We are going way back to my childhood and perhaps one of the first fantasy series I consumed like candy. Thankfully, there were plenty of these books to keep me occupied. Pawn of Prophecy starts a five book quintology and is followed up by another five book series, The Malloreon, which is not to be confused with the Mandalorian—like at all. There are also two standalone novels.
What’s interesting is at the time of writing David Eddings didn’t really want to write fantasy. He’d been writing adventure and thriller books when he noticed how many times the Lord of the Rings had been reprinted and decided that maybe there was something to this whole fantasy genre. And the rest is history.
Garion starts his story as many fantasy heroes do, as an orphan boy living on a farm. He’s awkward, charming, and has a strange dry voice in his head separate from his own consciousness. His Aunt Pol watches over him as he does all the typical teenage boy stuff, like getting into trouble and being shy about a girl he likes.
As with any good fantasy story, there is a traveling storyteller, nicknamed Wolf, who is not what he seems. Wolf arrives with the news that a precious object has been stolen and he must recover it, with the help of Aunt Pol, who is also not what she seems. The merry band follows a trail of clues and collects quite a few interesting characters along the way, including my personal favorite, a man named Silk or Kheldar, depending on who’s asking, who just happens to be a Drasnian prince/spy/thief.
When the group is arrested, Garion spots a mysterious individual in a green cloak who he suspects might be behind their difficulties. This figure is later exposed and in the process Garion barely escapes capture. He learns later that Aunt Pol is actually a powerful sorceress, and Wolf his grandfather who is also a wizard of sorts.
I remember these books as being a delightful adventure with plenty of interesting history and dark characters lurking around every corner. Whether or not they’d hold up to my withering scrutiny now is up for debate. I’d rather not risk it. One of the elements that I appreciate in Edding’s books, this one included, is that he doesn’t shy away from hurting the main character or give them too many good skills while everyone else just has to follow along. He also makes amazingly interesting characters with a lot of personality and heart.
As this book sets up the world, there is a rather lengthy prologue that gives some much needed context to why recovering the lost object is so important. The Belgariad is an exercise in worldbuilding, where the history of the world itself, and the creation of its gods is where the original problem starts. This adds quite a bit of complexity to the story, and I’ll admit as a young teen I couldn’t really keep the history straight. All you really need to know is that Asharak is the bad buy.
Again, I remember these to be excellent and I loved them as a young teen. I don’t recall there being any objectional material and the adventure and sense of peril elements come through the strongest. That said, at the time I was pretty naive myself so if there was any innuendo, I probably missed it entirely.
However, for the time period this was written, most fantasy tended to be very clean, so I’m fairly confident in recommending this to readers 10 and up.
I give Pawn of Prophecy 5/5 for making my childhood magical.
For the reviews of the next books in the series, here are some handy links:
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