on 9 September 2005
Having read the Belgariod, Mallorean and the Sparhawk sagas, I considered myself a fan of the Eddings work. I then embarked on the 'prequels' Belgarath and Polgara and was disappointed at how blatantly these were simply cashing in on the earlier works. Althalus was a slight improvement but was obviously a blip on the downward trend in quality. This latest 'saga' was the biggest disappointment to date - dull, poorly written, obvious plot and a simple re-hashing of characters from previous sagas. Did anyone else see the similarity between the girl dreamer and Flute/Aphrael? The writing was awful - a conversation takes place and then is repeated 4 times by the different leading characters ... must have been a way of making the book long enough.
I'm afraid this is it for me. I will continue to reread the old favourites but I will not be buying any more Eddings.
on 1 January 2004
Also a big fan of the Eddings works, and currently gripped by Regina's Song, which is outside their usual genre.
Yes Eddings uses the same gags over and over or had you noticed?... yes i thought i noticed you noticing... etc. Yes the characters are basically re-incarnations with a few variations. Yes the storylines are basically predictable. But up until now they've managed to remain absolutly enchanting.
If repetition annoys you, just read one series. I'd be happy to recommend Belgarion/Mallorean or Elenium/Tamuli or even the stand alone Altheus, to anyone who doesn't know what the Eddings buzz is about. But I could never recommend The Elder Gods for fear it would put people off the good stuff.
Point being its not the repetition thats the problem, its the fact that its so weak! Where as the above books used the same ingredients cooked to perfection, this is like a thin soup with whats left of the ingredients boiled to death.
Its not even complacent, or tired, its just so bad that it smacks of a cynical ploy to milk a loyal fanbase.
I'm deeply disappointed
on 14 July 2004
This is the first book of the new series: The Dreamers. If you didn't have any way of finding out the author of this book, but if you are familiar with the work of David Eddings, it is very easy to tell that this is a David Eddings novel. Not only is the style of writing consistent with his previous books, but several characters are reminiscent of previous characters (Polgara, Flute, Talen/Silk, etc). To be perfectly honest, this feels like a story that David Eddings has already told before, only this time he isn't telling it quite as well as before.
This is a story of the Land of Dhrall. This world (which contains Dhrall) is a primitive place, even considering this is a fantasy setting. Dhrall is ruled over by 4 gods, each taking a Domain to rule. Each Domain is one of the 4 compass directions, and in the center is a wasteland ruled by That-Called-The Vlagh, a hideous godlike creature. The four gods rule over Dhrall for 25 eons while 4 other gods sleep. At the end of the cycle, the gods which have been awake rest for 25 eons and the sleeping gods awake to take their place. When the book starts, it is nearing the end of one of these cycles and The Vlagh is plotting to take over the world.
The four gods hire out mercenary armies to defend their domains from The Vlagh. The god of the North, Dahlaine, creates four young children called The Dreamers. The Dreamers are actually the sleeping Elder Gods, but Dahlaine has figured out how to block their memories of being gods until they are older and it is time to change the cycles. The Dreamers have the ability to see the future in their dreams and also to affect that future through their dreams. With the Dreamers and the mercenary armies, the four gods hope to defend their Domains from the Vlagh and also to hopefully destroy the Vlagh.
The focus of this novel is in the Western Domain of Zelana. Zelana has rather striking resemblances to Polgara (from the Belgariad) when she talks, and Zelana's Dreamer Eleria reminded me of Flute (from the Elenium).
As much as I was looking forward to this book, it was a bit of a let down. It was too much like Edding's previous 16 books (Belgariad, Mallorean, Elenium, Tamuli), only it didn't have the depth of story and character that those books had. The Elder Gods was not a terribly interesting book, but if you are a fan of David Eddings, it was a very familiar book. Like all of Edding's work, it is a fast reading book (despite my disinterest), so I didn't spend a lot of time on it. I can only hope that in the next three books of this series there will be more development of character and story. I can't recommend this book. Only read this is you are a completionist and want to read everything David Eddings has written. Otherwise, skip this one. It doesn't even qualify as good fantasty.
on 9 August 2003
I have read the Eddings classics (Belgariad, Mallorean, Elenium etc.) more times than I can count and never lost interest or love for the work. I would be surprised if I ever read Elder Gods again. Strangely co-inciding with the inclusion of his wife's name on the title page, recent books do neither Eddings reputation nor his readers wallets justice. Characters are without depth and impossible to relate to, the enemy insipid and stupid, plots entirely predictable and the simple dialogue scattered with one liners pirated from previous, superior Eddings works. Key characters (the laconic but tough hero, the acerbic matriarchal figure and the whimsical little girl who loves kissing people) read like someone else's attempt at the Elenium. Either the Eddings have lost interest or someone else is writing the books because neither this nor Redemption of Althalus bears any resemblance to what went before. This book reads like a one novel fairy tale for an audience aged ten, rather than the wider scope of previous epics. I'll keep reading the new books in the hope that form returns but from now on it will be at the library - I cannot justify rewarding second rate work with the price of a hardback.
If The Elder Gods is your first Eddings book, you might possibly enjoy it. It has all the ingredients that made The Belgariad and The Elenium so irresistible: an easy-to-read writing style, a fast-paced plot, a witty combination of action and humour, and a lively mix of characters that you come to see as friends. However, if you are a long-time Eddings fan and are familiar with their earlier works, you might want to give this series a miss or at least put at the bottom of your reading list.
