I've taken a little bit of time off my reading targets over the last couple of months. I've got a hell of a lot going on at the moment with work, rehearsals after work three nights a week, workouts in the morning three mornings a week and packed out weekends. In all honesty, I'm starting to feel quite burnt out, and the last thing I want to do when I feel like that is dive into a book that requires significant levels of concentration. Quite frankly, right now I don't even want to be reading a book where I don't already know the storyline!
I guess the reason for this association with me is the fact that Eddings was my first ever introduction to adult (as opposed to teen) fantasy literature. I was 13 years old and packing a bag ready for a school trip to Germany and moaning to my mother that I didn't have time to go and buy some new books (I was a terrible bookworm as a child, it was fabulous). My dad overheard me, and a few minutes later came into my room with five small paperbacks in his hand. He laid them down on my bed, picked one out, and told me to take it with me and give it a go.
The book he had given me was Pawn of Prophecy, the first book in Eddings' original fantasy series The Belgariad, and from the moment I finished the first chapter, I was hooked.
However, I'm not completely blindsided by Eddings, and there are some negatives to his work! Eddings has a major tendency to repeat most of his ideas and tropes- the stone with a soul, the god disguised as a mortal (or a cat), the female magic user and so on, and so there was a definite sense of déjà-vu reading all his works. The thing is though, Eddings has never claimed to be original. He always stated he wanted to create stories for the modern audience that echoed the old myths and legends which is why so many of his plots are familiar to us. He also uses the handy (and a bit lazy) 'prophecy' trope to full effect to explain why events appear to be ridiculously predictable.
Despite this perceived lack of imagination, it is Eddings' lack of flowery, descriptive language that pulls you into his worlds (you won't find three paragraphs dedicated to the description of the embroidery on a jacket here!). He focuses on the easy, humourous, witty conversational dialogue you would find in everyday life between friends and it makes his characters instantly likeable, even if they appear blind to the events so obviously occurring around them.
This dialogue, much of which I can now quote verbatim, is probably why I read all of his books, back to back, without fail, at least once every 2-3 years.
If, however, you are looking for pure entertainment and a light hearted romp through fantasy, no-one, and I mean no-one does it better.
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