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A Letter to the Late David Eddings

November 10, 2012

Re: The Dreamers Series

Dear David Eddings,

I have some things to say to you. I know you are dead, which is kind of sad, but at least it prevents you from adding anything else to your Body of Works, which did seem to go downhill as the years passed. Perhaps you will read this from beyond, who knows?

I would first like to say that I love you. I have loved your books since the moment I first read Pawn of Prophecy. I completely absorbed everything Belgariad and Mallorean and loved it. And let’s just take a moment to talk about Silk. Can we say first fictional character crush?! Although, this is one of those times where reading comes in handy, because Silk in (psuedo) reality is a middle-aged man with a face like a Rat. He’s so wonderful though. (I still love him.) And then I discovered that my journey wasn’t over. I read the Elenium and the Tamuli. I loved them even better than the first two series. I even fell in love with a new snarky thief and Talen was even closer to my age (although Silk will always reign supreme.) And Oh Kurik, dear Kurik. I cry every time. it’s one of the saddest moments in fiction.

And although book snobs who favor intellectual books with unhappy endings and adult themes because that is  ‘Oh So Vogue’  deride your books as childish and make fun of those who read them, You are easily one of my favorite authors. You have been since I was 14 years old and you will always hold a place in my heart. And with my favorite authors, I am something of a completionist collector of books. I must have every single book written by said author. (Some of my favorite authors make it very difficult, like Mercedes Lackey, who is quite proliferous, but I collected all of Patrick Rothfuss’ books just fine .)

So I have faithfully collected every single one of your published works even High Hunt and The Losers (I didn’t really like The Losers- too dark and I’ve yet to read High Hunt) but I must say- Your Later Works make it very hard to be a completionist collector. I am of course specifically referring to  your last “great” work The Dreamers series. You see, I recently moved and was trying to down-size my book collection somewhat. I was packing away all my David Eddings books and I fondly put away all the books in the Belgariad and the Mallorean, remembering which ones were my favorite (I’ve always liked King of the Murgos. Two Silks? How could it get any better?!) And then I came to The Dreamers books: Elder Gods, Treasured One, Crystal Gorge and the Younger Gods. I thought to myself ‘Why am I keeping these books?’ Is there any way I would EVER read these again?’

David Eddings, I think if you’re honest with yourself, you know the answer to that question.

The first two aren’t as bad, but the last two are really awful. I suffered through reading all four once. I just wanted to say I had read them and I was planning on giving a really in-depth review. Unfortunately, I didn’t take notes and I never got around to writing that review. It’s been years since I read them, so you’ll have to accept my half-remembered thoughts.

You know, some people believe that it’s your wife’s fault that your later books are so bad. I know the truth though. You only ever had one story to tell and each new series is just a twist on that same story, but COME ON Dave, Can I call you Dave? You had to know after Redemption of Althalus that it was getting old. I mean how many stories about the gods/higher powers bringing together a group of diverse yet witty people who save the world by defeating the ultimate evil’s group of diverse people and Oh Yeah, fall in love along the way. I liked the Belgariad/Mallorean and I LOVED the way that the Elenium/Tamuli was a more grown up version of that same story. Redemption of Althalus was getting a bit much, but there was a cat and a thief and it was only one book so I’ll forgive you for that. Regina’s Song was fun because it was set in modern day times, so that was new and different, kind of. But WHY ON EARTH did you feel the need to write The Dreamers?

The characters are more of the same. Longbow-a stoic, yet ridiculously OP archer who wants revenge for his dead wife; he is very much like Hattar. Rabbit-a ridiculously clever kid who gets into trouble; he’s very Talen. There were a ton mre character similarities, but I can hardly remember them, except for this: The little girl god child Eleria, aka Aphrael/Danae from the Tamuli, aka the most annoying character in all of your books. If you were going to repeat all your characters, why did you have to do this annoying one? Is it because you didn’t have any children and you looked upon this character as your surrogate child? Well that’s creepy if you did.

I think your best strength is really world-building. Your worlds with countries and alliances and governments are amazingly real. Especially with religion and bureaucracy. Add in magic and characters, I just love reading your books because of the real worlds and characters. Except you fell a little flat in The Dreamers. Instead of integrating the world-building with the stories there was flat out exposition on different societies. Like it was copy and pasted straight from your outlining notes. Is that what you did, because it would make a lot of sense. I remember that that is part of what made Book 3 so bad and really, the story could have been told in 2-3 books. Did you really need four?

Also, you have a tendency to resolve conflict in your books with a (sometimes quite literal) deus ex machina. That’s one of the things that really bothers me about the ending of both the Mallorean and the Tamuli. But in The Dreamers series it was taken just a bit too far. I don’t really remember what happened, but there was this all powerful being, the parents of the gods and all the over-powered characters go to the nest of the enemy and utterly destroy it. If they could do that the whole time, why the mess didn’t they? It just felt a bit like a waste of 4 books. Sorry.

I wish I could remember more of the series, to give a more of an in-depth review, but really, I hope you got the gist of what I was trying to say. It’s really a pity these books have to be included with the rest of your books. And what I realized was, in my library, they don’t have to be. So I got rid of them. It feels weird, but I think I like it. I’ll keep the rest of your books though (probably) and own all the David Eddings books that matter.

Love

Kylara the Devoted Fan.

An Aside for those of you who have never read David Eddings:

First of all, kudos to you if you have never read anything by David Eddings and you actually made it this far down my blog post. You must really love me. Anyway, if you have never read David Eddings, you really must. It is quite good. See below to see what to read/where to start.

The Belgariad/The Mallorean:
These two 5-book series are quite fun high- fantasy books. They almost seem to be written at a YA level. I’d rate them at 4 stars. I highly recommend them  for teens, especially those who are ready for a more grown-up read. I also recommend them for anyone who loves to read high fantasy and wants a light-hearted, uncomplicated fast, fun read. If however, you are a fantasy snob, you probably wouldn’t enjoy these as they are a bit trite/cliche at the beginning.

The Elenium/The Tamuli:
I  give these two trilogies 5 stars each. They are more grown up than the other series. I highly recommend them for anyone who loves to read high fantasy ensemble pieces that are quite witty and fun. If you are only going to read one of David Eddings’ series, then read these; they are so much fun and I absolutely love them.

Redemption of Althalus:
More of the same. Don’t read this book unless you are already a huge Eddings fan. I’d give it 3.5 stars. If you are a huge Eddings fan, it’s definitely a must-read.

Regina’s Song:
Good book. Set in modern day. It feels very much like Eddings as far as characters go. But really you could take it or leave it.

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