My review of Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Magic old and new awaits the world when Riva’s Orb is stolen from its Guardian. Sleeping Gods that should be left to lie begin to awaken with consequences for all. Prophecies ruin and dominions eye will fall upon the men of the West if Ancient Belgarath, Polgara and Garion can’t return the Orb to its rightful place.
Let’s begin with a simple question, have you heard of David Eddings? No, shame on you and you call yourself a fantasy nerd! Quickly Google away and come back to me. Still no, well maybe just maybe you have come to the wrong site, perchance where you looking for The Prawn of Prophecy, the world’s best prawn recipe. While this site can’t help you with that but maybe I can: first you need garlic, chilli, peanut oil… hold on I think I am getting side-tracked…
Pawn of Prophecy is a fantasy novel in its truest form; we have Kings in waiting, mad Gods, magic swords (slight spoiler) and Ancient sorcerers. At the core of Pawn of Prophecy is the quest to retrieve a precious (intentional) object of power before Evil rises once more and destroys the world. You know, nerd candy.
We follow Garion from being a babe on Faldor’s farm, then as he emerges into manhood and joins the quest to retrieve Riva’s Orb. The Orb is an object of immense power and alongside his grandfather Belgarath and is aunt Polgara they must track and retrieve it before it can be used to wake the mad God Torak. Along the way Garion, Belgarath and Polgara are joined by a fellowship (I think you know where I am going with this) of diverse individuals: Silk the spy and Barak the protector. Eddings has written these two wonderfully: Silk is sly, smart and accomplished and Barak is big, strong and a magnificent brutal. Their interactions are quick and funny, exposing an able and close friendship. Traveling far and wide the group cross a world of beauty, featuring with a wide variety of peoples and cultures just daring to be explored in more detail (but we have to wait for the later books to satisfy this craving).
While this is a tried and true fantasy format you never feel like its redundant or that you have read its kind countless time previously. From the outset you feel a connection with Garion’s character and share in his doubt, frustration and his struggle to be the man he wants to be in a time when major events are shaping the world around him. The first time I read Pawn of Prophecy was when I was a teenager and I think we can all relate to this need and desire to be confident, strong and dependable, making your voice heard to the world and the ones you respect. To a degree this will always stay with me when I read this novel and I know I will enjoy the book every time because of it.
Eddings has also injected an edge of doubt and fear into Garion’s character in the guise of Asharak the Murgo. It’s a subtle play and the right level of threat for this book and Garion; Asharak has been watching Garion from the day of his birth but a compulsion keeps him from ever being able to let anyone know about him. With the passing of years comes normalcy, complacency and Garion forgets the danger is even there, right up to the moment you least expect. As you progress through these books this relationship does build to a satisfying climax.
The one negative I found, well two, was firstly the book is finished too quickly, so I suggest you have the second one handy as you will be moving on quickly to Queen of Sorcery. Secondly, I found Garion’s luck and ability to be in the right place at the right time to discover a vital piece of information or thwart a reprobate to be bothersome and redundant. However, the positions Garion becomes involved in are drafted well and the character isn’t just handed the win but is provided the opportunity to get himself out of the moment.
This book and subsequent will feed your fantasy appetite greatly, unfortunately you may have to take a second bite to get that “filling at the corners feeling”, if you don’t mind me paraphrasing a very famous hobbit.
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