Pawn of Prophecy
Book 1 of the Belgariad
OK, I could carp about how two-dimensional the characters are, how silly so much of the plot is, how revelations are so spelt out … but I think that several of the things that might make a discerning adult wince are the very things that would appeal to the classic bookish fantasy reading young teen. They can completely identify with Garion as the centre of everything for everyone, that sort of egocentrism is natural at that stage. And they can enjoy the smug perspective of knowing more than the grown ups (this is something Enid Blyton was all over) – we know about Barak and Silk’s love-life problems – and can see right through the pretext that all is fine. Yes, relationships are way oversimplified, but that’s OK, isn’t it, as a step between presuming there are no complications and the genuine adult revelation of what a godawful mess they can be (reminds me of ‘I’m an adult now’ by the Pursuit of Happiness: “No more boy meets girl boy loses girl s**t, more like Man tries to figure out what the hell went wrong”).
Eddings is hardly profound or brilliant – as others in this field like LeGuin and Tolkien can be – but the story is capable enough, and pitch perfect for its juvenile audience.
(Man, I’m gonna get caned for the smugness of my perspective in this review...)
April 2013 (Reread)