MrsJoseph's Reviews > Sorceress of Darshiva

Sorceress of Darshiva by David Eddings
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Mar 15, 2017

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bookshelves: 2017, 2017-reading-challenges, fantasy, need-to-review, re-read
Read 9 times. Last read December 18, 2017 to December 21, 2017.

I find it rather strange that The Belgariad and The Malloreon are my favorite series. I read this series every year [at least] but I still see so many issues in the way women are characterized. But it’s still my favorite series. When I have reading slumps or I’m feeling out of sorts, this is the series that I always turn to. I see it’s faults (characterization, slow pace, repetition, etc) but I still love it. And I recommend it (to people who like old school Fantasy) quite often. So even though a lot of the below are complaints, don’t get it twisted: I LOVE this series and I will be reading it again in 2018 (ooorrrr maybe again in 2017).

With that said, let’s get started!!

Love this quote about Belgarion!
"There was some turmoil in Katakor, your Majesty - up around Ashaba. It was the sort of thing one might associate with Belgarion - strange lights in the sky, explosions, that sort of thing.

So. Let's talk Nadraks and sexism. Women - all women - are property in Nadrak. The way the authors made this "ok" is that the owners of the women aren't allowed to touch them, they just own them. *rolls eyes* The Nadrak women all carry sharp knives that they use to cut any man who would dare touch her person without permission. And because they're feisty! *rolls eyes* The woman also gets 1/2 of her "sale price" when/if her owner decides to sell her. The typical Nadrak woman does not get married until she's been with the man for some time and (usually) have had at least 1 child by him. Though marriage can happen without children.

But because women are property – sometimes they are required to wear a collar and chain. Need I say more?

You know, I will! Let’s talk the characterization of [basically all] women who are designated antagonists. Starting with this book and Zandramas, the current Child of Dark (she’s the Big Bad):

"Anyway, among his [Naradas] followers there was a young Grolim priestess named Zandramas. She must have been about sixteen then, and very beautiful, I've heard. Naradas reintroduced the old forms of worship, and the altar in the Temple at Hemil ran with blood." He shuddered. "It seems that the young priestess was the most enthusiastic participant in the Grolim rite of sacrifice – either out of an excess of fanaticism, or innate cruelty, or because she knew that this was the best way to attract the eye of the new archpriest. There are rumors that she attracted his eye in other ways as well. She'd unearthed a very obscure passage in the Book of Torak that seem to say that the rite of sacrifice should be performed unclad. They say that Zandramas has a striking figure, and I guess the combination of blood and her nakedness completely inflamed Naradas. I've heard that things used to happen in the sanctum of the Temple during the rite I cannot be described in the presence of ladies."

When Zandramas first became possessed by the Dark Spirit, she
"...reached the edge of the city, she stripped off her clothes and ran naked into the forest."

What is with constant association of “bad women” and “sexually active but unmarried?” I have to say it doesn’t pass the smell test.

For another example, we need to look back at book two of this series, The King of the Murgos. The King of the Murgos has another female antagonist, Chabat. Chabat also had sex with her Archpriest - as well as another Grolim priest while performing disgusting rituals. Chabbat was described as once beautiful (she scarred herself for religion) but after her scarring ritual was referred to as “that scar-faced hag.” Chabat was also innately cruel and delighted in blood. Hmmmmmm

And this is just another passing quote about Polgara being an Alorn – even though Belgarath the Sorcerer will negate all of this.

"Polgara is an Alorn? 'Zakath sounded surprised.
"Use your eyes, man. Her hair's dark, I'll grant you, but her twin sister was as blonde as a wheat field. Look at her cheekbones and her jaw. I rule a kingdom of Alorns and I know what they look like. She and Liselle could be sisters."

Favorite Quote:

I'm very disappointed in you, Kheldar. You're a spy, an assassin, and a thief. You cheat at dice, you counterfeit money, and you're unscrupulous with married women. You swindle your customers outrageously and you soak up ale like a sponge. You're the most corrupt man I've ever known, but you refuse to transport a few harmless little compounds that will make your customers very happy."

"A man has to draw the line somewhere," Silk reply loftily.
-31 Omnibus Edition
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Reading Progress

2011 – Started Reading
2011 – Finished Reading
April 23, 2011 –
page 161
39.66% (Hardcover Edition)
April 24, 2011 –
page 287
70.69% (Hardcover Edition)
2012 – Started Reading
2012 – Finished Reading
2013 – Started Reading
2013 – Finished Reading
2014 – Started Reading
2014 – Finished Reading
2015 – Started Reading
2015 – Finished Reading
2016 – Started Reading
2016 – Finished Reading
March 15, 2017 – Started Reading
March 15, 2017 – Shelved
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-reading-challenges
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: fantasy
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: need-to-review
March 15, 2017 – Shelved as: re-read
March 15, 2017 –
page 200
March 17, 2017 – Finished Reading
May 23, 2017 – Started Reading
December 5, 2017 –
December 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
December 18, 2017 – Started Reading
December 21, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Carol. (new) - added it

Carol. comfort reads :)

Mikhail Long ago, I read the Rivan Codex, Eddings's companion/encyclopedia to the two series. One line stuck with me forever, which was that he used a great deal of archetypal storytelling tricks (Hero's Journey et al) in his writing, which he labeled 'the literary equivalent of peddling crack'.

I read both these two series along with the Elenium, Tamuli, and Redemption of Althalus, and they're probably the most *fun* epic fantasy I've ever read. It's not going to shake your world, but David Eddings (and his mostly uncredited cowriter, Leigh Eddings, his wife) knew how to write well, and so the stories are fun and breezy. They show their age, as you point out, but I'd also say that they weren't so bad as one might think -- Ce'Nedra was pretty feisty by mid-80s standards, I feel.

MrsJoseph Mikhail wrote: "Long ago, I read the Rivan Codex, Eddings's companion/encyclopedia to the two series. One line stuck with me forever, which was that he used a great deal of archetypal storytelling tricks (Hero's J..."

Lots of fun, right??!

He also uses that term in the intro of this omnibus. And he's quite right - It's quite easy to read the whole thing in a never ending circle.
(Not saying if I've done this before or not....)



Though I'm going to have to disagree with you regarding the treatment/characterization of women. Ce'Nedra is quite the red-haired feisty girl - but mostly she's pretty shallow (character development wise) and almost all of the women in this series have that same lack of depth - with the exception of Polgara and Poledra.

That doesn't mean I don't have a great time while reading! But I do have a lot of friends who trust my word - and I wouldn't want them to walk into this series without warning. ;-)

Mikhail Fair enough. It's been a dog's age since I've read the books, so I may be applying something of a nostalgic filter to them.

message 5: by Carol. (new) - added it

Carol. Heh, really a lot of them are well-rounded stereotypes, but I prefer to think of it as a well-developed archetype kind of tale.

MrsJoseph Mikhail wrote: "Fair enough. It's been a dog's age since I've read the books, so I may be applying something of a nostalgic filter to them."

LOL! I know those feels. But I'm pretty confident that the Suck Fairy hasn't hung out with the Eddings as yet. It's still a really fun time and I love going "back to visit."

This year (2017) I'm really loving on 'Zakath so I went with the Mallorean first. I think I'll re-read Belgarath the Sorcerer and then re-read the first series. Sadly, I feel like Polgara's story is the weakest in the series.

MrsJoseph Carol. wrote: "Heh, really a lot of them are well-rounded stereotypes, but I prefer to think of it as a well-developed archetype kind of tale."

It is.

MrsJoseph It's also rather well written (technique wise). Its so rare these days!

Strangely, I was talking about a SF book and people complained the author overused the word "said." It made me count the number of times I found said on 2 pages of that SF (10+) vs how many on a random 2 pages of this series (3 in total).

Good writing that falls into the background to let the story shine!

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