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More enjoyable than the ten main volumes.

Posted : 10 years ago on 28 August 2009 11:21 (A review of Belgarath the Sorcerer: The Prequel to the Belgariad)

This is the first prequel to the Belgariad and Malloreon (before Polgara the Sorceress).

In this prequel, Belgarath tells us about his youth and how he became Aldur's pupil and then disciple, along with his brothers Zedar, the twins Belkira and Beltira, Belmakor, Belsambar and the dwarf Beldin.

For a while they all live happily in the Vale, quietly studying, until Aldur's evil brother Torak steals the Orb and cracks the World.

Then follows a history of the events that led to the birth of Garion the Godslayer: Belgarath's meeting the remarkable she-wolf who'll become his wife Poledra, the division of Aloria between Cherek and his sons Dras, Algar and Riva, the birth of his daughters Polgara and Beldaran, the start of the Rivan line and Torak's disciples' efforts to obliterate it, the Battle of Vo Mimbre...

All the while, Belgarath and his brothers are taking care that everything clicks together, deciphering madmen's prophecies, and accordingly arranging meetings and marriages to ensure that Garion will be surrounded by the right companions when the time comes.

All in all, I enjoyed re-reading this prequel more than the ten main volumes, even though Belgarath's flaunty remarks to the reader tended to rile me. Eddings's style and plot crafting has definitely improved during the years between the writing of The Seeress of Kell and this present volume. I hope I will now enjoy Polgara the Sorceress as much as I did when I first read it, it's always been my favourite among the lot!

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Anticlimactic and unworrisome.

Posted : 10 years, 3 months ago on 19 June 2009 11:51 (A review of Seeress of Kell (The Malloreon))

This is the fifth and final book in the Malloreon (after Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda and Sorceress of Darshiva).

In this volume, the heroes first make their way to Kell and the place of the Seers to learn the location of the Place Which Is No More, where the final meeting between Garion and Zandramas must take place.

They then sail to the Island of Perivor and its very Arendish society, and finally to the Turim Reef in the middle of the Sea of the East.

I found this final volume rather anticlimactic. Even though Zandramas does everything to hinder Garion and his friends, trying to prevent them from reaching the appointed place at the appointed time, I knew (and not only because I've already read these books) that the Prophecy that's been dictating their lives and the destiny of the world for eons would get them there eventually, so I wasn't even worried about the outcome. The final chapters were a little too mushy for my liking too.

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Too few things of note

Posted : 10 years, 4 months ago on 19 May 2009 06:23 (A review of Sorceress of Darshiva (The Malloreon))

This is the fourth book in the Malloreon (after Guardians of the West and King of the Murgos, and Demon Lord of Karanda, and Seeress of Kell).

In this volume our companions keep heading further East, as far as the island of Melcene, and start heading towards Kell where should be revealed the location of the Place Which Is No More.

Too few things of note happen in this volume. Our heroes are still tailing Zandramas and dodging various conflicts taking place around Mallorea (between Urvon's Karand army, Zandramas's Darshivans, their demons, Dals, Gandahar and their war elephants...). A couple of passages were enjoyable though: in the University of Melcene when Garion and company meet Senji, a clubfooted alchemist and untrained sorcerer who tells them more about the Sardion, and when the party is finally caught up by Zakath, the emperor of Mallorea, whom they gave the slip in the previous book.

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Discovering another complex character.

Posted : 10 years, 5 months ago on 12 April 2009 08:27 (A review of Demon Lord of Karanda (The Malloreon))

Discovering another complex character.

This is the third book in the Malloreon (after Guardians of the West and King of the Murgos, and berfore Sorceress of Darshiva and Seeress of Kell).

The first half of the book takes place in the immense Mallorean capital Mal Zeth, where Garion, Ce'Nedra, Belgarath and Polgara, Durnik, Toth, Silk and Velvet, Sadi and Eriond are spending spring as reluctant guests in the imperial palace, trying to convince Kal Zakath to let them leave again on their quest.

In the second half, after finally managing to escape with the help of Silk's associate Yarblek, the Nadrak merchant, Vella and a voluble juggler named Feldegast, our heroes make for Ashaba where, according to Cyradis the seeress, they might catch up with Zandramas.

What I enjoyed the most in this volume was discovering, alongside Garion, Kal Zakath's complex and as it turned out, even friendly personality. In the same vein as with Urgit, the Murgo king, I liked finding out that there was more to him than met the eye. I hope to see more of them both before the end.

