Monday, November 26, 2012

Amanda Monday: Pawn of Prophecy

 Long ago, so the storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion over all and drove the world to war. Now the one talisman keeping this sinister force from seizing power has been disturbed—and no one will be safe. . . .

Raised on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, Garion spends his days lounging in his aunt’s warm kitchen and playing in the surrounding fields with his friends. He has never believed in magic, despite the presence of a cloaked, shadowless stranger who has haunted him from a distance for years. But one afternoon, the wise storyteller Wolf appears and urges Garion and his aunt to leave the farm that very night. Without understanding why, Garion is whisked away from the only home he has ever known—and thrown into dark and unfamiliar lands.

Thus begins an extraordinary quest to stop a reawakened evil from devouring all that is good. It is a journey that will lead Garion to discover his heritage and his future. For the magic that once seemed
impossible to Garion is now his destiny.
The first exciting adventure in David Eddings’s The Belgariad

When I was about 12 years old, my aunt recommended that I read the Belgariad Series.  Up to that point, I had never read any fantasy book in my life, except perhaps The Indian in the Cupboard and The Fairy Rebel.  Pawn of Prophecy was my first introduction to "High Fantasy", and the a pivot upon which my literary tastes turned.  

The story starts with Garion, a perfectly ordinary-seeming boy.  Of course, we as a ready knows there must be something extraordinary about him, otherwise, why write the book?  But through a series of adventures, including a quest to find a mysterious and powerful object, sword fights, sorcerers, mysterious friends and strangers, and an abstract but ever-present sense that there is something special about Garion, our hero unfolds into one of my favorite literary characters of all time.  He starts out immature and flawed like so many young teenage boys, but also very charming and innocent.  Because of this, you identify with Garion and grow frustrated, confused, and excited along with him.  

Author David Eddings does a fabulous job of world building.  If the setting and the story seems somewhat familiar, it is because Eddings is one of the premier fantasy writers in recent history, and many, many authors have borrowed ideas from him in their own writing, just as he himself borrowed from other writers, such as Tolken and Lloyd Alexander.  But the sense of humor and charm he manages to give all his characters are distinctly Eddings.  To this day, no other well-written fantasy novel or series has made me laugh like The Belgariad Series.  

I give this book five stars, because I have read it, and the entire series, multiple times.  This is the series responsible for the fact that I read so many YA fantasy, dystopia, and fairytale-type books.  It showed me that sometimes setting a story in a fantasy setting can better reveal themes and universal truths than our own world.  It is an excellent book for young and old, and I particularly recommend the book for young male readers. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this series. The first time I read it, I actually skipped this book because they didn't have it at the library, so I started with the second one, which was a little confusing. I totally agree though. Anyone who likes fantasy at all, even only a little bit, needs to read these books.