I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Ce'Nedra, Imperial Princess of Tolnedra, was confused.
Everyone knew that the tales of the Orb that protected the West from the evil God Torak were just silly legends. But here she was, forced to join a serious and dangerous quest to recover that stolen Orb. No one believed in sorcery. Yet Garion's aunt and grandfather seemed to be the fabled sorcerers Polgara and Belgarath, who would have to be thousands of years old. Even young Garion was learning to do things that could only be sorcery.
Garion! He was nothing but a farm boy, totally unsuitable for an Imperial Princess. Then why did she have such an urge to teach him, to brush his tangled hair, and to comfort him?
Now he was going to a strange tower in the centre of all he believed evil, to face some horrible, powerful magician. And she wouldn't be there to watch over him. He might be killed! She'd never see him again...
The pace has picked up from the first two books and things are moving along quite well. Belgarath and Polgara have actually started to give Garion some information (which would have been more useful to him earlier, truth be told). But, better late than never, and his sorcerer training has finally begun.
One writing tic that Eddings displays—Belgarath scratches his beard about every second page! The poor old sorcerer either has anxiety issues or fleas! I’m amazed that no editor caught that irritating repetition.
While trying not to give away the ending, I was disappointed that a feared opponent (whom Belgarath has been working against for centuries) was defeated when he made a beginner-type mistake. Evil bad guys usually don’t just eliminate themselves. That was a bit anti-climactic.
Also, Princess Ce’Nedra seems to have been abandoned and I will have to wait for the next book to get a clue about how she is doing. I thought a little check-in with her would have helped to maintain the continuity of the series. However, I know that she is not abandoned permanently, as Eddings has very obviously telegraphed her role as future love-interest for Garion.
Love the religious fanatic who is actually confronted by his god and told in no uncertain terms to quit judging others and get on with making himself a better person. Eddings takes some pointed jabs at fanaticism which endears him to me. I will be interested in seeing where that particular story line goes!
Onwards! I hope to read the fourth book at some point this summer!