This is the final continuation of the Belgariad and the Malloreon series, following on from the Belgarath the Sorcerer continuation. The two continuation books are really just the same stories told from other perspectives, yet Belgarath the Sorcerer managed to be a really interesting read. It probably helped that Belgarath’s story predates the Belgariad by thousands of years. On the other hand, most of the territory covered in this book is not new.
This book started well, but the tone quickly became annoying for me. I think it was the several hundred pages of Arendish history that ruined it for me — its just not that interesting where Polgara’s bathroom is located, and who won a particular jousting match. There are also these really annoy asides littered throughout the text. The same element appeared in Belgarath, but seemed less annoying there for some reason. It annoyed me that there would be a passage of prose, broken in the middle with supposedly witty comment, which invariably fell flat.
The other problem with this book is that Polgara herself comes across as a bit of a sociopath. She’s always sure of herself, and lacks depth as a character because of it. I’ve got kids, and I find a character who is dumped into raising an orphan at zero notice being so self assured all the time. Surely she made mistakes and learnt something along the way? You wouldn’t know it from the book though — all of that is glossed over.
On the other hand, the book is ok apart from the long middle bit in Arendia. This would have been a better book if that had been omitted.