Why Amy's literary weakness is for "house brick" sized fantasies...

With our treasured libraries closed at the moment, we are keeping in touch with librarians across the county by asking them about their favourite book.

Monday, 8th June 2020, 5:55 am
Amy Potts
Amy Potts

This week Amy Potts, library assistant at Crawley Library, explains why her books of choice are Belgarath and its sequel Polgara by David and Leigh Eddings.

“As a library assistant, I am unsurprisingly a lover of books, and a highly avid reader as my groaning bookshelves can attest. As a constant reader, I have been able to notice a pattern over the years with fantasy authors.

“Once an author has reached a certain level of success, publishers seem to let go of the restraints and allow them to write books that have the rough size and weight of a house brick. My favourite of these house brick-sized books has to be by David and Leigh Eddings – Belgarath and its sequel Polgara.

“Belgarath and Polgara are two ‘autobiographies’ of secondary characters from the main series The Belgaraid and the follow up The Malloreon. All set in the same world, Belgarath and Polgara are written by the characters of the same name and act as unofficial biographies for these two powerful sorcerers and sorceress, spanning aeons and expressing both their inner thoughts and delving deep into their personal histories in a true page-turner that is hard to put down.

“In the world of Belgarath there were seven gods, who were each supposed to select a race of men to care and guide in the world. However one, the eldest Aldur, refused, and instead collected seven disciples, who he moulded to take on the burden of caring and guiding for the rest of mankind. The eldest disciple was Belgarath.

“This 893-page epic takes you from his humble beginnings as a thieving boy called Garath through to finding his new God Aldur, becoming a disciple, gathering his brothers, falling in love, and even becoming a father. Gobbling up pages is an aeon-spanning story that not only shows off the world building skills of David and Leigh Eddings but also gives the background and rich history of a fully developed fantasy world that feels as real as our own once nose deep in the book.

“The authors brilliantly decided to write this novel as if Belgrath himself was the author, which allows us to learn not only far more about the inner workings of his mind, but also his character.

“Following on from the success of Belgarath, Polgara fills in gaps you wouldn’t even think were missing.

“As Belgarath’s daughter, Polgara inherited his talents and became a powerful sorcerer in her own right, influencing politics, preventing wars, and even building her own county. However everyone has to start somewhere, and this second epic novel follows Polgara’s story from babyhood through to the start of the Belgaraid.

“Again, written as if she herself were the author, we are allowed to see more into a complex woman, and learn about both her trials and successes, and often get her opinion on many aspects of life. Both books have a special place in my heart as my worn copies can attest. David and Leigh Eddings are high fantasy authors who know just how to suck you in, with in-depth world-building, excellent and complex characters and a brilliant story that you will pick up again and again. Transporting you to another place of gods, monsters, magic and men, I personally would recommend these series of books to any fantasy lover – although best to start with the Belgaraid series first.”

Following the latest advice in relation to COVID-19, all West Sussex Libraries are closed until further notice, but they’ve introduced a virtual hub of your local library’s online services, all accessible from home.

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