Sunday, May 30, 2010

Favorite Series: Belgariad/Mallorean

I'm an avid reader. So much so, in fact, that I usually can never remember how & when I found most of the books I've read for the first time. Despite that, I remember exactly when I found this series. It was the tail end of my sophomore year of high school. I was walking down an aisle in my high school's library, running my fingers across the spines of the books. It was a habit I picked up from another book I had read awhile before. About halfway down the aisle, a book pinched me. I jerked my hand back and knocked the book onto the floor. I picked it up and read the title: "Pawn Of Prophecy" by David Eddings. Thus I started to follow the adventures of Garion as he went from young scullery boy to sorcerer to king as written in the Belgariad.

What has indelibly marked this series in my heart & mind is the cast of characters in the story. They take a fairly typical storyline for a fantasy series and turn it into an incredibly unique experience filled with laughter, sadness, adventure, and love. Over the course of the five novels, each character manages to carve out his own niche in your heart. And while you'll definitely develop favorites, each and every one of them becomes a necessary link in the enjoyment of the story. Oh, and since I know you're wondering, dear readers, my favorite character in this series is Belgarath the Sorcerer. There's just something I find very appealing about the casual mischievousness Belgarath portrays throughout the entirety of the series, while at the same time being a strong force for good. When you read the series, you'll understand. But I love all of them.

There were real pangs of loss when I finished Enchanter's Endgame. It felt like I was leaving cherished friends behind. Sure, I could re-read the series, but that would only enhance the loss when I finished it again. And I spent about a month trying to find another series of books I could move on to, in order to get this series out of my head. Nothing really caught my eye until I noticed this black paperback in a stand near the town library's sci-fi & fantasy section. The back of the book was facing out and I started to read the description and stopped halfway through the first sentence. Garion was hunting Zandramas. My jaw hit the floor, there was MORE! Thus I found & continued to follow the adventures of Garion as he journeyed throughout a foreign land in search of his abducted son in the Mallorean.

Most authors would just re-hash the original story in a sequel series, but Eddings actually CONTINUED the storyline, adding a plethora of new characters, re-visiting others, and creating an even MORE compelling story adding even more emotional layers to his established characters, and fleshing out characters (and even entire societies) that weren't fully covered in the first quintet.

Finally, just because, he wanted to make this one of the most awesome series in fantasy genre, Eddings added two prequels telling the life stories of two of the "eternal" characters in the series Belgarath the sorcerer and his lovely daughter, Polgara.

With these two volumes, the history of the worlds created in the Belgariad & expanded upon in the Mallorean was told to completion, while explaining how two of the most beloved characters in the ten books came to be who they are.

This is a series of novels that I have no problem saying I love. And I'd recommend them to anyone looking for a good read. Reading these novels, you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer, and you'll fall in love, just like I did. Read them, and tell me what you think!

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