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|The Mixture As before,
The Redemption of Althalus
David & Leigh Eddings
|If you've read the Eddings' work before, then you
know if you liked or didn't like it.
And whichever way you may have felt about the Belgarion books or the Sparhawk
books you'll probably feel about this book.
I happen to enjoy Eddings books, even though, objectively, i can see a number
of flaws in them.
There's a certain progression in size here, from the ten-plus-two-point-5
volumes of the Belgarion stories to the six volumes of the Sparhawk stories
to this single volume. But there's really about the same amount of story
from series to series -- which means that things have to happen faster and
closer together to get it all in.
Which means things can get a little crowded, muddled or confusing, which
means periodically one of the charcters explains things to another character
-- entertainingly, but it's still an expository lump.
The standard Eddings characters are all here -- Althalus, the thief, recruited
as a sort of disciple by Dweia, one of three sibling gods whose conflicts
are the basis for the story, is amazingly similar to what you'd get if Silk
had Garion's sorcerous abilities. Eliar is Garion or Berit -- the eager young
man who has to learn some lessons the hard way.
And so on -- just as most Heinlein novels, Eddings books are stocked with
pleasantly familiar characters constructed out of the Very Finest Cardboard,
who make their way through various horrific but not particularly frightening
(to the reader, anyway) adventures until, after some sacrifices, they arrive
at the happy ending. Along the way, they exchange clever/flippant/dry/cynical
badinage and make jokes about their adventures and the way in which the young
girl-type people (to use this books rather arch term) pursue the young boy-type
people with marriage on their minds.
No previous Eddings book has ever been particularly earth-shatteringly important
or ground-breaking, and certainly, this one doesn't change the pattern or
break the mold.
But it's good for a pleasant afternoon or two and, so long as you're not
looking for Incredible Significance or Deep Meaning in your fantasy it's
certainly somewhat above the average in quality. And it will certainly satisfy
a carving for light fantasy for a while...
As a character in the movie "Zachariah" says "[It's] what ye're lookin' for
-- if that's what ye're lookin' for..." -- a remark that might well issue
from the mouth of an Eddings character.