Saturday, August 4, 2007

In Which Meg Reviews Fiction - "The Elder Gods" series by David and Leigh Eddings

As you can see on the sidebar, I'm working my way through David and Leigh Eddings' "Elder Gods" series. I just finished reading the third book of it last night (well, early this morning, to be honest) and I'm not really impressed. The problem being that these books are getting more and more contrived as they carry on.

The first one was okay. The second one was okay-ish (but more ish than okay, if you see what I mean). The third one?

The third one covers up the complete lack of actual plot action by covering the same small section of time from multiple perspectives, complete with a lengthy biography of the viewpoint character. Reading it is rather like watching a daytime soap - you get lots of background, plenty of character development, but positively zero action. Particularly since the denoument is a massive (and literal) case of divine intervention. So, there's all this repeated buildup, swirling around and around, and then... sod all.

About the only thing which makes this book even vaguely acceptable is that the fourth one is worse.

I'll be honest - I used to like Eddings. When I was a teenager reading the Belgariad, it was great. Good characters, interesting plot (because at that stage I hadn't even seen it once) and an interesting way of writing people. The Malloreon - well, it was the same story, and the same characters, and okay, they justified it with a bit of highly specious in-plot reasoning, but yeah, still good. Then came the Elenium, and I started to notice a trend. Yup, same characters, and gee, same damn plot, too. The Tamuli? More of the same. The Redemption of Althalus? Hey, they've managed to condense that same plot, same character set and same set of damn interactions into the one volume. Yays. [FX: waves little flag.]

Now there's this set, and quite honestly, they aren't even damn well trying. If you choose to buy these, use someone else's money, or get them second hand. Or alternatively, go back and read the Belgariad again - at least the plot hadn't had the cover worn off it back then.