If you read my review of BOOK ONE, then you’re primed for this new piece on my (very late) foray into fantasy. Like I’ve said before, I’m writing a fantasy book of my own and am going into stories that I’ve never seen before for research purposes. Yes, I’ve read “Lord Of The Rings” and so forth, and I’ve seen “Legend” and “Willow” and all that stuff. I don’t need your recommendations on that stuff. What I do need is a bit of closure on these books by Mr. Eddings. If you’re in, let’s see those comments! Also, yes, if you know of any great, little known books I should read, please comment!
The stage is set for the recounting of the battle of Vo Mimbre, where the legendary Brand nearly smote the god Torak. We learn then that a beaten down Torak ended up sleeping in recovery until a new Rivan King emerged for him to later wage war upon. These events provide clues to young Garion’s future, and we are left with the books that follow to tell that tale. Because this book won’t do it. What this book does is show us LOTS of cool adventure and scenery, then wraps up with a great reveal.
We start in Arendia. In this piece, Eddings wants to takes us all over his globe, which is fantastic. All kinds of lore kicks in, including Polgara’s fond memories of the lost city of Vo Wacune, giving weight to her previously thornful personality.
The fellowship grows with Hettar, the horse master, and Lelldorin, the dimwitted ranger. Of the two, only Hettar grows with us, and he seems to be a Grolim-hater who has more love for horses than he does people. Sounds like he wears simple clothes and rocks a thick braid over the top of his shaved head. If we were to go there, I’d say he was Eddings’ version of an old school Native American.
Lots of cool stuff happens in this book, proving Eddings was not out of ideas. The attack of the Algroths, the shadow of the evil priest, Mandorallen’s joust challenge, Silk’s stealthy conversation with Delvor, in disguise as Radek – all of the action proving that we still had cool things for our characters to do and Eddings knew it. We were even given some backstory on the Arends. Seems their royalty was famous for inbreeding and that would account for their long line of stupidity.
I can’t say that I loved the whole thing. Some of it was seemingly intentionally confusing. For instance, the Horbites, Vorduvians, et. al. extend to the already harsh need to keep account of races and residents in this world. Eddings really could have toned it down because it was terribly hard to keep up. When we meet the Dryads, they left a memorable impression as this universe’s version of elves. That was fine. But none of the other introductions left such lasting uses. It was all very convoluted.
Durnik Watch! – as with the last book, Durnik is left with almost nothing to do or say. It’s laughable how badly this character is handled. We know that he loves Polgara and that he’s a simple handyman. That’s it! Eddings seems fine with not giving a shit more about that dude because on page 192 of the paperback (halfway through!), Durnik says something and I was like, Oh yeah – Durnik’s in this story. It’s such a joke how badly this character is handled, I swear. All he ever does is make fires and build stuff and, maybe, tell Garion to act right.
Eddings seems to have based the entire story around the band traveling to and fro, always trying to warn various kingdoms of impending doom, and nothing else of real merit beyond what happens until the last couple chapters. It’s not a good book, but what it does do, it does splendidly. And by that, I mean, It is awesome at giving our characters something to do. But the real meat lies at the end of the book. Most and foremost, it brings us the great character of Mandorallen, a fantastic character with a huge ego that makes him stand out amongst the crowd. A knight who thinks very highly of himself. He is, so far, my favorite character.
Okay, here’s where I start thinking that the damn series should be a movie. I have my dream cast, so here it is….
Belgarath – for some reason, I think something crazy like Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino fits this bill. If I can’t be crazy, then, Max Von Sydow.
Polgara – Morena Baccarin or Catherin Zeta Jones.
Garion – Skyler Gisondo
Silk – Tom Felton
Barak – The Rock
Hettar – Rick Mora
This my list so far. Who’s on your list? Okay bye.