If you accept that there is absolutely nothing original or unexpected, The Belgariad can be a good way to spend a couple of boring days. Eddings is actually a decent storyteller, and the books are fast paced and full of action. I give it three out of five amulets.

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