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Illyrio Mo'Parties

Is David Eddings any good?

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I'd say it's self-consciously generic and cheesy (Eddings was a lit major I believe, so knew literary conventions and tropes inside out and deliberately played along with them). In its own way it was mildly subversive for the time, but it gets hoisted by its own petard quite a lot of the time. Has some good characters, e.g. Silk in the Belgariad, but if you do choose to read Eddings, its very much a case of 'read one series, you've read them all'. So either Belgariad plus maybe Mallorean, or Elenium plus maybe Tamuli (the latter two series are slightly less young adult and set in a different world but the character types, themes and writing are very much the same). 

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The Belgariad for me is like a hang out TV sit-com. I know the characters, I know their punchlines before they ever say them, I know the plot outcomes, but I still want to hang out in the world.

Aside from readability, I'm surprised his books aren't available on Kindle by this point.  It seems an easy way to reach a new YA audience, but who knows with publishing.

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Like I said, I bought something else in the end.

Just curious, when people say it's funny - do you mean like Discworld funny? (i.e. actually funny?) Or, like, ASOIAF funny?

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1 hour ago, Illyrio Mo'Parties said:

Like I said, I bought something else in the end.

Just curious, when people say it's funny - do you mean like Discworld funny? (i.e. actually funny?) Or, like, ASOIAF funny?

Neither. It's more YA humour

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It's not Discworld funny, but it's quite witty. Mostly in the dialogue.

 

2 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Neither. It's more YA humour


I've seen this phrase used a few times, but what does it actually mean? Pratchett wrote YA, after all, and the humour there wasn't vastly different from any of his other books, save for having less pop-culture references.

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8 hours ago, polishgenius said:

It's not Discworld funny, but it's quite witty. Mostly in the dialogue.

 


I've seen this phrase used a few times, but what does it actually mean? Pratchett wrote YA, after all, and the humour there wasn't vastly different from any of his other books, save for having less pop-culture references.

What I meant by it is more juvenile and explicit rather than subtle/implied. I don't necessarily mean it as a bad thing, it's just the way I would describe it

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The humour is mainly of the non-nihilistic cynicism that does appeal to younger teenagers (politics is corrupt, religion is stupid, most people are narrow-minded and self-serving), plus some cultural/ethnic essentialism played for laughs, which, again, is largely self-consciously satirical of ye olde fantasy but, particularly in the characterisation of antagonistic and/or non pseudo-European cultures, can come across as a bit dated and mildly offensive. 

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25 minutes ago, Gasp of Many Reeds said:

 plus some cultural/ethnic essentialism played for laughs, which, again, is largely self-consciously satirical of ye olde fantasy but, particularly in the characterisation of antagonistic and/or non pseudo-European cultures, can come across as a bit dated and mildly offensive. 

I've never read Eddings, but I've heard a fair bit about how his worldbuilding operates like a series of stereotypes.

(I probably will get around to borrowing Pawn of Prophecy from the library at some point, if only to better understand some of the criticisms made against him. I've got plenty to read first though).

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1 hour ago, Roose Boltons Pet Leech said:

I've never read Eddings, but I've heard a fair bit about how his worldbuilding operates like a series of stereotypes.

Oh, this is true.  The people of each nation have rigid cultural traits.  The military in each nation has its own specialty, as if diversification or cross-pollination never occurred.  This gets explained away somewhat in the Mallorean (the follow up to the Belgariad), but even I roll my eyes every time an Arend is vapid, a Sendar is hard-working, or a Drasnian is a spy.

 

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As others have said, it has its place in the history of the genre and it works now as a pre-teen "first fantasy" (probably pre-tween; an 8-year-old could easily handle it and the prose and characterisation is vastly less sophisticated than the likes of Rowling or Pullman). In the UK you actually can't but it anymore as an adult series, it was relaunched as a YA series years ago and it's apparently done quite well.

It is funny, I guess, but the humour is incredibly simplistic and relies on constantly-repeating in-jokes that soon get tiresome.

I do recommend that everyone reads The Rivan Codex, where Eddings very honestly explains how he wrote the books only for the money, and talks at length about how he leveraged a great deal from the publishers and knew exactly when to cash in on the early 1980s fantasy buzz and put the minimum work in necessary for the sequel series (The Belgariad is fun, for kids anyway, but The Malloreon is totally fucking awful), and how he used that same self-derivative structure for his second fantasy world (The Elenium and Tamuli). It's refreshingly honest and free of BS.

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44 minutes ago, Werthead said:

In the UK you actually can't but it anymore as an adult series

This is not true. In the UK The Belgariad is available in two formats: YA and adult. Both are published by Corgi.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Belgariad-Pawn-Prophecy-RHCP/dp/0552554766/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pawn-Prophecy-Book-One-Belgariad/dp/0552168335/

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Oh Christ, is that second cover supposed to be an adult edition? I've seen both cover types but they're both stocked in the YA sections of my local stores, and I just thought they were YA variants.

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I think of David Eddings as a really fun and harmless bit of fantasy which I enjoyed in my teens. I think of it as really the perfect example of a well-done generic series. If there's the Lord of the Rings and ASOI&F as the Godfather and Citizen Kane of fantasy.

This is more a pleasant romantic comedy or Stallone movie.

It's fluff and it doesn't try to be more and you'll enjoy it the entire way.

"It's as good as Dragonlance" is how I'd phrase it.

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I was quite pleasantly surprised by The Belgariad, but he kind of flakes out about midway through The Malloreon with character stagnation and an abundance of convenient coincidences.

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37 minutes ago, Richard Writhen said:

I was quite pleasantly surprised by The Belgariad, but he kind of flakes out about midway through The Malloreon with character stagnation and an abundance of convenient coincidences.

 

The Mallorean also lacked a compelling villain .  

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1 hour ago, GAROVORKIN said:

I would like to see HBO adapt the Belgariad.:)

No.  The story has no depth to plumb.  It is a fully surface story.

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