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The Belgariad, Part Two by David Eddings
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The Belgariad, Part Two

by David Eddings

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1,36875,605 (4.18)16
Member:fitzwater
Title:The Belgariad, Part Two
Authors:David Eddings
Info:Nelson Doubleday (No Date), Hardcover, Book Club Edition, 626 pages
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The Belgariad, Volume Two by David Eddings

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Again, not perfect, but I've loved David Eddings' books for decades now and have lost count of the number of times I've read them. ( )
  4hounds | Dec 7, 2014 |
Omnibus edition, reviewing separately.

Castle of Wizardry:

On the one hand, there are parts of this book I really like - Garion's ascension in general is suitably legendary in feel, counterbalanced by his bewilderment at a role he is in fact totally unprepared for. And I do like Ce'Nedra's intelligent analysis and decisionmaking leading to her taking nominal charge. Basically most of what actually happens at Riva makes me happy.

On the other hand, Eddings's adorable but badly flawed attempt at lampshading sexism makes me cringe a little. Yes, it's nice that the overt "women can't be in charge" types are roundly mocked. But the whole book is shot through with assumptions about women's volatility, nurturing instincts, scheming natures, etc. Twenty years later, I'm sure someone could write the exact same plot without making me twitch, but this one has its problems.

Which brings me to one minor sidebar - Barak and Merel. We are introduced to Merel in the first book, where she is portrayed as a petty, shallow, vindictive woman who is also the victim of presumably repeated marital rape. (No, really, it's stated outright that Barak broke into her locked bedroom and was "drunk and brutal.") He incidentally got her pregnant during that visit, and she bore a son. Which somehow makes Barak now see her as a real human, and makes her go all forgiving and dewy-eyed around him. I... can't deal with this. I just can't. It's tossed off without the least examination, and treated as though it was a childish squabble that Merel gets past because she "grew up." (Again, that is a direct quote.) In a series that tries really hard to have female characters with dignity and agency, this minor sub-subplot is just appalling. (There are a couple of others that make me twitch, and I'll get to those in the next book, but this is by far the worst.)

Enchanter's End Game:

The actual ending is great - the climactic fight scene does what it's supposed to do, the wrap-up is suitably mythic, the pleasant little "and they lived happily ever after" coda both puts the series to bed and tucks it in and foreshadows the subsequent series. The rest of the book... eh, not so much.

Garion's trek across the north is just not all that interesting. I sort of appreciate the attempt to humanize at least some of the "bad guys" but making them drunk and barely civilized doesn't really help. And while there are some neat bits, there's no actual tension there - there's never any real sense that there's a chance he might not make it. Oh, and I can't even bring myself to comment on the dark-skinned demon worshipers (I forgot about them when claiming the book had no black people - I think forgetting was preferable.)

The war plotline is a little better - there is real danger and some real consequences. But Ce'Nedra is played a bit too much as the irresponsible teenager, rather than having any real agency in the army she assembled. The "ladies take care of business back home" sequence works really well for me, in contrast - I appreciate the idea that all these women were deeply underestimated and can, in fact, get it done.

So it's a book that, on the whole, I trudge through knowing the payoff will eventually be worth it.

One more minor sidebar on Things That Suck: Taiba. Taiba is a third-string character who is brought in as a reward for the male character who decides to do the Right Thing. She is written as intelligent, beautiful, in touch with her sexuality - and completely without agency of her own. She and Relg fall magically in love (literally!) and Taiba never expresses a thought or opinion that isn't focused on him. Now, the question of agency is actually part of the thesis of the book - can you make meaningful choices if everything is foreordained? - but Taiba in particular, as the Most Sexual Woman, is the only one disposed of with zero attention paid to her own personhood. (See also: Vella, in the Malloreon, which I will no doubt get to shortly.)

It drives me nuts that these are some of the least sexist books I read and a kid - and I really think Eddings was trying very, very hard to make them so - and they're still just dripping with this shit. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
I enjoy fantasy. I really do!

But I really dislike it when I have to read the same story over and over again. You know the story: little, unknown weakling joins up with a powerful wizard to obtain a powerful artifact, and at the same time, defeat an evil force more powerful than even the wizard mentor.

My first thought after finishing The Belgariad was, "Well, Tolkien did it in three books."

I'll admit, though: Eddings knew how to write. I found his dialogue to be witty, and the interactions between characters to be, for the most part, entertaining. I found, however, the story, as a whole, to be weak.

The title of the first book is "Pawn of Prophecy," which was in The Belgariad, Volume 1. Little did I know the significance of this title.

The main character, is essentially, working to fulfill a prophecy, and the PROPHECY IS MANIFESTING ITSELF IN HIS MIND. I really, really, really, really, for the most part, really dislike it when authors use prophecy as part of their driving the plot. A lot of time, it's a crutch that some authors use in place of actual storytelling. "I have to do this, a prophecy was written about it!"

I am glad, however, that Eddings didn't make it a prophecy just to give his plot credence, which some authors do. "The prophecy says that for no good reason, something mystical will happen."

At least! But, still, would Belgarath just SHUT UP about the prophecy? It's always "Prophecy this," and "Prophecy that."

Added to these is the inherent racism I found in the first volume, complete with Garion's urge to kill some Murgos, and his disappointment at not being able to do so (which is an odd balance, as he regretted magically incinerating the man who killed his PARENTS).

Sure, the story's a good one, but as I said: I've read it already.

A note to fantasy authors still with us: Tolkien is amazing. We get it. Now be amazing without lurking in his shadow. ( )
1 vote aethercowboy | Aug 10, 2009 |
This entire series is wonderful. One of the earlier "young boy discovers that he's more than he was led to believe" stories. A classic in the fantasy genre that pulls you into a great read. ( )
  willowcove | Feb 19, 2009 |
Best fantasy ever
  Eden7c | Apr 20, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Eddingsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Shapiro, ShellyCartographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Now a time came when Cherek and his three sons went with Belgarath the Sorcerer into Mallorea.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the omnibus edition, containing the novels Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter's End Game.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345456319, Paperback)

David Eddings’ acclaimed series, The Belgariad, reaches its stunning conclusion in these final two gripping novels. Continue on this magnificent journey and be entranced by a saga of strange lands and peoples, of prophecy and strife set against the background of a seven-thousand-year war of men, Kings, and Gods.

The quest may be nearing its end, but the danger continues. After discovering a shocking secret about himself he never could have imagined—all in pursuit of the legendary Orb—Garion and his fellow adventurers must escape a crumbling enemy fortress and flee across a vast desert filled with ruthless soldiers whose only aim is to destroy them. But even when the quest is complete, Garion’s destiny is far from fulfilled. For the evil God Torak is about to awaken and seek dominion. Somehow, Garion has to face the God, to kill or be killed. On the outcome of this dread duel rests the future of the world. But how can one man destroy an immortal God?

“Fabulous . . . Eddings has a marvelous storyteller style . . . exceedingly well portrayed and complex people. . . . More! More! More!”
—ANNE MCCAFFREY

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:00 -0400)

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One of a two-volume set. Compilation presents the five previously published novels in the epic saga which begins with the theft of the protective Orb from Riva.

(summary from another edition)

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