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Half déjà vu, half voilà!

Posted : 10 years, 6 months ago on 20 March 2009 01:54 (A review of King of the Murgos (The Malloreon))

This is the second book in the Malloreon (after Guardians of the West, and before Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva, and Seeress of Kell).

In this volume we follow Garion and Ce'Nedra as they pursue Zandramas, who abducted their infant son Geran, heir to the throne of Riva, and follow the prophecy announcing yet another meeting between the Child of Light and the Child of Dark.

Accompanied by Belgarath and his daughter Polgara, Silk and Velvet the spies, Durnik the smith, the giant mute Toth, and Sadi the eunuch, their route leads from Ulgoland to Tolnedra, then through the Wood of the Dryads into the swamps of Nyissa, and finally across the kingdom of the Murgos to the Isle of Verkat.

Even though I was glad to see our companions hitting the road again after the tiresome first volume, the account of their adventures gave me a strong sense of déjà vu. Thankfully, mid-book, the story picked up again as they started exploring new territories. I particularly enjoyed the meeting with the Murgo king Urgit and his court. I hope we meet this interesting character again in the future.

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Dragging, then disorderly.

Posted : 10 years, 9 months ago on 11 December 2008 09:49 (A review of Guardians of the West (The Malloreon))

This is the first book in the Malloreon (before King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva, and Seeress of Kell).

In this volume we first follow Errand, Polgara and Durnik as they settle for a quiet life in the Vale of Aldur, doing up Poledra's cottage, Errand growing up and playing in the river, until they get news from Riva that Garion and Ce'Nedra barely speak to each other anymore. This can't go on, so they travel to the Isle of the Wind to put an end to the King and Queen of the West's squabble.

One evening, the Orb glows red instead of blue. The Voice of the Prophecy warns Errand and Garion to "Beware Zandramas!", and that there'll be yet another meeting between the Childs of Light and Dark. Garion needs to start looking for explanations and answers in the codices.

Meanwhile, the Alorns are getting impatient for an heir to the Rivan throne. With the help of her Dryad cousins, at long last Ce'Nedra becomes pregnant. But this baby is also a threat to some people's ambitions, and Geran soon becomes the target of numerous attacks.

I found the beginning of this second pentalogy, with its drawn-out accounts of day-to-day life in both the Vale and Riva, rather tedious and slow to get going. In contrast, the end comprises so many rash, inordinate assaults all over the place and so many twists, that instead of relishing some long-awaited action, I was overwhelmed by it and lost interest. The last chapters thankfully heralded the real outset of Garion and his companions' new quest, let's hope it gets more read-worthy, and more focused.

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A pleasant conclusion to the series.

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 24 November 2008 12:32 (A review of Enchanters' End Game (The Belgariad))

This is the fifth and final book in the Belgariad (after Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit and Castle of Wizardry).

In this volume, Garion, accompanied by Silk and Belgarath, makes his way through Drasnia and Gar Og Nadrak, and finally crosses the Sea of the East to Mallorea. There in Cthol Mishrak, the evil god Torak is stirring from his endless sleep and waiting for their prophesied battle, the outcome of which will decide the fate of the world.

Meanwhile, Ce'Nedra, self-proclaimed Queen of Riva in Garion's absence, is travelling across Arendia and Tolnedra, raising an army with her speeches. Although it breaks her heart to know that it will be badly outnumbered and that it won't stand a chance against the hordes of Thulls, Murgos and Malloreans, she knows this is a necessary sacrifice to create the diversion Garion needs to reach Mallorea.

The part I preferred in this final volume is when Ce'Nedra's army is encamped in Algaria. There Durnik and the Alorn Kings engineer clever contraptions to carry King Anheg's fleet up the mile-high Eastern Escarpment. I also enjoyed reading about the battle of Thull Mardu, where all plans start to go awry, not to mention the final encounter between Garion and Torak, where all the pieces of the Prophecy click into place. All in all, a pleasant, if not tremendously mind-boggling, conclusion to the series. On to the Malloreon now!

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Tying up some of the loose ends.

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 15 November 2008 06:02 (A review of Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad))

This is the fourth book in the Belgariad (after Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery and Magician's Gambit, and before Enchanter's End Game).

After Ctuchik accidentally destroyed himself in Rak Cthol, the rock pinnacle upon which the city is built has started crumbling on itself and our heroes have to flee through the caves, taking the small boy Errand and the Marag slave woman Taiba with them.

