Economy. I’m going to keep using that word as I read through David Eddings’ multi-volume opus. It’s economical. In a good way. Usually. Not always. Economy of writing (and therefore, economy of reading). At $7.99 pop at the bookstore (assuming you can’t find a used copy of a particular edition), it’s also economical to purchase.
Now the bad. He’s starting to write about teen romance. No fantasy writer ever gets that right. Eddings, like most, understands that a fifteen year old is usually confused by their feelings and often don’t actually understand what would be perfectly obvious to an adult able to penetrate teen culture long enough to observe. What he doesn’t get, and neither do many others, is that fifteen year old are also horribly and frighteningly horny and prone to fingernail on chalkboard grating bouts of pseudo-romantic melodrama.
The hero, Garion (or sometimes Belgarion) starts getting very powerful, very fast. Too fast for me. Too much economy, perhaps? And some of his uniqueness has a certain deux ex machina quality that I don’t like. Maybe it’s that we’re on the third book and too many characters seem too roughly drawn considering all the time we’ve spent with them. Again, too much economy getting in the way.
The book, while not actually third person limited, does tend to focus on incidents where the young hero, Garion, is directly present. On the whole that’s fine and dandy but I did start to get a little disappointed at so much happening offstage, as it were. A lot of fun, tricksy, magical, violent stuff seems to be happening… elsewhere. I’d like to have seen some more of it.
The climax was… I don’t want to call it exciting, but perhaps… intense? Certainly, Eddings is more than capable of good fantasy writing and he accomplishes some here.