Enchanter’s End Game

Today I read the fifth and final book in the Belgariad by David Eddings.  There were some parts of the series that I really enjoyed, and some parts that didn’t work for me as well as I think they could have.  Either way, on with the review for the fifth book.

Book Stats

236 pages

Fantasy

Final book of the Belgariad (sequel to Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, and Castle of Wizardry)

Characters

I enjoyed the books, but one of the main problems as I progressed deeper into the series was the fact that Garion is almost static throughout the entire series.  He starts out as an unsure farmboy, and ends the series as an unsure sorcerer and king.  I didn’t like the fact that he never seemed to grow in the series.  While all of the characters were fun to read and they all had their own little quirks, they weren’t always driving the story forward for me.

Setting

The subtlety of the setting and the depth to the world that Eddings has built is fully evident throughout every book in the series, and the final book is no exception.

Plot

The plotting of this book didn’t work out very well for me.  In the fourth book Garion makes the decision to seek out Torak on his own to try and avoid a full scale war.  But this doesn’t really work out because the war still happens.  This book follows the viewpoints of many of the kings and queens that were introduced in the previous books as the queens deal with running their kingdoms while the kings are preparing for war.  Parts of the plot just felt too forced for me and didn’t really work out.

Enjoyment

This book really started to expand the story with quite a few different viewpoints as we reach the climactic points.  However, it felt like a strange departure from the style of the rest of the series.  Most of this book seemed a little forced and drawn out to me after the way the rest of the series was written.  All said, I enjoyed the series, but this book wasn’t my favorite.

Overall Grade

The very end of the book was entertaining, but the book wanders around too long before it gets there.

6/10

Series Enjoyment

The 5 book series in 2 volumes.

(This will include some spoilers)

I enjoyed this series, but to me it suffered from a bit of the same problem that the Harry Potter books suffered from, which is that the last books are weaker than some of the earlier books.  There were parts of this series that were absolutely brilliant, and other parts that were far too bogged down.  I also thought that some of the prophecies that the characters were following in the book were unnecessary and just served as more filler.  Specifically Lelldorin wasn’t a very big part of the plot and neither was Taiba, even though it is said several times that they are absolutely essential to the overall prophecy, I didn’t really see it.

I’ve said in every post about this series that the worldbuilding is first class and this book should be required reading for any author who wants a perfect example of how to add simple touches that make the world seem much deeper without requiring several pages of info-dumping.

The very end of the series didn’t work for me.  There was a scene about 20 pages (in my edition) before the final battle between Garion and Torak where Belgarath is still explaining to Garion about how to use his powers.  I found it annoying that that close to the ending, Garion is still pretty much the same inexperienced boy that he starts the series as.  Shortly after that, Belgarath fights Zedar and is so enraged that he can’t even focus his will, so it ends up being a fistfight between two 7,000 year old men.  Belgarath was never shaken at any point in the story, and that part just didn’t strike me as being in his character.

All said, this series probably needed to be either 2 books shorter or several books longer.  Before you say that that sentence makes no sense at all, let me explain.  The last book expanded greatly upon everything that had been happening in the previous books.  There were sections with rapidly switching viewpoints from all of the characters who had travelled with Garion throughout the series as well as some of the other monarchs.  To me it was too far differentiated from the style of the first several books of the series.  The last book of the series is not the time to start expanding the viewpoints.  For the style of the last book to work, it would have been better for the series to have more viewpoints in the earlier books and to spend more time with the other characters that we focus on in the final book.  To do this would required more books.  The other alternative would have been to shrink the scale of the series of the series to only 3 books or so and strictly focus the books on Garion.  As well as the worldbuilding was done, some of the world could have been left out and the first 3 books could have been condensed into 2 books and still contained the same overall story.

Series Overall Grade

While I have some issues with the series, it’s still very well written and it does some very good things.  It’s not the best series that I’ve ever read, but it does quite a few things very well and I would suggest it to anyone who enjoys Fantasy novels.

7/10

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