Pawn of Prophecy

[openbook booknumber=”0345335511″] [rating:5/5]

Long ago, the Storyteller claimed, in this first book of THE BELGARIAD, the evil god Torak drove men and Gods to war. But Belgarath the Sorcerer led men to reclaim the Orb that protected men of the West. So long as it lay at Riva, the prophecy went, men would be safe.

But Garion did not believe in such stories. Brought up on a quiet farm by his Aunt Pol, how could he know that the Apostate planned to wake dread Torak, or that he would be led on a quest of unparalleled magic and danger by those he loved–but did not know…?

The series The Belgariad was my first introduction into the world of high fantasy when I was a kid. While it sticks to standard fantasy fair it does so in a way that is accessible to a younger reader. It is also just a fun book to read. There is adventure and magic, warriors and sorcerers and evil gods, and a boy in the middle of it all who starts to realize he is no ordinary boy.

We’re living in momentous times, Garion. The events of a thousand years and more have all focused on these very days. The world, I’m told, is like that. Centuries pass when nothing happens, and then in a few short years events of such tremendous importance take place that the world is never the same again.”
       “I think that if I had my choice, I’d prefer one of those quiet centuries,” Garion said glumly.
       “Oh, no,” Silk said, his lips drawing back in a ferretlike grin. “Now’s the time to be alive – to see it all happen, to be a part of it. That makes the blood race, and each breath is an adventure.”

Any fan of Lord of the Rings would love this series as it is a fun, light hearted introduction to high fantasy. Any fan of Harry Potter would recognize a lot of Garion was years later placed in Harry. They were both young boys who had their parents murdered when they were babies and were placed in the care of their aunts. They are both surprised to find that they are not ordinary little boys when adventure comes at last into their lives and they discover they are capable of more than they ever suspected.

When the Orb of Aldur is stolen and the old storyteller comes to fetch Aunt Pol to help go and find it they take Garion, and surprisingly enough the blacksmith Durnik, and head off on an adventure in an attempt to reclaim it. They meet up with a prince turned spy named Silk and a giant bear of a man named Barak. There is magic, intrigue and fighting and when the band finds themselves arrested they end up at royal court. Then things get really interesting.

Throughout there is lots of sly humor and witty dialogue, jabs at other high fantasy novels, and some fantastic set up for what promises to be an entertaining series.

Highly recommended for young fantasy fans, or fans that are ready to expand from Harry Potter into high fantasy. If your younger reader finds the prologue difficult to get into, feel free to skip it and just start at chapter one. The prologues in all the books in this series are quotes from scrolls about the history of the world and can be tough reading straight out of the box for a younger reader. Get into the adventure first and then when they want to know what all this Orb business is about go back and read that prologue, it will make a lot more sense.

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