Of all the books with Belgarath the Sorcerer in them, this was the best in my opinion. The main problem with it is, for me, that it was the book that really should have been written first. If not published, then at least sitting on his shelf like Tolkien did with the Silmarillion.
Because as much as I loved this book, it totally threw the previous canon into the wood chipper.
It was clear that Eddings never had any real plans for a sequel to the Belgariad. The Mallorean tacked on a lot of things that only sort of went along with the original story. What this book did was lay out a cohesive arc for the whole series, from Belgarath's beginnings to the end at Kell. It gave the entire series a scope and depth that was awesome.
You just had to forget things like the idea that Belgarath did know who and what Asharak was and that every boy in the line of kings called him grandfather.
So, this book had a lot of heart and emotion and a depth to it that Eddings had, for me, only rarely touched on. I loved it and I have read it a dozen times at least.