Despite a promising and seemingly original premiss (two sets of gods taking it in "cycles" to guard the world), you will find that everything about this book is instantly familiar. It's as though the Eddingses have simply teleported characters from their previous series to the Land of Dhrall (where The Elder Gods is set) and given them a new name. Zelana, the scheming but charming goddess who loves twisting men around her finger, could easily be Polgara from The Belgariad and Eleria who loves to be kissed and cuddled is Flute (of The Elenium series) reincarnated.
The way the characters interact with each other and the jokes and remarks they make (which admittedly I found witty and fresh in The Belgariad) become tiresome here. How many times can a woman roll her eyes upward in response to something silly a man does or says, for heaven's sake?
This book's other major flaw is that the heroes win almost too easily. Their allies are gods who can control the weather and bring about disasters, which leaves their adversaries with almost zero chance of defeating them. As a result, the book does not offer much in the way of thrills or suspense and you could be forgiven if you find yourself rooting for the bad guys.
The Elder Gods is aimed at an adult audience I believe and yet the book could just as easily be classified as a children's book. It's written in simple language. It's light and undemanding and does not require much attention to read. While I can appreciate this style, those who are used to the more serious treatment served by the likes of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind will definitely feel short-changed.
This is just the first in a promised four-book series collectively known as The Dreamers. I can only hope that the Eddingses can come up with something more inspiring in the next three volumes.
on 12 February 2005
I once considered David Eddings to be one of the finest Fantasy writers of the modern era - the Belgariad, Mallorean, and Ellenium stand out as gems in an very competitive field. However, the decline that began with the Tamuli is well and truly completed with this latest work. The plot is simply a rehash of other, greater, Eddings works - and it is, to put it mildly, tired. Furthermore, it grows increasingly tenuous as the novel progresses - requiring ever-greater leaps-of-faith from the reader. To top this off, Eddings' has degraded into a patroningly juvenile writing style, with most of the book being taken up with smug, self-congratulating, trite dialogue. Old fans will be most disappointed with The Elder Gods - I simply hope that this book doesn't discourage new readers from trying Eddings' earlier great works.
on 13 August 2003
Ok so the writing is tidy, and the plot is ok - if I hadn't come across a thinly disguised version of it before.
So - buy this book, If A) - you have everything of the Edding's in hardback and intend to keep it that way OR b) you have some sort of amnesia or convenient short term memory loss.
I'm thinking that the reason behind this was : - If it works why change it?
I'm getting tired of reading the same old story by the Edding's.
Lands split between Gods - Bad guys with no personality- Good guys with the gods on their side. ( Note : Aphrael, get back to Elenia and quit pretending to be someone else!! and you too Emmy! house at the end of the world for you. Bad cat!)
Basically it appears to be somewhere between the "belgariad/elenium" and the "redemption of althalus" plot holes and stock characters :- we'll take one handful of gods, give em a couple of lands each to rule over, peopel them with primitive identikit characters full of racial stereotypes, hmm, best add a jovial and clever sea captain , add a mentally tortured but highly talented warrior or two. Right what "witty" phrases can we give to our set of heroes - oh and make the bad guys unredeemable and faceless (at least Martel was interesting!!!)
Verdict - Ususally Eddings is non thinking fluff. (Y'know, you read it when you cant be bothered to read something new) and because its been read before then the familiarity doesnt grate too much. **This one**is book hits wall. I wont be getting the other three books. I'm kind of hoping that the Vlagh wins and eats the rest of them.
If it does - could someone let me know?... Thanks.
on 26 October 2003
I enjoy the eddings worlds, and bought this one and enjoyed it. I must admit i am partial to books that are in series (once i've found a few characters, i take an interest in how they are getting on over time!) and i look forward to reading the following series. I must admit i wasn't as enthralled with this initial book as i was with the belgariad, mallorean and elenium, but it definately has the eddings humour and some lovely characters, smart humour and as a very different story to those noted above, i found it enjoyable and would recommend it for anyone, whether new to the eddings ot nor.
on 16 October 2005
What can I say. I should have paid attention to the reviews on here.
I have loved all the Eddings books. I was sorry when he dropped the Belgarion plot and moved onto the Sparhawk one. But I was won over very quickly and thought it a masterstroke. So I was looking forward very much to his new offering.
If you have read and enjoyed his other books, do not, I repeat do not, read this new series. You will be soooo disappointed.
He hasn't bothered with new characters just rehashed the old ones with new names. Eleria is a young girl akin to a God who loves receiving and giving kisses. Remind you of anyone? There's another that could be Silk or Stragen. And so it goes on. He hasn't tried to flesh out any of the characters or the land they live in, which makes the plot seem empty and pointless. So far I have got 2 thirds through the first book and am losing the will to live.
I hate to say it but I cannot see myself bothering with him again. He has gone the same way as so many authors. It's almost if he has run out of ideas or just cannot be *rsed to put any effort into it.
Sorry Eddings fans, maybe this the the end of an era. I hope not as we'll be poorer for it.
on 23 September 2003
I got hooked on David Eddings in the early 90s when I was given "Pawn of Prophecy". This is definitely the worst fantasy book of his I've read, it's disjointed and has a very poor plot. If I could I'd give it no stars. I'd even go as far as rating it worse than the two of his non-fantasy books of his I've read (The Losers and High Hunt). I won't be buying the second book in hardback and I'm not even sure whether I'll buy it in paperback. This series will never have the attraction of The Belgariad/Malloreon or The Elenium/Tamuli.
It was very disappointing and couldn't recommend it to anyone.