Back on solid ground, they make for Algaria where Hettar is waiting with reinforcements. For that they have to cross the Eastern Escarpment, go down its deep ravines, and the entire Murgo nation is now pursuing them. After his ordeal in Rak Cthol, and protecting his crew from rocks thrown at them for several days, Belgarath collapses.

Yet there is no time to lose, as all protagonists must now converge to the island of Riva, to be there before Erastide in order to fulfill the Prophecy. There both Garion and Ce'Nedra will finally understand their role and embrace their heritage.

But when Garion touches the Orb, the slumbering evil god Torak awakes, and the Prophecy says that Garion is the only one who can confront him, alone. He has no choice but to secretly leave, with just Silk and a recovering Belgarath as company. Meanwhile, Ce' Nedra eavesdrops on the Alorn Kings' discussions and realizes she's the only one who can unite the armies of the West in the oncoming war with the invading Angaraks.

There isn't much to say about this volume which would differ from the previous ones, but it was nice to see some loose ends finally tied up. I enjoyed the flight through the caves of Rak Cthol and the meeting in boggy Sendaria with Vordai and her cute otter-like creatures, the Fenlings. I am now looking forward to reading what lies in store for Garion in the final volume, and also to seeing which hints will be dropped about the sequel, the Malloreon.

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A pleasurable visit of various landscapes.

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 8 November 2008 02:37 (A review of Magician's Gambit, Book 3 of Belgariad)

A pleasurable visit of various landscapes. (written on 8th November 2008)
This is the third book in the Belgariad (after Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery, and before Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game).

In this volume we follow our heroes as they try to catch up with the Grolim Ctuchik, who's bringing the Orb to Torak, while Garion learns more about his powers and about the dry voice in his head.

They start by going through Maragor and meeting the mourning, inconsolable god Mara whose people became extinct following a Tolnedran gold rush. They are then summoned to the Vale of Aldur, where Belgarath grew up and became a sorcerer. There Garion visits his grandfather's tower and is taught how to use the magic. The party then makes for Ulgoland and its troglodyte people. They are joined by the zealot priest Relg, who has the ability to find secret underground passageways and can travel through solid rock. He will help them penetrate the Murgo capital of Rak Cthol, where Ctuchik awaits their arrival.

What I enjoyed in this volume was watching Ce'Nedra becoming more and more infatuated with Garion, but also and mostly the variety of landscapes visited by the protagonists: the haunted land of Maragor and its terrifying ghosts, the peaceful and bucolic Vale of Aldur, the snowy peaks and claustrophobic caverns of Ulgoland, and the black sands of the Wasteland of Murgos.

The monsters that are naturally sprinkled along the way are a little dangerouser and tougher than in the previous volumes, and Silk even gets captured, but thanks to the group's assortment of strengths, they always manage to come out unscathed.

Again, this is a light and fast read, but very pleasant as well.

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Stereotyped and repetitive, but not that bad.

Posted : 10 years, 10 months ago on 4 November 2008 11:54 (A review of Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad))

This is the second book in the Belgariad (after Pawn of Prophecy, and before Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, and Enchanter's End Game).

Leaving Cherek after the council of Alorn kings, Belgarath, Polgaria, Garion and their companions set off in pursuit of Zedar the Apostate, who stole the Orb of Aldur to bring it to the evil god Torak.

Following the corrupt disciple's trail will bring them across Arendia, then Tolnedra and finally to Nyissa via the Wood of the Dryads. They will meet new companions along the way: Lelldorin the rash Arendish archer, Mandorallen the bold Arendish knight, and Ce' Nedra the spoilt red-haired Tolnedran princess.

All the while, various enemies such as Murgos, Grolim priests and assorted monsters make their best to hinder their progression, but thanks to Polgara's, Belgarath's, and eventually Garion's powers, those are usually quickly brushed aside with the flick of a hand.

After the exciting reunion with a world I had enjoyed 11 years ago, while reading this second volume I finally realized how annoyingly stereotyped some of the characters are and how repetitive the plot is: move to a new kingdom - meet new allies - encounter baddies - fight - win - move on to the next kingdom - ... while Garion wonders about his past and reluctantly discovers his abilities. However, these books manage to stay entertaining, thanks to some of the characters' traits intended for comic relief, such as Silk's knavery or Ce'Nedra's willfulness. All in all they're not that bad.

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