Polgara the Sorceress

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.

[isbn: 0345422554]

Amtrak Wars

A post apocalyptic struggle between the three groups of North American survivors — a military society called “The Amtrak Federation”, the mutes (the survivors of American poor neighborhoods), and Ne Issan (former Japanese who sailed from Japan when their islands were flooded).

Earth Thunder

This is the last book of the Amtrak Wars series. I’m much less comfortable with Steven’s character in this book — he’s always been a bit mixed up, and I don’t blame him for that given his background, but in this book he’s actively disloyal to those he loves, which is something new. That made the first 50 or so pages of this book quite hard to read, because I find it hard to read books where I hate the main protagonist.

A lot of people complain about the ending of this book, especially as its the last Amtrak Wars book written, but doesn’t resolve the main plot line. I didn’t think it was that bad though, although perhaps that’s because the coda didn’t appear in earlier versions? The coda resolves a lot for me, and although the ending is sad, I thought it was fair.

I liked this book overall.

[isbn: 0747400024]

Blood River

This is the fourth book in the Amtrak Wars series. Its pretty good, about the same level of writing as Cloud Warrior and Iron Master, which I guess means it was better than First Family (which was mostly a connector between the first and third books in the series). In this book we learn that the first family are even more nasty than previously disclosed, and that Cadillac is possibly the most annoying person on the planet.

This book must not have been very popular in the US, because I’ve never seen it for sale in the US, but its reasonably common in Australia. That’s a shame because the copy I have is about to fall apart, which means I’ll have to wait until next time I am back home to try and find a replacement copy.

Overall this book was quite readable, and I enjoyed it.

[isbn: 0747400008]

Belgarath the Sorcerer

This book is a follow on from The Belgariad and The Malloreon written from the perspective of one of the protagonists in those two series — Belgarath the Sorcerer. This book has quite a different style from the others. It is written in the first person as Belgarath’s personal memoir. The book is really long at over 700 pages, and covers a 6,000 year (ish) period. That means that the book tends to skip around and over some things at a very high level. That’s probably a good thing, as it stops you from getting bogged down in boring detail you don’t care about.

One problem with this book is that to people who have read the previous series, this is all old territory. You totally know what is about to happen, and that makes it a lot less fun to read. I’m also not sure I’m a big fan of the first person style either. However, I did enjoy this book more than some of the others I have read recently, despite it not being Eddings’ best work.

[isbn: 0345403959]

Iron Master

This is the third book in the Amtrak Wars series. I think this is a better book than First Family, which suffered from not having much plot development. This book on the other hand moves the plot along, whilst being interesting. You also get to learn more about the Iron Masters, as well as how dodgy the First Family is. A good read.

[isbn: 0671653385;0722185189]