Magician’s Gambit

Three books down, two to go, and I’m pretty much at the halfway point of David Eddings’s Belgariad.  Ok, I just checked the page count for volume two (which has books 4 and 5) and I’m a little bit past the halfway point.  Either way, on with the full review for book 3.

Book Stats

213 pages

Fantasy

3rd book of the Belgariad (sequel to Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery)

Characters

Our same lovable crew from the first books.  However, this book is the first one that has a viewpoint from a character other than Garion.  The first couple of chapters of this book as well as a couple chapters further down the line have Ce’Nedra as the viewpoint character.  After reading nothing but Garion for a while this is a bit of a welcome change.  It’s also interesting to see the beginnings of the romance between Garion and Ce’Nedra.  While the books are not terribly long, the journey of the characters has been going on for quite some time at this point in the story.  And if you have been on the road for several months with several older people and one person roughly your own age, there is a very real possibility that they would begin to fall for each other a little bit.  All in all the characters are still just as much fun as they have been throughout the first two books.  At this point I think that Silk may be my favorite character, and it’s really interesting to watch something happen to him that makes him a little uncomfortable for once.

Setting

During the course of this book, the characters spend more time out in the wild then they spend in various towns.  The worldbuilding in this part of the book was just as brilliant to me as the rest of the series has been.  One of the passages that struck me as being perfectly written involved a hideous monster.  As they are traveling through enemy territory they hear a flap of enormous wings.  Belgarath quickly tells Garion that he thought this particular monster had been dead for centuries.  As Garion presses him for more information Belgarath tells him that the Gods created three of the creature but the two males killed each other during the first mating season and as a result the female has been alone for centuries.  In terms of the impact on the story, that line really doesn’t matter.  In terms of worldbuilding that is absolutely brilliant.  The concept of Gods creating a species that is quickly whittled down to just one living member is something that to me is interesting enough to carry at least a short story if not a much larger piece of a novel.  This series is filled with examples such as this that should be used in a worldbuilding master class for anyone who wants to write fantasy novels.

Plot

The plot for this book is the continued efforts of the party to reacquire the Orb of Aldur.  Once again the book doesn’t really end, but I’ve stopped holding that against this series.  It’s interesting to follow this story because Eddings pretty much tells you what is going to happen for the entire series in the prologue of the first book.  Although we know what is going on, the main perspective character doesn’t, and while there isn’t much tension in this formula, it still works well as a novel because of the quality of the writing.

Enjoyment

All three books thus far have been quick reads, which is really good because if the books were longer it wouldn’t work out nearly as well as it does.  Even though the first three books have all been pretty much the same thing – traveling throughout the world chasing after the Orb – the quick pace keeps them from getting too stale.  It’s also been fun to watch as Garion starts to learn more about his powers and take more of an active role in the party.  I’m enjoying the books and I look forward to finishing the series.

Overall Grade

More of the same from the first two books, but it’s still very well done.

8/10

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