Book Cover
Title Belgarath the Sorcerer
Author David and Leigh Eddings
Cover Art Laurence Schwinger
Publisher Del Rey - 1996
First Printing Ballantine - 1995
Book Cover
Title Polgara the Sorceress
Author David and Leigh Eddings
Cover Art Keith Parkinson
Publisher Del Rey - 1999
First Printing Ballantine - 1997
Book Cover
Title The Rivan Codex
Author David and Leigh Eddings
Cover Art ---
Publisher Del Rey - 1999
First Printing Ballantine - 1998
Category Epic Fantasy
Warnings None
Main Characters Belgarath, Polgara, Beldin, Beltira, Belkira, Zedar, Torak
Main Elements Wizards, gods
Website ---

Click to read the summaryBelgarath the Sorcerer

Click to read the summaryPolgara the Sorceress

Click to read the summaryThe Rivan Codex

I finally completed the epic task of reading the entire fantasy epic that start with a re-read of the Belgariad, continued with the Mallorean and then followed up by the two prequels and finally the companion book, the Rivan Codex.

I enjoyed Belgarath the Sorcerer since we go back in time to his childhood and see the entire history of the world up till the start of the Belgariad. Though many of the events covered in this book were referenced in the Belgariad, this filled in a lot of holes. And Belgarath as a narrator is kind of quirky and fun to read his snarky sarcasm. And also, it reminds you that while history may record events it also tends to blow them out of proportions. The fact that Belgarath turned into a serval cat and then urinated on one of Urvon's Hounds to distract it probably didn't make it into any ballad or epic poem...

Now, I read Polgara the Sorceress about a month after Belgarath and it covers the EXACT same time period. Yes, it's a different character, though her voice and personality are very similar to that of her father's, and yes, the two characters were often apart so Polgara experienced things her father didn't, but still, it was incredibly repetitve to cover the exact same ground, especially as you now knew how all the major events turned out. It would be an excellent book to read 5-10 years after the others though, as a refresher to remind you of everything in the world. But since both Belgarath and Polgara are big books, it was a bit of a drag reading them one after the other.

Finally, the Rivan Codex is the equivalent of Tolkien's Silmarillion. It is not a novel, rather it collects the works that the Edding's wrote to prepare for writing the Belgariad and Mallorean. Unfortunately, while the Silmarillion fills in a lot of gaps in the history of Middle-Earth, the contents of the Rivan Codex show up nearly word for word in the books themselves, which mean after reading Belgarath/Polgara I got the read the exact same events for a THIRD time, just one month after Polgara so I struggled not to get bored to death reading it. It adds very little to the overall 12-book collection, though the parts where Edding writes about the process he went through to invent this world, what is involved in writing an epic fantasy, and even responding to critics that his work is derivative (it is in some ways Lord of the Rings Light, but then Lord of the Rings is derivative, taking from the old Norse epics which Tolkien readily admits, so don't forget that whenever you accuse an author of taking another author's idea, probably someone had it even long before that, Tolkien doesn't own epic fantasy, Rowling doesn't own "kid discovers he's a wizard", and so on) but those parts were far and few between. So unless you are the world's biggest Belgariad fan, I'd recommend skipping this book entirely, or just reading the bits I just mentioned, because you already know the rest.

But on the whole, the 12 books series is wonderful and I highly recommend it as the classic fantasy that it is.

Posted: September 2017


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