Why are people so dismissive of David Eddings?

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Lord Pendragon, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Lord Pendragon

    Lord Pendragon Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Once again, I come across someone saying that David Eddings was "once good," and I can't begin to count the number of times I've read on these forums that someone "outgrew" David Eddings.

    I don't get it. He's hardly perfect, but almost no author is, and he has plenty of strengths that he does better than a lot of popular authors today.

    Sure, his work is definitively light fantasy, but that doesn't take away from their craft or imagination...
     
  2. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Staff

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,209
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Because, like Terry Brooks, he's an author a lot of fans grew up with but as they developed and their tastes developed, they found neither Eddings nor Brooks to really be worth their time as the rewards were too low.
     
  3. Headwound

    Headwound Registered User

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I wish I was articulate enough to explain. The times I have tried reading Eddings my to-read pile starts its siren song. I can never get deep enough. When I was younger I could see myself sticking with it like a lot of stuff I read. I think Tad Williams (MST) was the last traditional fantasy I read which I was glued to. I remember not wanting tGAT to end.
     
  4. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    51
    I think for me... I read two Eddings books and they were okay, sort of fun. I enjoyed a few of the characters but I felt like I had read the stories before somewhere. They seemed like YA fiction, which is certainly not to be dismissed (I loved Harry Potter!).

    Then I began reading ASoIaF by Martin, The First Law series by Abercrombie, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Lynch... and suddenly realized that I could not go back to Eddings. I didn't outgrow Eddings in my age necessarily but his work just did not satisfy me after getting my teeth into some of these other works.
     
  5. Lord Pendragon

    Lord Pendragon Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What irks me is that Eddings does some things better than Martin does. Don't get me wrong, I love me some ASOIAF, and I may agree that overall, Martin is the more skilled author. But the casual insult to Eddings' work I sometimes see is all out of proportion to the differences in their skill.

    I can totally understand no longer being interested in the kind of fantasy worlds Eddings' created. I can totally understand wanting a more edgy setting. That's not what I'm getting at. Many folks seem to look down on Eddings in particular. It isn't that they are now looking for more non-traditional settings, it's that they feel like only children would think Eddings worth their while.

    There are plenty of authors any of is could say this about. Stephen R. Donaldson, for me. But the fact that something doesn't fit your tastes doesn't make it juvenile. It makes it not right for your tastes, no?
     
  6. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Twinner
    Then I began reading ASoIaF by Martin, The First Law series by Abercrombie, and The Lies of Locke Lamora by Lynch... and suddenly realized that I could not go back to Eddings. I didn't outgrow Eddings in my age necessarily but his work just did not satisfy me after getting my teeth into some of these other works.

    "What irks me is that Eddings does some things better than Martin does. Don't get me wrong, I love me some ASOIAF, and I may agree that overall, Martin is the more skilled author. But the casual insult to Eddings' work I sometimes see is all out of proportion to the differences in their skill."


    I think you might be trying to hard to find an insult, casual or otherwise, in what I wrote. I thought you were asking us a question. Above is my answer. I see no insult to Eddings in it at all. I prefer chicken to fish too, but that does not amount to an insult to fish.
     
  7. Lord Pendragon

    Lord Pendragon Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2012
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not really responding to you, but rather to the various comments I've seen sprinkled in the replies in the forum in general. As I mention later in that same post, I totally get that if you have had enough of the traditional fantasy he offers it makes sense to move on. the same would be true of someone getting tired of UF or steampunk, etc.
     
  8. TraciLoudin

    TraciLoudin Creator of futures

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2012
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    I actually don't think it's because Eddings's work is somehow more juvenile or of lesser quality, but his series are all the same story. They're the same characters just repackaged with new names. The same plots within the same world. Once you've read one, you've read them all.

    Don't get me wrong, I liked the story, but I wasn't going to buy the same thing just dressed up with different covers every time.
     
  9. DDCOrange

    DDCOrange Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    28
    My only beef with Eddings is that he can't write dialogue worth a damn. His characters can be interesting but when they start to speak I find myself stifling a yawn of exasperation. His lines are that wooden.
    That being said I did enjoy the Belgeriad when I read it years ago, but haven't gone back to Eddings since.
     
  10. algernoninc

    algernoninc Now I'm an axolotl

    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Messages:
    2,124
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    123
    I made the mistake of starting with a stand-alone book, believing I would get a taste of his style without having to spend time reading three or four big tomes. The Redemption of Althalus is currently at the very bottom of my fantasy list, and I'm really sorry I didn't discover Eddings as a teen, or at least that I didn't read some reviews beforehand and tried something else by him.
     
  11. Quickben

    Quickben Registered User

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2006
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I loved the Belgariad Trilogy. Not so much his other earlier works. Recent offerings i haven't bothered with.

    I look for similar stories to read most of the time.

