Tuesday, August 26

Things I Like... David Eddings

When I was about 14, I picked up my first David Eddings book.  The Diamond Throne.

Oh, how I loved that book.  Tore through it, diving into a world with Church Knights, Magic, Gods and a magical Diamond... Before too long, I had to pick up the second book, The Ruby Knight, before grabbing the third one, The Sapphire Rose.  Also known as, The Elenium.

The Elenium by David Eddings

From there, I sought out other books of his, The Belgariad and the Malloreon.
The Belgariad and the Malloreon by David Eddings
Now, those stories take place in a different world than the other books, but that's ok. It was filled with epic questions, a living-ish stone and a battle between the gods, that at one point ripped the planet apart.

Reading those books has been a joy I've taken on every few years since that first time.

Now, on to the reason I love his books.

1) Dialogue.  The way his characters talk to each other is always so real to me.  It reminds me of conversations I've had with people.  Sparhawk and a Whore were chatting early on in the Diamond Throne, and she mentioned 'You know what's strange?  My feet hurt.  In my line of work, you'd think it would be my back... But its my feet.' And then she walks away.

It may sound strange, but that was one heck of an amazing moment in the story for me.  I laughed, shaking my head at how silly that moment was. But he saw it as an important moment to share with the reader.  Why?  To show you an example of how the simplest things can happen to the most important of people.  Sparhawk is the most important person on the planet, but he buys a whore a drink, just because he thought it a nice thing to do.

2) Characters.  They were believable.  As they wandered the world, they learned and grew and became something so much more.  Garion was a kitchen boy who would become someone else, but through it all he never stopped being a simple kitchen boy.

In another book, Regina's Song [non-scifi] there are several scenes of conversation that seem so natural and honest, you feel as if you're sitting next to them taking part.  The people are all so real, they become friends and family to you.

3) Not afraid of Death.  Just as everyone talks about how amazing George R. Martin is at killing people, Eddings was good at killing someone in a way that breaks your heart.  When I read The Elenium's first book, I often think ahead and start to cry over the character I love who's going to die... Near the end of book 3.  Even now, I can feel the sad smile on my face a the wonderful memories that being gave me.

Killing a characters not that hard.  Anyone can write the death of a character.  But killing a beloved character, and doing it in a way that gives your hero's the heart they need to win?  That's skill. Few authors I know get that point.  The term 'Kill your darlings' is that you should go about killing everyone, its that you need to kill those in your books you love.  Because sometimes, its the only way the story advances.

Course, that's a post for another time.  :D

Now, I mentioned Regina's song.

Its a story of a different caliber than the others.  Very odd, very twisted... Very amazing.  But highly not for everyone.  Here, you find a modern tale of twins who face a separation that's impossible to deal with.  Not normally one for thrillers, as they're too dark and too close to horror most of the time, this book was one I couldn't put down.

Dark and hauntingly beautiful, it changes your view on twins and the world around you, just as it changes the characters view.

One final comment about David Eddings, then I'm gonna let you go.

When I started The Belgariad, I picked up another book at the library, somehow missing a key word in its description... Its written after the rest of the books take place, to tell the story before hand.

Belgarath the Sorcerer is a sort of Prequel to the other ten books.  It follows the life of Belgarath, right up to the start of Pawn of Prophecy.  But the twist is it starts after The Seeress of Kell.

I read it by mistake and personally found it helped me through the other books, because I understood the history of the world around them.  I didn't pick up Polgara the Sorceress until sometime later.  Not a bad book, but Belgarath is my favorite book of all time.  7000 years of history, squished into one book.

What's not to love?

I hope you've enjoyed this edition of 'Things I Love'. I enjoyed writing it.  Eddings isn't for everyone.  And that's ok.  We have a world filled with authors, because no one can write for everyone.

Kristy C