Book Review: GUARDIANS OF THE WEST by David Eddings

Title in teal o
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - first book of sequel series

Synopsis:

Book cover for GUARDIANS OF THE WEST: title in dark blue on orange landscape

Warned by the prophecy that a new and greater danger threatens the lands of the west, Garion, Belgarath and Polgara must begin another quest to save the lands from great evil…

Eleven years have passed since Garion’s killing of the evil God Torak and his marriage to Ce’Nedra. He is now Overlord of the West, slowly learning how to cope with the duties of a king and to overcome the difficulties within his marriage.

When the Orb of Aldur warns Garion to ‘Beware Zandramus!’ the Voice of Prophecy reveals that somewhere in the unknown land of the East the Dark Prophecy still exists and that great new dangers threaten.

While Belgarath and Garion seek to uncover the nature of this threat, Garion’s son is kidnapped. All evidence points to the loathsome Bear-cult, which has gained power once more, and Garion leads an army bent on its destruction. But there are even more sinister forces at work, and Garion and his followers must look towards that malign and mysterious evil of Zandramas. Their quest must begin again.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

Ah yes, the title that finally acknowledges the fact that the north-west is the area where the people follow the “good” gods, and the south and east all follow the “evil” god. Does it do anything about that? NOPE, not at all. The south and east are still not allies, but threats to be watched.

The only slightly positive thing of note on the enemies is that the main villain of this book is a cult not from either of those areas. It’s portrayed as dangerous, rabid, and very misguided, and also coming from the north-west. It’s a corruption of the main religion in the region, which is the “good” religion (unlike the obviously Islamic-inspired “dangerous cult” of the Ellenium series.)

If you weren’t interested in the first series, and thus weren’t deeply invested in the characters, then this would be a very boring book. The first two acts (of three) are the domestic, post-battle lives of the characters, very much feeling like the “what happens to everyone?” questions. There are a few hints here and there of trouble with the people of the (now dead) evil god (who naturally live in the east and south because this book is not subtle or thoughtful), feeling like offhand remarks dropped whenever the author remembered it was an epic fantasy.

The first act is narrated by Errand, and concerns the lives of him, Polgara, and Durnik. It is very domestic and was my least favourite act. The second act is Garion and Ce’Nedra’s lives, which was much more interesting to me as I prefer them. Plus Garion’s sensible nature leads to some fun scenes when he has to deal with politics and stubborn people.

The third act is the one that really starts feeling like a book within a series, more like classic fantasy. It’s where the battles and schemes come in, and the threat of a big evil to be defeated comes in too.

It’s definitely a bridging book, trying to both fulfil the fan urge to know the domestic life of characters post-series, and also slowly setting up another series. It’s very weird, and one to get through in order to get to the rest of the series.


Read my reviews of other books by David Eddings:

The Belgariad (chronologically before this series:)

The Malloreon (this series):

Companions to the Belgariad and the Malloreon:

The Elenium:

The Tamuli (chronologically after the Elenium):

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