The Belgariad (Anglais) Relié – octobre 1995
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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
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Leigh Eddings, son épouse, qui avait commencé une carrière dans l'armée de l'air, collaborait depuis toujours à ses romans. Elle s'occupait plus particulièrement des personnages féminins et de la fin des romans ! Et cela fonctionnait à merveille puisque David Eddings est best-seller depuis 20 ans aux USA et a également déclenché une véritable passion à l'étranger, notamment en France avec ses deux cycles cultes : La Belgariade et La Mallorée.
Le célèbre couple-roi de la fantasy a de nouveau figuré sur les listes des best-sellers avec Le Réveil des anciens dieux, premier volume de la tétralogie Les Rêveurs.
Leigh Eddings s'est éteinte en février 2007 à l'âge de 69 ans, suivi en 2009 par son époux âgé de soixante-dix-sept ans.
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Eddings narrative is sly and occasionally slick -- the characters balance seriousness with humor and the dialogue is often very funny. His world is believable because the political and religious interactions make sense. The best feature of the Belgariad is its relative tonal change -- from reflecting the innocent wide-eyed view of young Garion (the hero, farmboy, of course) in Pawn of Prophecy, the next two books become darker and more serious as Garion begins to realize who he is and what is at stake, and he comes to grips with who his "Aunt Pol" and his "Grandfather" really are.
Eddings' books are also something of a quest story with a travelogue in the world he created -- in the Belgariad he leaves no country untouched in the western continent; in the Mallorean the characters go to every major district in "boundless Mallorea" and his other series (Tamuli, Elenium) are similar.
If they sound repetitive, that's because they are -- Eddings repeats the same formula with some variations in his other series and the various wisecracking and irreverent humor that is refreshing in the first Eddings series you read becomes tiresome and predictable thereafter.
That said, the Belgariad is the first, the most original and probably the best farmboy-saves-the-world quest of the genre.
Aside from this most appreciated of gifts, Eddings is also an imaginative and engaging author. Terry Brooks' "Shannara" series, for example, was a barely, thinly, poorly veiled ripoff of Tolkien. Jordan's glacial repetitiveness has caused his once-promising series to run completely out of steam. Goodkind has the same problem. But Eddings keeps things fresh. He also writes some of the most engaging and multi-dimensional characters in fantasy. He writes real growth and dotes loving care on his characters: the changes they undergo through the course of the ten novels of the Belgariad and the Malloreon are believable, understandable, acceptable, rather than visceral and awkward (Terry Goodkind, take note).
All too often, fantasy is given short shrift in serious literary circles. It would do well to remember how much utter trash there is across ALL genres of fiction, not just fantasy, and to accept Eddings' for what he is: a talented and engaging writer. Give these a try.
David Eddings writing style has been said to be formulaic, a statement that is undeniable....his series in alternate worlds all run parallel to each other...This is indeed his downfall in the large scope of things. However, if contained within a single world, the formula is not a problem at all. Eddings is a skillful enough writer that he is able to begin with what may seem to be a sterotype- archetype is a better word- and evolve that character to have as many complexities and contradictions as any real person. Eddings rarely leaves characters one dimensional. While reading the books, you grow to love them...
I remember conversations where Id have people asking if I was speaking of a real person or a character in the series...
To this day, I still have phrases from the narrative in my vocabulary ('Don ya know ;P)
Characters aside, Eddings world is one of the best researched in Fantasy today. He has elements for every major historical civilization reflected in his world, from the Romans to the Mongols....and the corresponding sciences to go with them. One great thing to watch as the story goes by is how the different groups "invent" things that are taken straight out of our past. Aside from being a great story, this series is a treatise on human civilizations and the way we evolve as cultures....mad gods and monsters aside, that is. It is also an interesting commentary on religion.
All this other stuff aside, Its great fun as a story. The banter between the characters will have you splitting your side laughing, and nodding because so much of it is so true. The story is inventive and well laid out. The only book I ever found a bit boring was the first one, because once I had read the rest, I couldnt wait to get through it to read them again.
