The Seeress of Kell

The Seeress of Kell is the fifth book of David Eddings’ Malloreon, and it serves as a fitting ending to the series.  This post is going to be discussing this book, and then the series as a whole, which will also include a comparison to The Belgariad.  Since I’ve set up enough for myself to talk about, time to get started.

Book Stats

272 pages

Fantasy

Fifth book of The Malloreon (Sequel to Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, and Sorceress of Darshiva)

Characters

Considering this is the fifth book of the series, and the tenth book centered around Garion, if you don’t know the characters, you never will.

Setting

This book takes place in several of the smaller kingdoms within Mallorea, starting with Kell and then going to the island of Perivor.  While in those places they’re still trying to find the Place Which Is No More for the final encounter with Zandramas and the end of their quest.

Plot

This book worked a lot better for me than the previous couple of books in the series because we’re finally moving towards the conclusion of the series.  It was a fairly standard ending, nothing surprising at all, but it was well written.

Enjoyment

There’s not a whole lot to say at this point about this book in particular, so I’ll leave more of my thoughts for the series review.  At this point I’ll just give the book it’s individual score and move on.

Overall Grade

A fair end to the story, still nothing you haven’t read in plenty of novels before.

6/10

Spoilers for both The Belgariad and The Malloreon included from this point on.

Series Enjoyment

And now we get to the overall grade for the series.  In general, this series felt far too tidy for me.  Everything worked out just a little too well, and there was never any real sense of danger throughout the entire series.  The worldbuilding in these books is first class, and Eddings does a fantastic job of making the world feel real even when you’re only getting to see small parts of it.

The characters were also very well done, and the constant bantering back and forth was fun to read about.  However, I was a little annoyed with how the women in the party were treated.  Even after seeing quite a few battles and tons of dead bodies, the male characters are still constantly trying to keep the women safe from seeing the carnage.  And this includes Polgara, who is over 3,000 years old and has seen more than her fair share of death, and Velvet, who kills several people throughout the course of the series.  It wasn’t a huge problem for the series, but it was enough to annoy me as the books went on.

I also had a problem with the ending of this series.  Just like at the end of The Belgariad, Garion is essentially just a witness to what happens.  Even though he’s the central character to the entire series, he really does very little to effect the outcome of the story, he’s really just along for the ride.  To me this left the climax of the series feeling very flat.  To compile the problems, after the climax of the story, Eddings has another 50 pages where he describes exactly what happens to all of the characters who were part of the story.  It was excessive and far too drawn out.

Series Grade

All in all, The Malloreon is a solidly written – if dated – Fantasy series.

6/10

The Belgariad vs. The Malloreon

And now we get to the big question, which series is better?  It’s difficult to say, on a technical level, The Malloreon is probably better written.  Garion is older in The Malloreon, and so he isn’t simply hiding behind everyone else, he’s able to participate more throughout the duration of the story.  On the other hand, they’re essentially the exact same story.  Go on a quest for such and such an item, visit one area, get into some trouble, get out of trouble, move on.  Rinse and repeat for 5 books.

I was also a little troubled with several aspects of The Malloreon.  The biggest problem is that it felt shoehorned into the mythology of the world.  We’re going through the same steps of fulfilling the age-old prophecy as we did in The Belgariad, but Belgarath and Polgara (again – 7,000 and 3,000 years old) don’t know anything about the prophecy that they’re fulfilling.  This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t know virtually everything about the prophecy they were fulfilling in The Belgariad.

I was also really annoyed with Poledra, Belgarath’s wife.  In the first series, it’s pretty much explained that she died.  But no, she was simply away – for 3,000 years.  That was one aspect of the story that I couldn’t wrap my head around.  3,000 years and she never wanted to see her daughter or her husband?  I’m not buying it.

So what’s a reader to do?  My advice if you’re interested in these books.  Go ahead and read The Belgariad, it’s a pretty solid story, and if you’re a fan of Fantasy novels it’s interesting to see the change in the genre from the 1980’s to today.  After you finish The Belgariad, go ahead and consider picking up The Malloreon.  Just be warned in advance that it’s essentially the same story told again.  I also recommend waiting longer than the 6 months that I waited in between reading these series.

And one last question, David Eddings has two other Fantasy series, The Elenium and The Tamuli, as well as several other Fantasy novels.  Am I going to be picking any of them up?  Probably not, and if I ever do, it’s going to be years down the line.

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1 Comment

  1. June 2012 Month in Review « Reviews and Ramblings

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