**spoiler alert** I first read The Belgariad when I was 10, and at the time I thought the books were great. I reread the series recently, and was less...more**spoiler alert** I first read The Belgariad when I was 10, and at the time I thought the books were great. I reread the series recently, and was less impressed. Partly this is because I've grown very tired of prophecy as a story device. That certainly bodes unwell for a book called Pawn of Prophecy. Still, even ignoring the prophecy issue, I found the series difficult to get through a second time. One of the worst problems was that the vast majority of the characters have the same personality, and pretty much all of them have the same sense of humor. They don't really feel like individuals, just slight variations on the same character, but from different places.
One of the frequently-used excuses for why the extremely powerful characters don't use their amazing powers to aid more with their quest is that it will attract the attention of their enemies. This often left me with the question, "so what?" While a valid excuse in a few situations, more often than not it seemed like a cheap way of allowing story elements to be obstacles for the characters that really shouldn't have been.
Still, at least it was better than The Mallorean, which I also reread.(less)
**spoiler alert** This is one of the Alan Dean Foster books that I decided to read again to see how it matched up with my memories of first reading th...more**spoiler alert** This is one of the Alan Dean Foster books that I decided to read again to see how it matched up with my memories of first reading them when I was young. Some of them were more disappointing than others, but this one stood out.
The book starts off with its protagonist trapped and hopeless, then goes into a flashback of how he got to be in that situation. By the time the story catches up with 'the present,' it doesn't match the text from the beginning - aspects of his situation are slightly different, and he's able to escape from his confinement with little difficulty. He still has problems, of course, but the discrepancies were very jarring.
Was this poor editing, or did Foster try to draw the reader into the story and then cheat his way out of the corner he'd backed himself into, hoping no one would notice? Neither one is excusable to me. (less)
When I originally read the first six Spellsinger books, I enjoyed them. I recently reread the first two and they didn't hold up well against my memori...moreWhen I originally read the first six Spellsinger books, I enjoyed them. I recently reread the first two and they didn't hold up well against my memories of them.
Son of Spellsinger, on the other hand, I remember thinking was awful the first time I read it. If you decide to read the series and enjoy the first six, I'd recommend stopping there.(less)
**spoiler alert** When I was young, I would get a stack of books from one of my uncles every year for Christmas. Dragon Fall is one of the earliest bo...more**spoiler alert** When I was young, I would get a stack of books from one of my uncles every year for Christmas. Dragon Fall is one of the earliest books I can remember getting that way, and I remember writing a book report about it when I was in fifth grade. I still remember trying to explain it to my horrified and confused teacher and classmates.
Gabe makes toys. Gabe makes some toys that are dragons. Gabe's dragon toys apparently come to life and pursue their own agenda. Gabe does not witness most of this first hand until near the end, but something odd is obviously going on throughout the story.
When I was 10, I found the book riveting. I didn't understand some of the words or what was going on at times, since the book was aimed at teenagers and I had a rather sheltered childhood. Still, I thought the cover art was awesome, the idea of making toys for a living sounded awesome, and the idea of one's creations coming to life and trying to murder you had a sort of dreadful fascination. It was funny and exciting and I totally loved it. I reread it many years later when I could understand everything that was going on and it was still a fun read, though obviously flawed in some ways. I suspect that now I might be even less impressed by it, but it was written by a teenager in the 80's for other teenagers in the 80's, so I'd probably be a bit forgiving of its shortcomings.(less)
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed many of Foster's books when I was young. Some of them I've reread recently, and I've discovered that my tastes have change...more**spoiler alert** I enjoyed many of Foster's books when I was young. Some of them I've reread recently, and I've discovered that my tastes have changed and they no longer hold much appeal for me. This makes me hesitant to reread The Damned trilogy, because I remember that I particularly enjoyed them.
While I did not (and still do not) really agree with some of the ideas put forth about humanity in the series, I do remember being thrilled to see a series in which human physiology was remarkable to aliens and in some ways superior to their own. So many science fiction stories make humans a weak race with poor senses that has barely developed intelligence. This was a refreshing and interesting change.(less)
Shadowkeep was the first Alan Dean Foster book I ever read, back when I was around 9 or 10 years old. It set my expectations for what fantasy novels w...moreShadowkeep was the first Alan Dean Foster book I ever read, back when I was around 9 or 10 years old. It set my expectations for what fantasy novels would be like and was probably the first thing I thought of when I learned about the existence of Dungeons & Dragons. I remember thinking that the nonhuman races were really cool, and that the reptilian race in particular was way more interesting than the usual elves, dwarves, and goblins you always heard about in fantasy stories. I expect the book wouldn't hold up well if I read it again today, since so many other Alan Dean Foster books I've reread have turned out to be dreadful disappointments, but at the time I first read it I was totally nuts over it. (less)