I highly recomend this series, along with its continuation, the Mallorean. His other series are fun, but basically a copy of these two with the names changed. Its worth it to read the prequels: "Belgarath" and "Polgara", more for the back story than because anything new really happens. For the truely fanatical, there is also the "Rivan Codex" which contains the research texts and histories....
While Eddings is not master craftsman like Tolkein, (though his worlds are in many aspects as complex) he is a solid and comfortable writer, humourous, endearing, and ultimately, in his own way, quite original.
You either Love him or hate him.
Well, no, actually. The series proceeds pretty much exactly as you expect it will after reading the prologue and chapter one. Which means that anyone with half a brain will have figured out every revelation and plot point long before they occur, and the only real pleasure is in seeing them played out. It's like watching a movie as an adult that you already saw as a child: you know the main points of what's going to occur, and just stick around for whatever entertainment is found in the details.
In fairness, the details can be entertaining. Eddings has a charming, folksy style, and his characters (while a bit shallow) are generally at least amusing as they bounce off one another. I laughed out loud at some of the things Aunt Pol said, and the depiction of the genial kings, Silk the sly thief, and the Mandorallen the stereotype Arthurian knight are always fun. Even Belgarath, for all that he's channeling a heck of a lot of Gandalf, has an amusing personality all his own. While it's true that none of these characters, Garion included, feels as though they might truly surprise the reader, there's a certain enjoyment in just watching them. They're like reminiscences about a bunch of kindly characters met a long time ago: the company never fails to feel good-hearted and easy-going.
The flip side of the coin is that, once again, this isn't helping the suspense at all. There's no real instance of two characters being at odds (at least none that Aunt Pol can't fix with a motherly tongue-lashing). None of the characters are threatening or spine-tingling. None of them ever makes you wonder about their motives, and NO ONE ever moves too far from that sort of aw-shucks-we're-all-good-fellas-here attitude that seems to sustain them as a group.
I suppose the word for this series is charming. It really is. If we put aside the fact that Eddings as a writer is so damn likable and his characters are so cute, it becomes fairly clear that The Belgariad is just a lesser son of greater parents (i.e. Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings, and let's not forget...Lord of the Rings), much like the Shannara series. It's also, as I said above, almost unbelievably predictable.
Fortunately, Eddings IS a likable author, his character ARE cute, and so despite its flaws this story ends up being a fun, if not particularly riveting, diversion.
As a final note, this seems, after the manner of the Drizzt or Shannara books, like a good introduction to epic fantasy for younger kids, say the 10-14 range. If possible, get them into the Hobbit first, but the Belgariad would make a solid (and nonthreatening) stepping stone between "kid's fantasy" and "adult fantasy".
I am competely flabbergasted!
The characters leap from the pages and drive themselves straight into your blood so that you actually care what happens to them. David's talent for creating compelling, dynamic characters from almost anything - even steriotypes (Age-old wizard? Thief? Ranger? Yea...) - comes into full swing in this, his first five-book series. When it comes to the characters and their personalities, he did a commendable job.
Many people will inevitably compare this to Tolken: There are some reviewers in the world that, with any book whatsoever, seem to scream 'Tolken! Tolken!' like horribly scarred and broken records. Don't let them fool you - this book is a must-read for any fantasy fan that values the overt simplicity that a good story brings, yet craves the subtile plot-twists that make a series like this so compelling.
The Redemption of Althalus (Which, by the way, I will also reccommend if you're bored) got me interested in this writer, and I wanted something to pass the hours. Something that rings with that old-time high fantasy; it's rare to find somebody who is so darn good at portraying what he wishes that he can take almost any plot - and this is an intesting plot - and put a good spin on it. To put it frankly? I wanted good fantasy, David delivered.
If you've got a library card, check it out.
You'll thank me later.