The Redemption Of Althalus
All Books are second hand
As it was with the Belgariad and the Malloreon, so it shall be with the Redemption of Althalus as well...
I read the Rivan Codex some time ago and in it David Eddings admitted that he got into writing fantasy not out of a love of fantasy but because he found a tested formula from reading other fantasy novels that would allow him to write a good book of his own. When most of my fellow fantasy readers stumble across one of Edding's books it is obvious that his formula allows him to do just that, the problem arises however when you read a second novel by the same author.
David & Leigh Eddings don't just reuse their formula for their novels, they almost duplicate it time and again. So similar are their novels that the Redemption of Althalus was basically the same characters from the Belgariad only with different names.
In this novel Althalus (or Belgarath) is a thief who catches the attention of the goddess Dweia (or Polgara mixed with Aludr). She teaches him to use the magic of a book by imagining what he wants and saying a magic word from the book which causes his will to become reality (or the will and the word). Once he has mastered this which takes him a few thousand years he goes out into the world to gather to him a rag tag crew of various characters to help them save the world from his evil counterpart Ghend (who is basically Zedar, Ctuchick or Asharak from the the Belgariad).
This group all have been given certain tasks and they go about them in order to save the world. Amongst this group we find a young arum soldier called Eliah (bascially an alorn like Barak), a spoiled young princess named Andine (Ce'Nedra), a priest named Bheid (Relg) a witch named Lietha (this one is kind of original) and finally a young boy named Ghend who is really young but incredibly intelligent (sound much like Eriond?).
They proceed through the story at a steady pace enjoying relatively danger free jobs that are never too hard and the outcome which is obvious from the start. Whilst they are about their business, huge portions of the book are given to repeating things we already know as every time a new character is introduced one of the other characters sums up everything that has happened in the book up until that point. I am surprised this book made it past the editors desk as there are whole parts of the story that are literally repeated up to three times (I am talking about Althalus's tale of his time with Gosti Big Belly which is very tiresome by the end of the novel).
So why then with all these faults do I rate this book 4 stars?
Simply because I love it. Whilst it holds all of those repetitions and copied elements from Eddings other novels it is still a hugely enjoyable book to read. It is easy to follow, laugh out loud funny at times and like all of Eddings other work it makes you smile and leaves you with a happy feeling inside.
Like the Belgariad and the Malloreon before it this sits comfortably on my guilty pleasures shelf and being as it was amongst the first fantasy novels I ever read it is a nostalgic favourite of mine.
Personally I think it lacks the epic scope of the Belgariad but it is still a hugely enjoyable book so I recommend it to all.