Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Comfort Text

Last weekend I re-read "Pawn of Prophecy" by David Eddings, book one of the Belgariad, a sweepingly epic coming of age high fantasy novel aimed at the teen demographic. I ate these books up when I first got into them. I was perhaps 14 at the time. Reading it again was like mom's home cooking, a favorite stuffed animal, and an old worn-in t-shirt all at the same time. My friend called it the textual equivalent of comfort food.

The books draw from all the elements and archetypes of classic mythology in the same way the star wars saga does. It begins with the farm-boy, introduces the wise and old Merlin/Gandalf type, and culminates with a quest into the den of evil itself. These story-telling elements are as old as stories themselves, but Eddings puts everything together with an engaging liveliness. His characters, while often stereotypical, or archetypical, are amusing and entertaining in their dialogue and relationships. And the author has a gift for pacing that leaves you wanting to read just the next chapter before putting the book down for the night, and then the next chapter, and so on.

No comments: