is, in a word, triumphant. It’s awesome. It’s jaw-dropping. It’s an amazing fantasy series. What's strange is that you won't start out thinking that way. The plot seems generic fantasy and not worth your time; and honestly, you won't read this series for plot. You'll read it for the characters and their dialogue.
Eddings is a fantastic character writer who fleshes out each and every one of his creations: the protagonists, the antagonists, the secondary protagonists, the minor characters, the one-off people...they all have amazing depth and a definite flair to their character that makes each one seem truly individual.
Eddings uses a lot of tropes and cliches in his writing and spins them upside down by putting his own unique twist on them. He is shockingly self-aware, and lampshades just about everything possible in his writing. He manages to take fantasy cliches such as "runaway princess" or "almighty ancient wizard" or "haughty sorceress" and make them so wholly his own that you forget that his characters technically conform to an archetype.
What really gets me about The Belgariad
is the banter. Everyone who reads the series remembers the banter. Every character has snarker elements to them, and the party engages in constant back-and-forth dialogue that will entertain the reader through all the books. Even the characters who are stoic or otherwise unfunny have their moments, often acting as straight men to the more snarky members of the team. Eddings' ability to constantly keep his dialogue fresh and entertaining through all his novels is a marvel.
The sequel series, The Mallorean
, is—as noted above—“more of the same”. But here, “the same” is a good thing. The characterization and dialogue is as excellent as before, but better yet, The Mallorean
is where Eddings shows off his worldbuilding abilities best. While The Belgariad
had plenty of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures
, here he takes the formerly Always Chaotic Evil
races of his previous series and creates from them interesting and intriguing societies.
The books’ weakness is their plot. If you read Eddings for story, you’ll be disappointed. He didn’t write to tell a unique story; he wrote to make interesting characters with witty and self-aware dialogue, and in this respect, he doesn’t disappoint.