Let me start by saying that while LOTR was the first fantasy I read (back in the early 90's, when there was a sense thOkay, what to say about Eddings?
Let me start by saying that while LOTR was the first fantasy I read (back in the early 90's, when there was a sense that there wasn't a fantasy genré yet, at least not in the small time where I lived, there was just SF and then there was LOTR) Eddings was the one that made me a fantasy fan.
There's a lot of (for good reasons!) dismissing of Eddings, yes, it's a simple narrative, yes, the characters are stereotypes, yes, it's sometimes pretty blatantly racist, he repeats the same story about seven times in different series, and yes, he did it all purely to make money.
On the other hand, for the right age-group it's wonderful. I just introduced my half-brother (he's about 12) to Eddings and he loves it. There's a kind of magic there, and for all the charges (justified!) of being unoriginal, Eddings (RIP) mainly uses clichés because they work. The thing I'd compare it to would be the Star Wars original trilogy: (and like Lucas, Eddings has read Campbell)
If you have a kid the right age, or if you ARE a kid the right age, or if you just feel like some mindless fun with good guys, bad guys, some teenage angst and a happy ending, this is a good book to read. ...more
First half proceeds pretty much from where the previous ones left of, solving the current political issues a biOkay, this series went to hell quickly.
First half proceeds pretty much from where the previous ones left of, solving the current political issues a bit early, but whatever.
Then it takes a weird turn into the metaphysical, and spends a couple of hundred pages of people not saying why they're doing stuff. It's incredibly frustrating. First of all it was brought about by the author breaking the rules of his own magic system for the purpose of his main character. Which is one of my least favourite tropes ever, but that's not too bad, there's some genuinely cool concepts of alienation and "with godlike power then what?" going on.
But no, then the book whimpers out in a cookie-cutter happy ending. Overall the series is a showcase of wasted potential: There's a ton of neat ideas that aren't followed up, some interesting character and political dynamics that are ignored, and all in favour of some pretty lacklustre and cookie-cutter stuff. ...more
So, in the Third book of A man of His Word... Things are really slow. Seriously, not many new plot threads are introduced (although we finally get toSo, in the Third book of A man of His Word... Things are really slow. Seriously, not many new plot threads are introduced (although we finally get to meet our resident viking raider) Inosolan goes out and discovers a neat new place that has absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Same thing for Rap who wanders around the world being useless. We get to meet the remaining Wardens (Honestly, I rather like the elf, he's sneaky, and does things just enough that you're left wondering if he's a heartless manipulative bastard or just has a really alien set of priorities... or both)
While Rap's storyline is slow, Inosolan's is excruciating. She literally spends the entire book travelling away from Arakkaran only to be returned towards the end, with not much changing. The interactions between her and the sultan (who acts like the most grotesque arab stereotype) is horrendeous. Really, it's bad. Especially since I rather liked the princess (as spunky princesses in fantasy goes) in the earlier books, and her aunt Kade remains pretty cool.
The worst thing is that Duncan continues to seed a ton of interesting asides, worldbuilding stuff as well as just pretty nifty characters, only to drop them in favour of more racist depictions of pseudorabia. And it's really grating.