Posted on July 29, 2013
Stuff From My Folks’ Basement, Episode One
As promised, here’s a little bit of a diversion from my normal boring blog updates.
Backstory: When my wife and I got married and moved to our new place, I left behind a lot of stuff stored in my parents’ basement. My wife was, for some odd reason, a little hesitant about having her semi-packrat husband bring all that stuff over to her nice, new clean basement. (Un?)Fortunately, my parents want their basement back. So, I’ve managed to sell her on the idea that this can be a fun series of blog posts for you guys and gals to enjoy. Wish me luck.
Meat and Potatoes (or just Potatoes for any vegetarians): Grabbing a nearby sturdy bag, I then headed over to my parents’ house to stock up on knickknacks. Here’s the first batch of goodies. We’ll start out with the somewhat less esoteric stuff to avoid raising my wife’s anger level (I hope).
Here we have an innocuous-looking bag (formerly used for some Red Lobster takeaway a while back). What, you ask, could possibly be in here?
Oh, hey! It’s my David Eddings collection! If you were to force me to only be able to read books from a single author for the rest of my life, it would be Eddings. As you can tell from looking at their condition, these books have all been read a few times each.
The Belgariad. Eddings first series. I’d go so far as to say this is one of the staples of fantasy fiction. Wonderfully written characters. Not much in the way of an original plot, but that does absolutely nothing to detract from the incredible storytelling. If you’ve never read any of Eddings books, start with this series. I remember reading this series as a teenager (and subsequently discovering too late that the school library did not have book five in stock. Thankfully, a nearby library did). You know what? I just realized that this was probably the first “real” fantasy series I ever read. Before that, I mainly subsisted on a diet of Hardy Boys, Asterix, Enid Blyton, and one-off novels.
The Mallorean. The follow-up series to The Belgariad. Some complain about the slightly rehashed plotline, but it actually fits into the storyline, and is somewhat of a major plot point. I was actually a little sad when the series ended, because that meant saying goodbye to a group of characters I’d grown to like. However, Eddings did decide to follow-up on the story with:
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Prequel? I’ll pass.” And, you know what? You’d be wrong. Dead wrong. Detailing the story over several millenia before the events in The Belgariad, these books are funny, compelling, and by no means boring. You’ll finish Belgarath the Sorceror, and then wonder what else Polgara the Sorceress could add to the story, or could it even be as good? And, then, you’d be humbled at your lack of faith. Also, these books also list his wife as a co-author, whom he acknowledged as a silent co-author on pretty much all of his books.
The Rivan Codex. Now, this is not a storybook as such. It’s more like a set of notes detailing how Eddings went about creating his world. Probably more useful for aspiring authors, but your mileage may vary. All in all, it’s not a bad read if you’re interested in this kind of stuff. Also, it’s not in too bad of a condition considering that it fell into the toilet.
The Elenium. If you read the description on the back of the books, you’d probably put it down and move on. Don’t. This series is just as compelling as The Belgariad or The Mallorean. Carrying a more darker and mature tone, it still doesn’t contain anything in the way of graphic sex scenes or similar (though the violence is turned up a notch, but not overly grotesque), so it can still be enjoyed by a younger reader. The concept of the story was different enough from Eddings’ previous work that it took me a little bit to get adjusted to it, but it was well worth reading.
The Tamuli. The follow-up to The Elenium. Ever wondered what would happen if a hundred thousand magic-wielding knights went up against a horde of methane-breathing aliens? Read this and wonder no more. Now, as ridiculous as that scenario sounded, Eddings pulls it off as only Eddings could. The plot itself is very well done, and includes enough varying types of action to sate any appetite.
The Redemption of Althalus. Last, but by no means least, we have this contender. A standalone novel, this is by far my favourite book by Eddings. However, in terms of reader reaction, this is probably the most polarizing of all his works. Take a look at the Amazon page if you don’t believe me. Some have accused it of being slightly cheesy or that the characters are all rehashes from his previous novels, but I disagree. In my opinion, it’s a fun romp that takes me back to the first time I read Eddings, and simultaneously reminds me why I love reading. Detailing the main character’s (who treads the line into anti-hero territory sometimes) journey from two-bit thief to world-saving wizard, I highly recommend it to any new (or veteran) fantasy reader.
Summary: That’s it for this batch, folks. Don’t worry, though. There’s still a lot of stuff left in that basement (including a few more books by Eddings, if I’m not mistaken). So, this should be a recurring piece on this blog for quite some time. (Or at least until the wife puts her foot down and decides to toss it all in the rubbish bin.)
Wife’s Current Anger Level: Stable. For now.
(By the way, just kidding about The Rivan Codex falling into the toilet. I gave it to the wife a few days ago to read, and thought it would be a funny joke. Sorry, dear.)