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Review of Queen of Sorcery (Book 2 of Belgariad), by David Eddings




Eddings begins his device of dividing up the parts of a book pertaining to the geographic area where the characters are currently located. The first part, set in Arendia, does drag from the ponderous and repetitive courtly dialogue. Mandorallen does come across as one-dimensional, even in spite of the soap opera side plot he has with a married princess in that realm.


The second part of the book brings the reader to Tolnedra, which introduces us to the imperial princess, Ce'Nedra. While there are entertaining aspects to her character, her propensity to lapse into fits of crying is weak characterization. I did enjoy the scenes with the Dryads though, some nice comic relief from them. Eddings also displays a deft touch in bringing in mythological characters into his fantasy setting.


The end of the second part brings us to the first time Garion wields his power. I thought this scene was somewhat contrived, with the voice telling him how to do it. The part where Garion's enemy pleads "Master, have mercy" reminded me of Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi when he's being attacked by the Emperor ("Father, please!"). Yeeesh.


The last part-and the shortest part-of the book is set in Nyissa. After an argument between Polgara and Garion, the action moves along very quickly to set up a showdown between Polgara and Salmissra. I really enjoyed the denouement on the boat, where Garion is wallowing in self-pity too much at the moment to realize he needs guidance in using his power.


Despite my criticisms above, I still enjoyed reading Queen of Sorcery. I've always found this book to be the weakest entry in the Belgariad, but there are some important and entertaining developments in the book. The series definitely picks it up a notch going forward.



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