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Magician’s Gambit is the third book of The Belgariad, the book series by David Eddings. So far, the series has been classic, following all the fantasy tropes. But honestly, I don’t mind that these tropes haven’t been innovated because I’ve really fallen in love with the characters and the world that David Eddings created. So, if you love a good, classic epic adventure Fantasy, the Belgariad is definitely for you.
Below you can find the full book review of Magician’s Gambit by David Eddings. Or, if you prefer, you can jump straight to the conclusion right here.
Genre: YA Epic Coming-of-Age Fantasy | Publisher: Del Rey
In the third book of The Belgariad, our companions realize they failed to retrieve the orb on time. Zedar, the thief, had already given it to Ctuchik, a grolim priest and faithful follower of Torak. And so they have to travel all the way to the dangerous lands of the Murgo’s to get the orb back. This journey naturally leads them across new lands and places, where we again meet new people.
The journey takes them through empty, haunted lands, to the Vale of Aldur himself, and the deep caves of the mystical Ulgo’s. All the while, Ce’Nedra is still confused about it all, not really understanding what they’re trying to do. On the other hand, Garion is coming to grips with being a sorcerer himself, though he still refuses to learn more.
There are some chapters in the story from Ce’Nedra’s perspective, which I quite liked. We do get a better insight into the workings of her mind, down to all her insecurities and peevishness. She’s definitely spoiled, but also smart and calculated, with the wistful temper of a teenage girl.
The story’s pace is a bit higher, in my opinion, than the previous two books since more obstacles seem to be getting in the way, and the stakes are seemingly higher. They get in some pretty serious jams a few times. The battle at the end was also pretty cool, but there was also a fight between Silk and someone I won’t name yet that let me down a bit. It was hinted at throughout the book, and when it happened, it just felt… too easy.
One of the characters we’re getting to know a bit better in Magician’s Gambit is Ce’Nedra. She’s for sure a spoiled Princess and knows how to manipulate people. Still, she’s also just a child, and with that comes some immaturity and peevishness that I reckon she has to overcome by the end of the series. I do hope at some point she might stop to give Garion a hard time.
A new addition to the group is Relg, one of the Ulgo’s they meet along the way. They’re fascinating people in themselves, living in their caves in almost complete darkness. They had to go there after Torak used the Orb to crack the earth, apparently.
In any case, Relg is a complete zealot and totally devoted to Ulgo, their God. And when he comes along with the group, exciting his dark world and stepping out into the light… well, it brings for some tension and sometimes funny moments.
I’m not sure I can say something that I haven’t said already: David Eddings has built an incredible world with the Belgariad, and Magician’s Gambit is no different. From the intricate details of the history of the world down to the land and the people themselves. It all feels authentic.
It’s interesting to see the Vale of Aldur, and what could be found there. But the most interesting I thought was the haunted lands of Maragor. Here, all the inhabitants had been slain in the past by the Tolnedrans, and Marag, their God, still cries for his people. I just kinda like reading about haunted places.
The writing in the Magician’s Gambit is still delightful and easy to read. The sentences flow quite easily, and it’s easy to picture everything that’s going on. Over the three books so far, David Eddings is very consistent in his writing quality. One of my favorite things is how he writes dialogue and creates subtext. There’s also a lot of wit and humor throughout the books, no matter how bleak things get. It’s not an easy thing to do.
Chances are if you’ve come this far, you’ve already read Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery, and you are already planning to read Magician’s Gambit. So, I’d say: go for it! If you’ve loved the previous ones, you will also love this one.
Have you read the books? What are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments!