Pawn of prophecy / David [and Leigh]* Eddings
Pawn of prophecy is the first of the Belgariad, a quintet of fantasy novels that are remarkable in their minimalism.
Like the Dresden files, the Belgariad was written to prove a point. While the Dresden files were written to be an intentionally bad mish-mash of genres, the Belgariad was written to demonstrate that a series can have the most clichéd, cookie-cutter plot possible but still be entertaining as long as the characters are interesting.
It’s mostly successful, to the point where it serves as a useful point of reference for other works of epic fantasy. It’s also personally significant for me which may color this review somewhat.
*Context: Leigh was a coauthor on the books but M. del Rey insisted her name be left off because he thought it would have a negative impact on sales. Books first published after his death properly credit both authors.
Brief plot summary
There’s a mysterious magical artifact that was stolen! A farm boy with a mysterious past finds himself drawn into the quest to retrieve it, accompanied by a grey-bearded sorcerer. Accompanied by several colorful comrades they must travel through many countries, each one with a population mostly defined by a few highly distinctive cultural traits.