Illyrio Mo'Parties

Is David Eddings any good?

49 posts in this topic

Saw the first volumes of The Belgariad on special, but I don't want to start a big series if it's gonna be shit. Any opinions?

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It's not that big, really. Each book is much shorter than the average GRRM tome.

The Belgariad was my introduction to fantasy novels and began my love of the genre.

I may had started LoTR first, but got real bored with the whole party build up. I went back after I read The Belgariad.

I'm guessing they would be classed as "young adult" books these days.

Oh, and I did re-read them in my 20's and 30's and still enjoyed them.

Edited by AdesteFideles

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Are you trolling here?

I'll bite.  The Belgariad was the first fantasy series I read all the way through.  I was 12 at the time.  I thought it was the greatest and I have re-read it at least a dozen times.

It's paint-by-numbers, one-dimensionial orphan farm boy saves the world stuff. 

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No I'm not trolling - so it's generic and lame but still good enough to re-read?

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Just now, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

No I'm not trolling - so it's generic and lame but still good enough to re-read?

I think a lot of readers cut their fantasy teeth on Eddings, especially those who were tweens in the mid-1980s when the Belgariad was first released.

It's nothing complex, but the characters are fun.  I sound like I'm knocking it, but if I had picked it up for the first time today when I'm in my 40's, I might roll my eyes.  As a pre-teen, it was epic stuff.

BTW, I left an ancient copy of Pawn of Prophecy out for my pre-teen kids.  They have not taken the hint, but hopefully they will and enjoy it as much as I did.

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I have pretty much read all of the fantasy novels Eddings wrote (or part wrote, along with his wife), and have enjoyed them all.

The plot might be simplistic compared to GRRM, but it was the characters that kept hauling me back once a decade or so.

Light and airy. Like a good souffle.

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Fluffy fun. I haven't read them in a LONG time though I remember I enjoyed the sense of humor as a teen. Just avoid his later stuff.

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This is kind of a more difficult question than it really should be for some of us round here, I think. Because, in a lot of ways, the answer is, the desire to qualify and over-explain aside, pretty much ... no. But some of us -- and I'm one of these people -- read Eddings early on in our reading lives / experiences with fantasy fiction and remember his stuff very fondly, despite it being in a lot of ways not technically very good at all.

 

The approach to the chosen one / prophecy narrative is paint-by-numbers. The dialogue introduced me to the application of dry wit in this kind of fiction, but is overly impressed with its own cleverness and cuteness and reads as painfully overdone now. The books go for a degree of cynicism in politics, but always keep the good guy / bad guy division firmly intact. There's a certain amount of "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" going on. I loved them when I was thirteen through seventeen, reread them again and again, but that was early in my fantasy reading, and once I moved on I rarely felt the desire to go back, even if I still sometimes reflect on them fondly. Basically: I think they were an important step for the fantasy genre to take on its journey, but I also think they have aged very, very badly and I'm skeptical that they've got very much to offer to a contemporary reader. But hey, if you do decide to try them, who knows? They have given joy to many, including me; maybe they'll work for you too. I wouldn't bet on it, but they weren't popular for no reason, so it could well be.

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It's fun but it has no depth, at all.  It is very very generic.  I enjoyed it when I was in High School.

 

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It's good when you're 12 or 13. Think of it as early YA fantasy, before YA was really a thing.

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I'll agree that it's alright for an intro to the fantasy genre but once you start to get into some of the meatier books/series it's not something I think is going to be revisited. Also, the sequel series (The Malloreon) is almost a carbon copy with a few characters subbed in for others. So there's that too

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He's okay but very very vanilla fantasy. There's GOOD, EVIL, and SNARKY.

Also, he's big on racial essentialism but everyone is a fictional white person so it's like, "French people are naturally X and X" and every French person turns out to be X and X.

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1 hour ago, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

Hmmm... I believe I'll pass. Thanks guys

If you're looking for fluffy fun, then it's at least worth a look. Just because it doesn't have depth or grit doesn't make it not worth reading. Borrow it from the library and read a few chapters. It's one of those stories that most people who read fantasy know and can reference. I still love Polgara.

I read it again not too long ago and still found it fun, but I admit, I don't know how much of that was nostalgia. I wasn't a big fan of the sequel series (as was said, just the first series revisited)

Edited by Gertrude

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I agree with the other suggestions in the thread that there's a time for David Eddings and that time is probably when you're a teenager. If you were intending to read one of his series, then I'd probably suggest the Elenium series is slightly less cookie-cutter fantasy than the Belgariad, the protagonist isn't even a farmboy.

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Meh.  If you haven't read it, I'd say give it a shot.  It's like Feist, Jordan, or any other bullshit from that era.  Simple, campbellian, and pretty much what we'd consider YA now.  For me though it's a good foundation for your SF/F journey.  Read if for no other reason than to appreciate where the genre has been, and what it's become.  

 

Just stay away from the tie ins from back then (really any time period), they are pieces of petrified cat shit. 

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I didn't read his earlier series. I did read the Elenium and Tamuli series, in high school, and loved them. Then I spent part of an afternoon in my early 30s picking through an anthology... It was awful, hackneyed tripe. All the good guys speak in more or less the same snarky, too-impressed-with-my-own cleverness voice, and all the bad guys are one-dimensional morons, except the one bad guy who used to be friends with the good guys, who had the Good Guy Snarky Voice.

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45 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

You saying he shoudln't read Elminster?!

You know me well. 

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I could re-read them every five years or so and be satisfied. I mean, I just watched Aladdin again the other day and was delighted, even though I was 11 when it came out. Although it's not written for children specifically, the Belgeriad is very light, corny reading. It's worlds apart from modern speculative fiction.

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