Book Review: MAGICIAN’S GAMBIT by David Eddings

Title in white on dark orangey-red next to a dark tower in front of  swirling red and a silver
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 3

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for PAWN OF PROPHECY and QUEEN OF SORCERY*

Synopsis:

Book cover for MAGICIAN'S GAMBIT: title in white above people on horses surrounded by trees

Ce’Nedra, Imperial Princess of Tolnedra, is confused. Everyone knows the tales of the Orb protecting the West from the evil god Torak are just silly legends. But here she is, forced to join a dangerous quest to recover that stolen Orb. No one believes in sorcery, but Garion’s aunt and grandfather seem to be the fabled sorcerers Polgara and Belgarath, who would have to be thousands of years old.

Even young Garion is learning to do sorcery. He’s just a farm boy, totally unsuitable for an Imperial Princess. Yet for some reason, she has the urge to teach him, brush back his tangled hair, and comfort him. But he is going to a strange tower in the center of all he believes evil, to face some horrible, powerful magician, and she can’t be there to watch over him. She may never see him again!

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

The midpoint of the series! The structure of this series is interesting (though, I can’t say too much here without spoiling this book and the coming ones.) The way this book ends was a bit of a surprise the first time I read it, because it seemed odd that there’d be two more books after it. However, there are, and the next two books are where all the hints and foreshadowing finally start paying off.

Therefore, this is the “all change” book. Garion has been rather bobbing along behind his aunt and grandfather so far as they lead the quest. This is the book where he has no choice but to learn about magic, and starts to discover that he’s not really bobbing along – but that it’s all seeming to be about him. Not that he knows why yet. (The reader does though!)

The gods start getting involved, and the urgency increases. There are lots of references to brewing war, which puts a time limit on when they have to achieve their quest – because if war does break out, then they’ve failed.

The books is also more focused on the quest than anything else. The last two books involved various schemes within nations designed to derail the quest – and general world peace – through interference in nation governments. There’s none of that here. It’s just pure focus on following the villain and getting the orb back. The attacks by the villains are thus much more direct.

Unlike the preceding books, this one has dual POV. It is still primarily told from Garion’s perspective, but Ce’Nedra begins the book and has several chapters in the first three sections (she’s absent from the narrative in the fourth section.) Her chapters start to lay the groundwork for the revelations of the next book, and the way the relationship between them will progress.

Though her chapters contain more relationship vs events, he does still think about her a fair bit, which is nice as female characters in older books usually end up carrying most of a romance, and not getting much else of a role. While she certainly is here as “girl falling in love,” it’s nice to read knowing that she gets a bigger, less romantic role in the coming books.

And on to the fourth book, which I seem to recall (it’s been ~7 years since I last read it!!) is my favourite!


Read my reviews of other books by David Eddings:

The Belgariad (this series:)

The Malloreon (chronologically after this series):

Companions to the Belgariad and the Malloreon:

The Elenium:

The Tamuli (chronologically after the Elenium):

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