It’s always a little scary to read books that I loved when I was younger since my tastes now are so different. That said, even though I never liked The Elenium as much as The Belgariad: Volume One, I sure did like it a lot when it first came out. So when I saw it at my local Barnes and Noble, I thought I’d give it a try.
Wish I hadn’t.
It’s not terrible, but it’s really nothing more than a travelogue with characters having witty banter as they kill people or threaten to kill people. The characters themselves were amusing enough, archetypal all, but with little growth or character development beyond their archetypal nature. I will say sometimes The Elenium was laugh out loud funny, which is an attribute missing from many epic fantasies being written today. The series had a lightness of tone that sometimes redeemed the otherwise interminable traveling.
Nonetheless, all the clever characters, witty banter, and humor just weren’t enough. It was a dull read despite the new episode of action or intrigue seeming to occur every twenty to fifty pages. There just wasn’t any sense of danger or challenge. I was also depressed by the underlying racism of the world Edding’s created – such as such race is known for their stupidity, religious zealotry, etc – wore thin the first two times I read about them. I don’t remember it from my first time with the series, but there it was like a giant slug on a cake.
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