King of the Murgos

Well, I’m up to the second book of The Malloreon, and the seventh book about Belgarath, Polgara, and Garion.  This book is really just more of the same from the previous books, in some ways that’s good, and in some ways, not so much.

Book Stats

276 pages (again, I have the two volume collection)

Fantasy

Sequel to Guardians of the West

Setting

The same world as the first six books, although this book takes place in the southern hemisphere of the world, starting around Nyissa and then later in Cthol Murgos.

Plot

The search for Garion and Ce’Nedra’s son Geran continues.  This is much the same as the rest of Eddings’ books.  Travel for a short time, encounter a new problem, overcome the problem, move on to the next place and problem.

Characters

The characters in this book are much the same as the rest of the series, which ends up being the biggest problem for the book.  The characters have been exactly the same for 7 books now.  I was encouraged when the first book started with a section from Errand’s viewpoint, but since that first section everything has come from Garion’s point of view.  Speaking of which, we’re told Errand’s actual name, it’s Eriond, which to me wasn’t particularly inspired.

My biggest problem with this book is Ce’Nedra.  In the last book of The Belgariad, she takes charge and assembles an army to try and help Garion.  In the first book of The Malloreon she insists that she is coming along to find her son.  It seems like the only time that she is even mentioned in this book is when she’s having a nervous breakdown from missing Geran.  I think it was set up that she was a stronger character, and it was irritating to see her constantly breaking down.

Enjoyment

I’m not entirely sure about how successful this series is.  Eddings is essentially telling the same story from The Belgariad, and at one point Garion mentions this to Belgarath.  They’re following the trail of a prophecy, encountering monsters, and chasing after a person who has something they need (Aldur’s Orb in The Belgariad, Geran in The Malloreon).

There are two elements of these books that are absolutely fantastic.  Eddings worldbuilding is brilliantly done, there is a depth to every country, and all of the cultures that the group encounters are fleshed out and unique.  The other brilliant aspect to Eddings writing is the banter between the characters.  Polgara and Belgarath are always fun to watch, and Silk is probably one of the most interesting characters I’ve seen in Fantasy novels.

However, there are problems with this series for me.  The first is that there really isn’t any growth in the characters.  Even though he is older now and an experience king, Garion is still largely the same character that he was at the start of The Belgariad.  Belgarath and Polgara are both thousands of years old, they’re not going to change, but I would like to see more growth from Garion.  My second complaint is with the episodic nature of the story.  Every problem that the encounter is usually solved within two or three chapters.  Other than the overarching plot of chasing after their son, nothing ever gets really bad.  We get one small problem, which is quickly overcome by our hyper-competent characters, and then we move on.  Which brings up another problem, these characters are all so powerful, that they’re never in any danger no matter what comes up.  The lack of depth to the problems that arise combined with the strength of the characters means there’s never any tension in the story.  I’m hoping that this changes in the rest of the series, but I’m not holding my breath.

Overall Grade

Nothing outstanding, but well written.

6/10

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1 Comment

  1. June 2012 Month in Review « Reviews and Ramblings

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