The Elder Gods by David Eddings

Another version of The Belgariad

If The Elder Gods is your first Eddings book, you might possibly enjoy it. It has all the ingredients that made The Belgariad and The Elenium so irresistible: an easy-to-read writing style, a fast-paced plot, a witty combination of action and humour, and a lively mix of characters that you come to see as friends. However, if you are a long-time Eddings fan and are familiar with their earlier works, you might want to give this series a miss or at least put at the bottom of your reading list.

Despite a promising and seemingly original premiss (two sets of gods taking it in “cycles” to guard the world), you will find that everything about this book is instantly familiar. It’s as though the Eddingses have simply teleported characters from their previous series to the Land of Dhrall (where The Elder Gods is set) and given them a new name. Zelana, the scheming but charming goddess who loves twisting men around her finger, could easily be Polgara from The Belgariad and Eleria who loves to be kissed and cuddled is Flute (of The Elenium series) reincarnated.

The way the characters interact with each other and the jokes and remarks they make (which admittedly I found witty and fresh in The Belgariad) become tiresome here. How many times can a woman roll her eyes upward in response to something silly a man does or says, for heaven’s sake?

This book’s other major flaw is that the heroes win almost too easily. Their allies are gods who can control the weather and bring about disasters, which leaves their adversaries with almost zero chance of defeating them. As a result, the book does not offer much in the way of thrills or suspense and you could be forgiven if you find yourself rooting for the bad guys.

The Elder Gods is aimed at an adult audience I believe and yet the book could just as easily be classified as a children’s book. It’s written in simple language. It’s light and undemanding and does not require much attention to read. While I can appreciate this style, those who are used to the more serious treatment served by the likes of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind will definitely feel short-changed.

This is just the first in a promised four-book series collectively known as The Dreamers. I can only hope that the Eddingses can come up with something more inspiring in the next three volumes.

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