|The Malloreon, Vol. 1|
Date: 30 August, 2005 — $11.67 — Book
On the one hand, this is a complete retread of the Belgariad. On the other hand, it's so much fun that you don't really care. And it does have enough differences to be truly worthwhile, while Eddings himself points out the similarities. Farmboy Garion is all grown up with a family now, and his family heritage definitely shines through. The characters developed in the Belgariad are realistically aging but still fascinating.
It's the writing that really makes this. I know that Eddings didn't intend this as a comedy but his characters are such geniuses at saying the funny thing that I constantly find myself giggling. And somewhere in the second book— in the caverns of UL, as it happens— I figured out something that was going to happen at the end of the series and had to put the book down so I could laugh— for twenty minutes. Not precisely a mystery, but don't feel bad if you don't figure it out until later. Sometimes I can really sense the narrative flow for certain writers. (George R.R. Martin is a continual surprise.)
Again, no spoilers. If you liked the Belgariad, you'll almost certainly like this, unless you hate even a hint of sameness.
|The Malloreon, Vol. 2|
Date: 30 August, 2005 — $10.37 — Book
These spoiler-free reviews are kind of dull. I almost feel like I should include a Princess Bride-style recommendation: "Quests. Dragon. Magic. Jousting. Prophecies. Comedy both high and low. True Love. Gods and demons and sorcerers."
And it makes it sound like something else entirely, you know?
The primary appeal of this series is its approachability. You can imagine going on a quest with these people, sure, but you can also imagine going with them to market, or seeing them on a farm, or chopping wood. In many fantasies, the humdrum details are excluded to the point that you can't see the characters as real people. In Eddings' world, these people would be instantly recognizeable on the street, should you happen to run into them. And you'd probably like most of them.
So go in for the ride and deal with the fact that these highly implausible people seem like friends by now. Except for the mute. When a writer is good at creating witty dialogue, a mute character sort of fades into the background a bit.