Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Great Reread Project Mark III - The Letter E

Image result for The Elenium

I have to admit I'm not having an awful lot of luck with the reread project this time around. Of the 5 letters I've done so far I've only been able to carry 2 of the entries through as far as I wanted.

It could have something to do with the last 3 things I've selected being published 20 - 30 years ago and my own tastes and views having been altered considerably in that time.

This one requires some explanation. In the 80's David Eddings was one of the biggest if not THE biggest name in fantasy. Despite the popularity of the books, they weren't very good, They were old fashioned, riddled with cliches, repetitive, fairly racist and sexist by today's standards and he commented some major offences against the English language when he tried to use archaic speech patterns with words like thee and thou. Even with all that they were entertaining and easy enough to read. Back then there wasn't a whole lot else to choose from in the epic fantasy field either, so that helped.

Their legion of flaws doesn't make the books great subjects for a reread. I reread Eddings' first fantasy epic The Belgariad some years ago and found it a real chore, although I stuck it out to the bitter end and read the whole thing. From memory the trilogy The Elenium was a little better than The Belgariad, so I decided to give it a whirl.

That was a mistake. Admittedly the hard bitten hero Sparhawk is a little less annoying than the wholesome Garion, and his companions are more interesting, although they mostly stick to the same stereotypes. Having reread a book and a half of it, I've become convinced that it would have been a better series if they were written from the point of view of the child goddess Flute.

When I found myself regularly reading chapters and thinking I'd already read them because the author felt the need to repeat things so often I gave up.

The Elenium has a harder edge than The Belgariad and some of the characters are better written., admittedly most of them have direct analogs in The Belgariad, Flute is at least original. There's actually a half decent book in there trying to get out, the author just didn't have the skill, possibly the will to make it happen.

I really hope the letter F gives me an upturn.