on 21 April 2008
This book forms part of a terrific series beginning with `Belgareth the Sorcerer'. I don't read much of this genre (fantasy) but like The Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings this will appeal to a large audience.
Following Belgareth the Sorcerer there are two series of 5 books, `The Belgariad' and `The Mallorean' and it is advisable to read them in order, and if you can read `Belgareth' first (although you could save it and read it afterwards like a prequel).
I raced through the series. The Eddings' (the books were written by a couple) create a Tolkein-esque world with our hero Belgareth learning powers known as `the will and the word' through centuries of study under a benevolent God (the gods that created this world still live on it in physical form). This study elevates him to the status of a sorcerer and elongates his life span - he becomes a legend and a force for good in the world. However, another disciple of his benevolent master rebels and steals the holy `Orb' stone, following a more sinister God. In the later series the Gods have left the planet in fear that their battle will destroy the world but their peoples continue to war - following the Prophecies left to them by the Gods. The two series follow the course of events as Belgareth leads the hunt for the traitor and the stone. It's very cleverly written and characters and events reappear as we become familiar with the history of this fictional world through the course of the books.
Really good fun and a definite recommendation if you want a light hearted escape that will keep you reading late into the night.
This is the order of the books:
1. Pawn of Prophecy
2. Queen of Sorcery
3. Magician's Gambit
4. Castle of Wizardry
5. Enchanters' End Game
1. Guardians of the West
2. King of the Murgos
3. Demon Lord of Karanda
4. Sorceress of Darshiva
5. The Seeress of Kell
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on 15 November 2001
I read these books for the first time when I was about 15 years old. I am still convinced they were the cause of bad results in my school exams. I have just finished reading the Harry Potter series of books and they pale into insignificance when compared with the exploits and Adventures of Garion, Pol and Belgarath!
The plot is decipherable and you know what is going to happen at the end of the fifth book, by the time you reach half way through the first but I couldn't put them down!! They are the only set of books that, 16 years after I first read them ,I can read again and again!! I highly recommend these books for anyone of any age who enjoys the Harry Potter books!
If you like these and want to find out more about the characters, then read "Polgara the Sorceress" and "Belgarath the Sorcerer" these are prequels to the Belgariad and give you an insight into the lives of these two fantastic characters!
on 8 June 2002
The story starts with a simple scullery boy, named Garion growing up on Faldors Farm in the farming country of Sendaria. You encounter characters like, his aunt Pol, the storyteller Mister Wolf and Durnik the smith. you learn of the history of the lands, through the story teller and the writings of history at the beginning of the book.
But Garions small country life is rudely interrupted when the story teller arrives with grave news and soon Garions life is turned upside down as you learn about the true identity of Garion's Aunt Pol and the old story teller and the truth of garions grave heritage is finally revealed.
Allong the way you meet a great many characcters such as Barak, the Cherek warrior or Silk, the theif and spy of Drasnia. David Eddings writes as though he knows the characters as if were his best friends and by the end I promise you that you will know each characters life history as if it was your own.
These books are addictive, once you have picked one up, BEWARE for you will not put it down until you have read the set.
on 2 November 2010
Some reviews are definitely harder to write than others, and this is probably the hardest I've had to write, in all honesty. Let me explain. I first read Pawn of Prophecy when I was 14 years old - it was one of my first forays into fantasy (after the usual LotR and C S Lewis shenanigans) and I have re-read it many times over the years. It is one of my comfort go-to reads, feeling like the equivalent of pulling on slippers and nestling in front of a log fire. Where is the objectivity? In addition to this, I also feel as though I almost have to write two reviews: one for the 14 year old who might be considering picking this novel up and one for the jaded adult who has read the likes of Abercrombie and Erikson.
Pawn of Prophecy marks the first book in the five book sequence of The Belgariad - and I confess to being surprised by the slightness of the novel. It is a mere two hundred and fifty or so pages in my copy. Compared to the over bloated fantasy epics we see these days, it is a very swift read.
The prose helps with this immensely. It is smooth and readable, with lively characters and clever dialogue. We follow the adventures of Garion, a farm boy growing up in the depths of Sendaria, learning solid Sendarian values of practicality and honesty. For the first third of the book, Eddings builds a rural picture of bliss and harmony, presenting Garion's life as peaceful and fulfilling. His Aunt Pol rules the kitchen, and an itinerant storyteller occasionally visits, bringing mischief in his wake.
