Friday, December 12, 2008

David Eddings, Pawn of Prophecy

I have a colleague who, several years ago, recommended Eddings's Belgariad series to me. Pawn of Prophecy is Book One in that series.

Truth be told, I wasn't terribly impressed with this. Now, maybe I'm just not in the mood right now for reading fantasy -- a tough pill for me to swallow as it is -- but I found this book extremely difficult to get into. There were several aspects of this book that easily reminded me of Tolkien, and the whole time I was reading this I found myself wondering how it is that certain elements and motifs in Tolkien have simply become part of the fantasy style: names that harken to Anglo-Saxonry, like "Garion" and "Aldur" and "Torak"; mystical settings that seem elemental (fire, air, water, and rock); social structures that are based on monarchy; the traditional "quest" narrative structure, etc. Not that I have any problem with it, but it seems that in the forty-five years spanning Tolkien's and Eddings's respective works, not much has really changed in the genre. Am I right?

Again, I'm not a big fan of fantasy ... so I am just likely not "getting" it. But as far as I'm concerned, the fantasy genre begins and ends with Tolkien, and the rest are just wannabes.

Someone out there please prove me wrong! Show me what I'm missing.

In the meantime, I wouldn't waste time reading Pawn of Prophecy when I can re-read The Return of the King ...

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