The Elder Gods: Book One of The Dreamers
David Eddings & Leigh Eddings
Aspect, 2003 (2003)
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Reviewed by Ken Lux
must admit that I am a lapsed fan of David Eddings' work, having enjoyed many of his earlier stories. His well deserved reputation goes back over many years and I was eager to review this new series.
he setting of this world-spanning epic is a '
' with many things familiar but some disturbingly wrong. Central are four enigmatic deities who coexist with the meta personalities of Father Earth and Mother Sea. All of these entities interact with a strange blend of
Middle Ages Royalty meets a 20th Century Dysfunctional family
. There are a number of varied Human peoples scattered about, some worshipping their resident God or Goddess, and others totally ignoring and being ignored by them. The four Gods' realms meet in a vast central wasteland, which contains the villain of the piece. He is bent under the weight of the unlikely moniker '
' (the name alone would drive any rational being to madness and dreams of evil conquest). His army of spliced together monsters threatens the whole of this
parallel Earth. Though this threat should be of no concern to Gods who can bend the shape of reality itself to suit their whims, they suffer one key weakness; they are constrained to never directly take a life.
o combat the evil menace, each of the Gods is raising a child - the
. But of course they are more than mere children. They are beings of tremendous, burgeoning power, unfettered by the only restriction faced by the erstwhile Gods - they can kill. I can't divulge any more about the plot and characters of this story. Not to protect the ending, or hide the tale's subtle intricacies; simply because there really isn't much more to tell. The characters frequently use casual 20th century idioms and a mental picture of them might well include a digital wristwatch. None of the dramatis personae have much depth. Their paper thin characterizations don't make you like or dislike them - you merely read on in the hopes of something ... more. The pacing of the entire story is a consistent crawl and the Human's motivations are either desperate revenge or simple greed.
n more than one occasion, a multi-paragraph narration will be repeated almost verbatim a few pages later to bring a new character up to speed on events. I was vaguely reminded of the
books written by Brian Jacques, but the antagonists and protagonists here lacked the color and spice typically found in his tales.
's simplistic style of writing might appeal to a younger audience, but as a story aimed at an adult reader, it just falls flat. The bar for the Fantasy novel has been set very high.
The Lord of The Rings
The Sword of Shannara
, and many more tales have taken us to worlds of such texture and depth that they become almost a second home. This book does not achieve that and, unfortunately, the reader is unlikely to really care how it ends.
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