One night all this changes, as Mister Wolf (as Garion terms the storyteller) comes to sweep Aunt Pol and Garion away to try and find 'something' that has been stolen. As they travel across Sendaria and into Cherek, Garion learns that he travels with important people and that he is living through a time of epic prophecy.
So far, so cliched, right? Of course, this book was written way back in 1982 - a world away in terms of how far fantasy has since travelled. Now the farmboy who saves the world is sneered at in terms of plot device, and the epic quest is left aside in favour of grimy warfare. At the time, Pawn of Prophecy would have felt fresh and new, showcasing a humorous team of questers who bicker and snark. The bad guys can be easily identified as such by their squinting eyes and body odour; the good guys are all loyal and clever.
Equally, to the 14 year old girl that I was, Pawn of Prophecy was like nothing I had ever read. I fell in love with the characters, particularly Silk, and devoured each book at a rate of knots. I loved the gentle romance and the moments of high fantasy. I didn't care that the characters were straight out of a D&D game, with the wise old wizard, and the barbarian, and the sneak thief - I just delighted in the snappy dialogue and the sweeping descriptions of the world these characters inhabited.
I still read it through rose-tinted spectacles to an extent - but I can see the limitations of the novel these days as well. It certainly won't feel fresh to an adult who has read a number of fantasy novels; it will feel tired and ever so slightly ridiculous. Some of the dialogue is a little too self-consciously clever, and there are moments when it seems as though Eddings thought of something good and shoehorned it into the novel.
However, there are still lovely points in the novel, and the comedy can still bring a smile:
"What of me, Aunt Pol?" Garion asked. "What do I do?"
"You can be my page."
"What does a page do?"
"You fetch things for me."
"I've always done that. Is that what it's called?"
As I mentioned, Pawn of Prophecy is a warm and cosy read, perfect when you don't want to have to think too hard. It is akin to drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows in the winter. A lot of people will become bored with the novel, comparing it unfavourably to more recent novels, but I adore it thanks both to nostalgia and appreciation for a book that almost stands the test of time (even as cliche-ridden as it is). I would recommend it for those who are a) starting out new into the fantasy genre b) those who enjoy gentle high fantasy, where the bad guys wear black and the good guys are always good and c) those people suffering the break-up of a relationship. For those people, this is a damn near perfect read.
on 6 October 2005
This was one of the first fantasy stories I ever read and what an introduction it was! I read this whole series of books (ten in all- five in the Belgariad set and five in the Mallorean) over a three month period while commuting to work by train and I missed my station more than once as a result of this utterly engrossing and enchanting series. The characters are vivid, the story is effortlessly gripping and the cliffhanger endings that draw each book to a close are impossible to endure for even a millisecond.
Garion, Polgara and Garath are all introduced here for the first time and very soon they'll become entrenched in your imagination and as the quest they embark upon gains pace and we learn ever stranger and ever more fateful details about our young hero Garion...it only becomes harder not to love these characters, especially after ten books travelling along beside them through good times and bad times and truly horrific times. Upon finishing 'Seeress of Kell' (book five in the Mallorean) I'm not ashamed to admit that I shed a tear at having to leave the side of each and every one of these wonderfully drawn characters. I guarantee you that once you pick up 'Pawn of Prophecy' (the first book in the Belgariad) in a surprisingly short space of time you'll be putting down 'Seeress of Kell' and thinking back to how it all began on the farm where Garion knew nothing of what he would become, nothing of the secrets he would uncover and nothing of his future, or what it held for him, his companions and especially not for the entire world...
on 26 May 2001
I have just finished the fourth in this series and am about to start the fifth. When I was first recommended this book I was a bit sceptical as reading the back it sounds like a fantasy soap opera, but what it really is, is far from it. When you start reading these books you cannot put them down until they are finished, and then you rush out to buy the next one. Anybody who likes fantasy books will absolutely love this, but I warn you, if you are a bit short in the pocket area, don't read this as you will be compelled to read on, divulging all of Garion's adventures. When reading these books you become totally involved in the world that Eddings' has created, believing all of the weird and wonderful images that his vignettes create. The characters are extremely deep and new sides of the are constantly revealed, true, you may have worked out the plot of the entire series a few chapters into the first book, but you just have to read on. An essential read!!
on 2 March 2004
This book starts with a couple of pages of beautiful observational writing about growing up on a farm. From there on you are immersed in a thoroughly enjoyable quest that spans two five book long epics.
