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A Song of Fire and Ice Gave Way To The Belgariad

November 9, 2008 Leave a comment

I’m new to reading Fantasy.  Last summer on family vacation my brother handed me a book to read – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, book 1 of the series A Song of Fire and Ice.  Despite being 900 pages and myself not much of a reader, I managed to power through it before returning from vacation.  I enjoyed the book so much I picked up the second – A Clash of Kings -upon returning home.  Unfortunately, I only managed to read a quarter of A Clash of Kings before I drifted away from reading.

Earlier this month I dusted off A Clash of Kings and started over.  I began to do some online investigating of the Fantasy genre; I’ve always liked fantasy, I just haven’t been much of a reader, nonetheless a Fantasy reader.  I kept coming across the same handful of names – Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Goodkind, and David Farland.  After more investigation into the authors and their works I was interested and looking forward to reading some of them.  But, surely, I can’t quit George R.R. Martin‘s A Song of Fire and Ice – I’ve got to finish the series before starting another series!

Well, I failed, I gave in – once again, I put A Clash of Kings back on the bookshelf, still only managing to make it a quarter through the 750 pages.  What did I give it up for? David Eddings’ The Belgariad.  Why?  I was just waiting to finish A Song of Fire and Ice so I could read something else – surely not the right reason to read a series.  I was only a quarter through the second of 4 books, each 800 pages or so – not something I could “wrap up” in a week or so.  At the rate I was reading, it would’ve been…3 or 4 months before I finished A Song of Fire and Ice.  I decided it would be better to read what I wanted to read – after all, reading is supposed to be fun right?

I went over to Borders and grabbed the first book of David Edding’s The Belgariad: Pawn of Prophecy; what a change from George R.R. Martin.  Although there are more books in The Belgariad, each book is less than half the size of a book from A Song of Fire and Ice.  Not that a book should be judged by its page count, but from what others have said it seems that Fantasy series’ can have a tendency to drag on and on (Jordan’s Wheel of Time anybody?).  I’m half way through Pawn of Prophecy and so far the world is definitely more fantastic compared to A Song of Fire and Ice.  There’s real magic (real magic, what the hell!?), not so-skilled-it’s-like-magic magic; there’s more physical combat compared to political combat; and there’s the obvious one-character-of-each-class-from-Dungeons-and-Dragons characteristic.

It’s quite a refreshing change from Martin’s world – there aren’t so many characters that I need to keep note of who’s who, there’s less politics to tangle the story (although allowing for excellent twists), there are fewer side stories, and there’s less pages put into descriptions of the world and its inhabitants.  I’m finding that with less descriptions I’m able to leave the picturing of things to my imagination rather than try and figure out exactly what the description is telling me, allowing me to focus more on the story and less on the environment.

The Belgariad is more simple than A Song of Fire and Ice – probably a good thing since I’m new to the genre.  I certainly plan to finish A Song of Fire and Ice, but perhaps I need a bit more experience with the genre before I can really appreciate Martin’s story.

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