At the time I started reading them (roughly 1989), Eddings was in the middle of the sequel series, called The Malloreon (1987-1991). Another five book series, this one picks up where the first left off and explores the rest of the main continent and the continent on the other side of the world. In the end, the reader is left with a much different world than when the series started, many important revelations, and to be honest, I preferred The Malloreon over The Belgariad when all was said and done, for a variety of reasons that I'll get into in each book post. I caught up to his current progress in The Malloreon at that time, and eagerly waited for the last two books in the series to come out in paperback in the early 90's.
Eddings wrote three more novels in the same world, two being memoirs of the lives of very long-lived characters (Belgarath and Polgara, who have lived 7,000 and 5,000 years, respectively), the other being a collection of reference and background material for the series (which I actually have yet to read). All three of those will be covered in this retrospective.
Originally all books were credited to David Eddings. Later in his career, his books were all credited with his wife, Leigh Eddings, as a co-author. He said later that she contributed to all of his books. The ones they wrote later in their careers (anything after The Tamuli series) are junk, in my opinion. I don't know if one or the other was writing more for these, if they had gone senile or what. But they're horrible, written poorly and rehash the same characters and ideas from their earlier, better series. It was a huge disappointment for me to see their writing decline so much, considering how much I liked their earlier material.
I couldn't find a picture of Leigh.
Both of the Eddingses are dead now. Leigh died in 2007 from a series of strokes, David in 2009 of natural causes. Their deaths went somewhat unnoticed, only a few postings on the internet about it, and I was sad they didn't get more attention. In 2007, in a bit of unsettling news, it was reported that David accidentally burned down his home office while flushing gasoline out of his car, destroying many of the original manuscripts for his novels. The rest of his materials went to Reed College in Oregon, his alma mater (the same college that Steve Jobs famously attended briefly), upon his death.
|Eddings in 2007, after the fire, looking quite old.|
Anyway, The Belgariad and The Malloreon aren't exactly the "deepest" fantasy and they are a bit derivative, but they were one of the early fantasy series that helped to take the genre mainstream (along with series like The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson, Xanth by Piers Anthony and Shannara by Terry Books – all on Del Rey, which spear-headed the charge) and are just plain fun and entertaining to read.
Honestly, though, it's more for teenagers than adults, though many adults will enjoy them. Almost down to YA book levels (before there was an actual YA category in bookstores). I highly recommend them for anyone in elementary or middle school.
I've re-read these books many times over the years, but haven't read them since 2003. I did listen to the audio versions of the first two books, Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery, last year when I was moving cross-country, but I found it took away from my enjoyment of the series because I didn't like the reader, so I stopped with the audio versions.
These books are much shorter than something like The Wheel of Time, so I should be able to knock them out fairly quick. Sadly, they aren't on Kindle yet, so I've had to dig out my physical copies of the books. The posts won't have much in the way of pictures, since there are virtually no fansites or art on the internet for these series, as they were completed before the internet as we know it today existed and have waned in popularity since.
As always, there will be spoilers for the entire series in each blog post, so if you don't want the series spoiled, you should hold off reading these until you've read the entire series. If you don't care or have already read it, then dive on in. Check the links below or the Fiction Retrospectives link at the top of every page.
Book 1 - Pawn of Prophecy
Book 2 - Queen of Sorcery
Book 3 - Magician's Gambit
Book 4 - Castle of Wizardry
Book 5 - Enchanter's End Game
Book 1 - Guardians of the West
Book 2 - King of the Murgos
Book 3 - Demon Lord of Karanda
Book 4 - Sorceress of Darshiva
Book 5 - The Seeress of Kell
Belgarath the Sorcerer
Polgara the Sorceress
The Rivan Codex