I admire Tolkien, and I am entertained by Terry Pratchett; this is halfway in between. Tolkein has substance and knows how to tell a great tale, but he's often more than a bit dour. Prachett, of course, has humour, and can make a telling point through it, but he has never attempted an epic tale. The strenghts of both approaches come together here. Plot development takes place, philosophical questions are debated, and serious points are made in the naturalistic conversations during which so much of the action of these books takes place, with no shortage of humour.
Yes, there are some weaknesses, if you call using the archetypical characters and devices of this type of literature weaknesses. The authors (David and his wife Leigh, who finally gets acknowledged in later books)have been quite open about there methodology in more recent volumes. My view is - it works - and the 'stock characters' have rarely been so well depicted, or so much plain fun, as here.
on 13 June 2016
I'd read 'The Belgariad' and its follow on 'The Malloreon' series two or three times years ago in paperback, but then I needed more bookspace, so they were taken off to Oxfam. A long time passed. Then I saw Book One of 'The Belgariad' on a Kindle list I was surfing on....at £1.99.... So I bought it for old times sake.
I had forgotten how much I really like the characters, particularly Garion, the...emm...hero. Not that he thinks of himself as a hero. And he certainly doesn't want to be one. He'd much rather be just an ordinary teenager, working on the farm where he's always lived, chasing the local flirt and going swimming with his friends. Even when he gets older and understands more about what people expect of him, he's still just....not that keen. He's even completely terrified some of the time. Absolutely no bumptious superman stuff about Garion. And he can....make things happen the way he wants. But it's all just a coincidence, right? Well..., no, it isn't.
A whole mediaeval world has been carefully built for you to enter, with its own countries, Gods, customs and quirks, all watched over a malevalent force. Sound a wee bit familiar? Well, could be. But this time without annoying songs and creepy relationships. If you're a fan of 'questing' fantasy, give it a try? You might like it. And, after you've met Garion and his friends, you might come back and buy the other 4 books. Just like I did.
on 18 July 2001
When I read "Pawn of Prophecy" I thought it was simply OK: not bad, but certainly not one of the best fantasy books. Eddings' style seemed a bit too "naive" and at times it made me think that the book was intended for people in their early teens. In any case, I was convinced to pick up the rest of the Belgariad books and I am truely glad for this decision. The books get much better, the author seems to mature (especially after the third book) and is able to create a fascinating world.
The overall plot is not terribly original: my first thought when I finished Pawn was "Great, once more the young poor boy is in fact the chosen one that must confront the ultimate evil, with the help of an old magician and a special talisman", but there are in fact quite a few original elements and a personal perspective of the author that prevents the entire story from becoming a deja-vu.
Although this is a rather poor beginning, I would recommend the series to any fantasy reader as in the following volumes Belgariad turns into a classic, that can stand next to Brooks' Shannara series or Feist's Riftwar.
on 14 August 2007
I was attracted to this book simply by the blurb and the front cover, and, needing a book to read that would engage my imagination and transport me into a world you could believe in, this easily reccommended itself. It is the type of fantasy book that is in all book stores, so you know it has to be pretty good.
On actually starting the book, I was instantly hooked right into the story, easily identifying with Garion, the series' main character. I know my life is very disimilar to his, but his youth, naivety, and his setting does nothing but intrigue the reader. The plot itself always held mystery and moved at a fair pace, with good twists and original charcters that played off one another and individually and collectively added something to the narrative.
Although many modern fantasies have the quest of the almost-orphaned farmboy, often hunting a fabled relic/jewel, this certainly has a fresh feel and a sense of history and depth, and therefore believability, which therefore makes it an easier read. It at no point bogs the reader down, and sets itself out in a clear, ordered manner, while not necessarily meaning we knew what to expect.
Eddings himself said, if you read 100 pages, he had you, but, for me, it took but the prologue so much was the pull this book had over me. And now, over 3 years on from reading it, I felt I had to recommend it to others in search of a fantasy series to engage and delight.
A definite must for all readers