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The Elder Gods by David Eddings

CoverI was in sixth grade when I picked up my first fantasy novel. It was David Eddings' Pawn of Prophecy and it opened my eyes to the fantasy literature at my fingertips. Since then I have moved on to different books and authors, but I always remembered David Eddings as the author who opened my eyes to the genre. When I heard that he had died recently I resolved to read his final series entitled The Dreamers. I got home with the first book in the series, The Elder Gods, and dove into this whole new world.

After diving a short distance into the book, this world didn't look so new to me. I had the nagging feeling that I had seen this world before. As I read and Eddings went into depth concerning the cultures that inhabited the world of The Dreamers it seemed that these cultures had been present in his previous series. The Maag pirates in the book appeared to me to be a mix of Chereks from the Belgariad and Thalesians from the Elenium series. Disconcerted by this fact I decided to concentrate on the aspect of the story that Eddings had always done best, character development.

David Eddings was asked what made his books so successful and he replied, "Characters. My people are as real as I can make them." After reading a David Eddings book you come away with the sense that you have read about, not some characters, but a group of friends. Eddings was a
master at creating camaraderie between his characters that made the story fun and filled with inside jokes. In The Elder Gods it appears that Eddings tried to create this feeling, but again it seems familiar. Not only are the inside jokes recycled, but so are the characters. In The Elder Gods there is a girl who is actually a goddess. She is obsessed with being held and giving kisses. While a sign of affection this tendency is also a ploy to get what she wants. The description I just gave could be taken and applied to the character Aphrael from Edding's earlier series The Elenium.

For his final series I am sad to say that Eddings relied less on creating new characters and cultures, but instead relied on his standard stock characteristics developed in his earlier works. While I
believe that anyone who has read Eddings' past work will be disappointed in this book I would not want to turn off anyone who is unfamiliar with Eddings. This book could be used as a springboard into Eddings’ classics. We were all richer for David Eddings’ creative influence, and he will be missed.


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