Malloreon, The by David Eddings
I stumbled on Sorceress of Darshiva sometime in middle school. Of course, by then the magic that is the Malloreon was almost over. King Belgarion, Overlord of the West, was hot on the trail of the power-hungry Grolim priestess who had stolen his son, who happened to the key piece of a forbidden prophecy. Garion had discovered where the rite was to take place, and with the help of his immortal grandfather Belgarath the Sorcerer and his daughter Polgara, had assembled a crew of nobles, royals to fulfill the rites of the counter-prophecy. I was hooked.
That I could enter a ten (or thirteen, counting Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polgara the Sorceress, and the Rivan Codex) book series at book 9, and not be too confused to abandon the series but actually ENCOURAGED to read the rest of it attests to David Eddings's (and his wife's) story-telling wizardry.
The Eddingses did a lot of research and are most well read, turning to Shakespeare, Poe, Homer, Arthurian legend, and other classical sources. There are many veiled references to LOTR throughout his writing, and Eddings has said the commercial success of Tolkien inspired him to turn to fantasy. This may be the series's greatest artistic weakness; in attempting to be like the LOTR series, it loses a lot of originality, but is still a fun read. If you are looking for something Tolkien like, this series (as well as most of his writing in the 90s) captures and modernizes the spirit of LOTR without blatantly repeating it.
There are many people who prefer the Belgariad to the Malloreon. I don't really think of them as two separate series that need to be compared as much as I think of the Malloreon as the "second half", so to speak. I was happy to sort of lose myself in the books over and over again. A problem with the Malloreon is a tendency for Belgariad-like events to reappear. Cyradis the seer explains that until one of the prophecies is ordered out of existence, the repetition will continue. It came across as a way for the author to express his own frustration with the length of the series and a desire to finish it, but it comes across as a creative way to explain the length of the series.
Much of the Eddingses' strength lies in the complexity of plot, as well as the realism of characters, dialogue, and the well planned world-building. The political details of the various kingdoms add a subtle richness to the plot and pacing, helping Eddings stretch out the novels without boring readers. You get the feeling that the novels had to be stretched out and the rings of mini-romances/political intrigues among Garion's friends, the infighting among the Grolim priests, the demons fighting for Garion's Orb as well as the wars between kingdoms gave the series a multi-tiered feel. It forced you to pay attention. I still wonder how they kept the facts together.
The prose isn't especially ground breaking and reminds me of works I would associate more with the 19th century, like Dickens or the Bronte sisters. But this series is like a modernization of LOTR, with improved pacing and three times the amount of story.
I don't think this series reflects his most original work -- if you want that, read the Tamuli series; that is probably his best -- but if you like the LOTR series you will enjoy this one and its predecessor -- I mean, the "first half."
Submitted by Emma
I was first introduced to David Eddings when I found Guardians of the West in a charity shop.
I feel although his books have a simple enough plot to begin with i.e Good versus Evil but its the worlds and characters that he weaves around this plot that make him a brilliant and funny writer....although most of his story lines have a serious context he never fails to be funny and witty without undermining the storyline itself and it manages to offer a bit of light relief to otherwise quite heavy storylines. There are loads of times I have laughed out loud as his characters remind me of normal people that just happen to have horrific tasks ahead of them - I particulary like Silk - I have never come across a character quite like him - Hes very funny and witty and can sometimes lighten Garion up as he tends to be a bit serious - but being the Godslayer I supose you would have to be!!! I find SIlks witt and sarcasm highly funny - he is not your normal "hero": in any sense of the word and this gives him depth of character that can be lacking in garion.
I have to say though having read the prequel Belgarath the Sorceror I was quite disapointed Belgarath was portrayed as nothing but a grumpy old reprobate in these books. I found him to be although with no scruples a likable and very complicated man.
The worlds Eddings creates around these characters is beleivable too - Mainly because it is populated by people you would meet in everyday life. There is also a great warmth between the caharacter which I enjoyed the most and because of this you cared more about what happened to them which I feel is the most important thing about any book as you have to care about the characters to read the books right through to the end.
Submitted by email@example.com
Eddings masterfully draws you into a world of sorcery and deceit, all the way through twists and turns, fouled kidnappings and battles with flaming swords. All in all, a wonderful read. Reccomended to everyone(except Tolnedrans, of course).
Submitted by Sparhawk
The "Malloreon" is a wonderful sequel to the classic series of the "Belgariad". You'll meet again the favourite characters of Belgarion, Belgarath and Polgara in new epic struggle with the dark prophecy.
Garion and his queen Se'nedra lived peacefully in the Island of Riva, until their child is stolen. The villain is a mystic figure, called Zandramas. she is the new Child of the Dark. To find his son, Garion and his friends must go deep into Mallorea - and to challenge formidable black magic...
Excellent series by excellent author.
Submitted by Cidney
I enjoyed the Belgariad, and I started the Malloreon before I had finished. And that is probably the best series I have ever read. Eddings has expanded upon the previous world, and has added another layer of depth, without contradicting the earlier series. Murgos, Nyissans, and Malloreons are not seen as "evil" anymore - they are characters with feelings of their own, and complex personalities, that a reader can empathize with instead of viewing them as the villains of the Belgariad. It successfully adds a new series to the same world, without repeating plots from the earlier series. My only regrets were that it took me about two days to read each book, but that was probably due to the fact that I could put them down.