It’s rare that I will read a book that I think I’ll hate. There just isn’t enough time in the world for that.
There are many examples of books that I wasn’t sure I would like that ended up really enjoying, like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. The first book got me interested enough to keep going, and now I am on waitlists for the remaining books at the library. But, I don’t love them. There are books I’m pretty sure I’ll love and do, like the Saga graphic novels by Brian K. Vaughan, or anything by Brandon Sanderson. Of course, there are ones I end up not liking that I thought I would, like Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey.
So finding a book that I thought I’d hate but loved… that’s a specific thing for me. And only one book/series meets that criteria. The Belgariad by David Eddings.
There was a huge used bookstore in our area, more like a warehouse really, where I could spend hours. I always left with something, but my husband was a bit pickier. On one visit, he decides he wants to get this series by Eddings. I had never heard of it before, but he had claimed it was supposed to be great. I wasn’t sold, but we picked them up. He isn’t much of a reading-for-pleasure type of guy, so of course, they sat on our bookshelves for a very long time.
Fast forward to a time where I was struggling to figure out what to read. My shelves are full, and sometimes it’s not good to have so many options. He told me to read Pawn of Prophecy, the first book in the series. I was leery. I have started many a series to never finish (usually my fault, but sometimes the author’s). This was a five book series, and I knew it might be a big time commitment.
Not to mention, the blurb just seemed… well, boring. Tired. Cliché.
Long ago, so the Storyteller claimed, the evil God Torak sought dominion and drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.
But that was only a story, and Garion did not believe in magic dooms, even though the dark man without a shadow had haunted him for years.
Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved – but did not know?
For a while his dreams of innocence were safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while…
There was nothing that jumped out at me. Nothing that seemed to make it different from the countless other fantasy hero quests I have read before (and will read again). I was pretty sure I was going to hate this book, and it took me a while to finally say okay. But, I had recommended countless books to my husband, so this time, I’d take one from him.
It does start out a little slow. The writing isn’t anything earth-shattering. It’s a bit predictable. So why would I say I love it?
It’s fun. The characters are well written. They make fun of each other and themselves. There are smart-ass comments. You care about them. And even though the journey seems to meander and take a while, it kept me interested because I enjoyed how the characters got there. The story may seem cliché to some, but this was written in 1982, so I cut it some slack. It had that nostalgic feeling that kept me coming back. I read through the whole series rather quickly, even choosing it over other series I was wading my way through. I wound up enjoying all five books immensely (rating three of them 5 stars on Goodreads, the others 4 stars).
It’s hard to pinpoint specifics of why I enjoyed this series so much, but I did. And I recommend it to anyone, of any age. It’s a classic sword and sorcery fantasy series that could get anyone into the genre. It’s simple yet fun, and it’s a quick read (I read each in about 2 days). So pick up this classic already!