Sunday, November 29, 2009

Books to reread: Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

Posted by Simcha 3:26 PM, under | 6 comments

I recently decided to start re-reading some of the fantasy books that I had read and enjoyed when I was a teenager and first began reading fantasy. One reason is simply because I've forgotten what most of these books were about and I would like to recommend them to other fantasy readers, which means I have to actually remember the story lines. The second reason is that I want to see if I will still find these books to be enjoyable, reading them as an adult.

The first book that I decided to reread is David Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy, the first book in the Belgariad series. I've always felt that any fantasy reader should be familiar with David Eddings' work. He was one of my favorite authors when I started reading fantasy and I had read all eighteen books related to the series, though I can't remember too much about them now, which seems a good reason to pick up these books again.

Pawn of Prophecy opens up at Faldor’s Farm where young Garion lives with his Aunt Pol, who runs the farm’s kitchen. Garion lives the simple life of a farm boy, satisfied with doing the work assigned to him by his aunt and spending his free time playing with his friends. But when Garion is fifteen, the vagabond, Mr. Wolf, appears at the farm setting off a chain of events that has Garion, his aunt, Mr. Wolf and Durnik the Smith suddenly fleeing the farm for reasons that no one will explain to Garion. Along the way they meet up with a couple of friends of Mr. Wolf and Aunt Pol's and together they continue along the mysterious quest.

Garion’s frustration mounts as he is kept in ignorance throughout the journey, though he soon realizes that none of his companions are what they appear to be, including his Aunt Pol, whom he has known all his life. As Garion’s beliefs begin to crumble around him he struggles to understand who he really is and what his relationship is to “Aunt Pol” and “Mr. Wolf,” as well as the dark figure who has shadowed him for as long as he could remember. Garion has also determined that they are actually in pursuit of a thief who has stolen an important object, which must be returned at all cost, and that he is somehow an important figure in all of this.

Pawn of Prophecy is a great start to a wonderful epic fantasy full of action, colorful characters and creative world building. I think it’s a great book for anyone who is just beginning to read fantasy though for someone already familiar with the genre, these books might seem a bit simplistic. The characters are not quite as complex as those in more recent fantasy literature. It's clear who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and you know that eventually the good guys will defeat the evil and save the world. And even the story might be a bit predictable, it's still a lot of fun.

I do admit that I found Garion to be a bit irritating, something I don't recall bothering me when I had read the book the first time. I couldn't understand why it wasn't until he was a teenager that he thought to ask about what happened to his parents. And the way he lets all the adults push him around and make him feel guilty every time he shows a little rebellious behavior (which was certainly understandable considering all the shocking discoveries) really annoyed me. I think my favorite scene in the book was when he punched a boy in the nose for trying to pick a fight with him. Finally Garion shows that he's not a complete wuss!

    Garion realized that the redhead was feeling belligerent and that a fight was inevitable. The preliminaries-threats, insults, and the like- would probobly go on for several more minutes, but the fight would take place as soon as the boy in the long tunic had worked himself up to it. Garion decided not to wait. He doubled his fist and punched the larger boy in the nose.

    The blow was a good one and the redhead stumbled back and sat down heavily in the snow. He raised one hand to his nose and brought it away red. "It's bleeding" he wailed accusingly. "You made my nose bleed."

    "It'll stop in a few minutes," Garion said.

    "What if it doesn't?"

    "Nosebleeds don't last forever." Garion told him.

    "Why did you hit me?" The redhead demanded tearfully, wiping his nose. "I didn't do anything to you."

    "You were going to," Garion said. "Put snow on it and don't be such a baby."

    "It's still bleeding," the boy said.

    "Put snow on it," Garion said again.

    "What if it doesn't stop bleeding?"

    "Then you'll probably bleed to death," Garion said in a heartless tone. It was a trick he had learned from Aunt Pol.

Go Garion!!

Overall, I think I enjoyed Pawn of Prophecy just as much now as when I first read it, despite the fact- or maybe because of the fact- that it's not as complex as the more modern fantasies. I think it's a great book for anyone starting to read fantasy, particularly young adults- though it's not necessarily a YA book. But I also think that any regular fantasy reader who has not yet read these books by David Eddings, is definitely missing out.


I have to admit that I have not read anything by Eddings yet. I really should pick up one of his books, or series, and read them. I see the name a lot and just have not made the time to read them.

Thanks for the great review. You really made the book sound very enjoyable.

Hi Simcha, please visit:
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Melissa, if you like quest books then you should definitely try these books. Although some people turn their nose up at Eddings and Terry Brooks and claim these books are boring and predictable, I enjoy them. It's almost like going on a quest yourself :)

I'm so glad to run into someone who enjoys these books as much as I do. David Eddings and Terry Brooks were my introcution to epic fantasy and I owe them both a debt of gratitude.

Hey,just started a Fantasy Book Challenge and am not a huge fantasy reader I read some but I'm more into Urban Fantasy so this book sounds good any other suggestions?

Hey Caitlin, thanks for stopping by. David Eddings is definitely a good author to start with. Many fantasy readers say that he was their entry into the genre. Another one of my early fantasy series was the Xanth books by Piers Anthony which I loved. It's a humorous series of books full of magic and puns and they are a lot of fun to read. If you like romance then you should read C.L Wilson's book Tairen Souls Series, which I love, and Lois McMaster Bujold's The Sharing Knife. Both great fantasies with a strong element of romance. And finally, there is my current favorite fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson. His recent book, Warbreaker is my favorite fantasy of the year, though if you find the large size intimidating you can start with Elentris, which was his debut novel.

That should do for now :)
If you read any of these books come back and tell me what you thought of them.
Happy reading!

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