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The Treasured One
David and Leigh Eddings
Warner Aspect, 416 pages

The Treasured One
David and Leigh Eddings
David Eddings spent much of his life in the United States Army, as a buyer for the Boeing Company, has been a grocery clerk, and has taught college English in various parts of the United States. His first novel, High Hunt (published in 1973), was a contemporary adventure story. Soon the field of fantasy called and thus began a remarkable publishing career. His series, The Belgariad -- consisting of Pawn of Prophecy (1982), Queen of Sorcery (1982), Magician's Gambit (1983), Castle of Wizardry (1984) and Enchanter's Endgame (1984) -- and The Malloreon -- Guardians of the West (1987), King of the Murgos (1988), Demon Lord of Karanda (1988), The Sorceress of Darshiva (1989), and The Seeress of Kell (1991) -- along with Belgarath the Sorcerer (1995) and Polgara the Sorceress (1997) have firmly established him and his wife, Leigh, among the best selling fantasy novelists in recent memory.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Elder Gods
SF Site Review: Polgara The Sorceress

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steve Lazarowitz

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The Treasured One is the second book of The Dreamer series. I enjoyed the first and looked forward to this sequel. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with the story. The problem is in the writing itself. I have never read a book with so much repetition. At first it bemused then annoyed me. I'm guessing a good hundred pages could have been cut without losing anything.

I also had an issue with the shifting viewpoint. The authors start with a third person prologue that sets up the main conflict of the story. Then they move to first person from one of the god's viewpoints, which is interesting and all very nice. Then they switch to third person from the point of view of several characters in successive sections, retelling the same tale over and over again from each vantage point.

Which means I got to read the same thing over and over again, several times. While it gave some insight into each of the characters, it was so repetitive I would have been able to skip quite a bit of it, had I not been reading to review. In instances where a character learns something and tells another character, the story is repeated in dialogue each time it is passed on, and since characters are moving over the same landscape and meeting others; some stories are repeated three or four times. It was distracting to say the least.

The story takes up where the first book left off. The Vlagh, the evil insect queen, sends her workers out from the Waste to find food. This means invading the more prosperous lands outside the Waste in the land of Dhrall, overseen by four gods, two sisters and two brothers. These brothers and sisters are part of a cycle with four other gods, who are all asleep. Dahlaine, the dominant god for this cycle, decided to wake the others up early, and they appear in the books as children, who aren't supposed to know they've been awakened... but they do. They also have true dreams which warn the gods of the impending invasions of their respective domains. So far, so good.

As I've already mentioned, one of those gods is the point of view character for part of the book, but not enough of it to make any sense. Why choose a god to tell your story first person, and then switch over to every other character in the book, and tell their story in the third person? I had thought the point of the first person point of view was to get the reader into the mindset of the main character. The amount of time from the beginning of the book to where we pick up the first person point of view again is so far away, I'd almost forgotten it was there in the first place.

The best thing about the story was the characters. The characters you loved from the first book are back: Rabbit, Longbow, Redbeard, Sorgan Hookbeak, Narasan -- all of them. The first half of The Treasured One recounts the first book from each point of view, so if you haven't read it, you don't have to bother. You'll be sick enough of it before you get halfway through.

It got to the point where I felt the authors were insulting my intelligence. An entire chapter would be spent on setting up the boyhood friendship of Narasan and Padan, and a couple of pages later, a dialogue would be tagged with the words, "said Padan, Narasan's childhood friend." I already know who he is, can I get on with the story? If this only happened once, I wouldn't have bothered to point it out, but the book was rife with such "reminders."

After the initial setup, the story takes an almost two-hundred page hiatus to go through the history from each point of view.

One final issue is the level of tension. Never once in the book did I fear for any of the main characters. I'm used to reading books of a fairly dark nature, but even lighter books place the main characters in danger.

I believe this book would have been a lot better with a good edit or two. As it stands, unless you're a die-hard David and Leigh Eddings fan, I think you're likely to be disappointed.

Copyright © 2005 Steve Lazarowitz

Steve Lazarowitz is a speculative fiction writer, an editor, a father, a husband, an animal lover and a heck of a nice guy (not necessarily in that order). Steve lives in Moonah, Tasmania with his family and four giant spiny leaf insects. You can check out his work at http://www.dream-sequence.net.


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