    But they do tend to be better written nowadays. Eddings was a different generation of author. Fantasy is more edgy now, more violence, sex etc.

    I don't think that makes him a bad author though.
     
  12. cgw

    cgw Registered User

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2002
    Messages:
    935
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    103
    I agree with all the criticism of Eddings books. That said I have read the Belgariad more than once. It is not YA. Just easy reading. Mind candy. Lightweight. I also think the series was a sort of landmark in the genre (one of the first series as opposed to a trilogy).
     
  13. sic's mom

    sic's mom I want to be a princess

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2005
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I got into fantasy about 10-12 years ago by a friend of mine. She gave me the Belgariad series to read. I loved it, and I was hooked. Yes I have read Martin, Rothfuss, Abercrombie and all the others that are a little darker and heavier to read. But about a year ago I went through Eddings again. It was lighter to read and I was grateful for that. And I got to revisit some friends I made the first time I ventured into fantasy. I absolutely agree Eddings is one of those authors that makes a good starting point for fantasy readers. It is light and easy to read. It is the farmboy becomes special because of his power story, but I still love it and I will probably read it again some years from now. Every once in a while you need something fun and easy to read and for me it will be Eddings.
     
  14. Twinner

    Twinner Registered User

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    51
    "Originally Posted by Twinner
    I think you might be trying to hard to find an insult, casual or otherwise, in what I wrote. I thought you were asking us a question. Above is my answer. I see no insult to Eddings in it at all. I prefer chicken to fish too, but that does not amount to an insult to fish.

    I'm not really responding to you, but rather to the various comments I've seen sprinkled in the replies in the forum in general. As I mention later in that same post, I totally get that if you have had enough of the traditional fantasy he offers it makes sense to move on. the same would be true of someone getting tired of UF or steampunk, etc. "


    I thought you were responding to me because you clipped a quote from my post and then wrote your response. Wait, does this mean the last one was not a reply to me either? :)

    I enjoyed the Eddings I read, but just found I couldn't get back to it after reading other things. I'm not sure how you define 'traditional fantasy' but I feel like I still some of that by other authors.
    Good reading...
     
  15. mshnd06

    mshnd06 the Rake

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Read the Belgariad in my early 20s after previously reading Tolkien, Martin, Wolfe, etc... Found the plot, as well as the characters and cultures to be extremely archetypal and dull. Wooden dialogue, flat attempts at humor, one-dimensional characters, everything quite predictable. All, imo, of course. I'm curious to know which elements you considered superior to Martin. Eddings was just never to my taste
     
  16. Lurker8

    Lurker8 Registered User

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    THIS. I felt like I read the same story several times when I bought books set in NEW series/worlds.
     
  17. Lucas Thorn

    Lucas Thorn Cthulhu's Red Bucket

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2012
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    28
    eddings is very fluffy. i think that's what it is. there's no real meat to his books.

    having said that, i might have mentioned i read the belgariad every time i get a flu. i'm almost compulsive about it. probably because the characters are like something out of a great tv series. they're pretty shallow, for sure, but they're likeably shallow. silk remains one of my favourite rogues.

    the fact it all ends so neat and happy is probably something i think is uncool to admit to liking. that's possibly the secret to eddings' neverending popularity and the constant derisive comments. you can't help but to like the belgariad at least, but you don't really want to admit it in case someone will hit you on the head with martin.

    because martin is where the cool kids are at now.
     
  18. werewolfv2

    werewolfv2 Book worm

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    some of the 1st fantasy I read was Eddings. But yeah, all his good books are the same story, while his bad stuff (redemption) is just horrid.

    I still re-read some of his stuff at times, its light, its not complex, its easy and fun. I look at it as visiting old friends. Yes, you might have grown apart and not have much in common anymore, but the past holds some good memories.
     
  19. JamieB

    JamieB Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My problem with Eddings is that he recycles characters and story lines a bit too much. I really enjoyed his stuff when I first discovered him. But after a while, I got bored with the same story over and over again. All prolific authors recycle some, but Eddings seems to do it a lot.
    That said, I haven't read any of his recent stuff. So maybe I should give him another try.
     
  20. Werthead

    Werthead Registered User

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Messages:
    3,673
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    73
    Eddings's early books were enjoyable light fantasy aimed at teenagers (if not overtly, they certainly were in the reprints). His skills were not developed enough to withstand comparisons to other authors, however. His skills with prose, characterisation and plot are severely lacking compared to most other authors in the genre (even Brooks, who has at least moved on a little from his earlier style of writing).

    Eddings's other big problem is that whilst The Belgariad and The Elenium have moments of enjoyability, their respective sequel series The Malloreon and The Tamuli) are gut-wrenchingly awful. Eddings has a big problem with recycling old ideas and old archetypes too many times and draining the life out of them.