David Eddings – The Diamond Throne

Although my pile of books to read is quite high I do like to wander through my bookshelves. As I lack space many shelves contain two layers of books, with my favorites in front and the rest behind them. Some books I haven’t read for such a long time that I would like to experience them once again and see how I like them now. One of those books is The Diamond Throne (1989) by David Eddings, the first book of the Elenium Trilogy. It has probably been ten years since I last read this book, although I’m not certain I’ve reread it before at all. Sometimes I buy books I’ve read before (and liked) because they are available at a cheap price. The first time I read the novel I was about fifteen. Around that age I first ventured into the adult section of my library and also quickly became a fan of fantasy and science fiction as those were far more accessible than literature novels. My library had plenty of high fantasy novels by David Eddings so I read much by him, although I have to add I read everything and was not picky.

Since then pretty much a lifetime of reading has passed in which I have become quite selective of what I read. I do remember enjoying the Eddings novels and since it had been that long since I had forgotten quite a bit of how it was. So it was a rather odd experience. Early in the novel I realized it would be classified as Young Adult the days. Back then, and that was the nineties, this subgenre did not really exist. Fantasy was still not as mainstream as it is today and making further distinctions was a waste of effort. So why Young Adult? The prose is very easy and laid back. The tone is rather light and violent scenes are short and without detail. The story is told in a rather informative way, close to infodumping as Eddings seeks any opportunity to explain some background or situation. This while certain characters should have been better informed or just vary the extent to which they are knowing certain details. Certain behavior is presented a bit to explicitly, making it all to clear that there is little subtlety.

As Young Adult goes, this is even quite low level in that category. There is little complexity with hardly any hidden layers. The plot itself is quite straightforward, told in a leisurely pace which is not too slow, but far from creating any tension or urgency. In my opinion there is quite some Young Adult around these days that is only classified as such because the main characters are kids, while the story is quite mature. This story is far from mature. It is even lighter than Feist, although I already knew that. Nevertheless my reading experience is now wholly different.

The story itself is solid enough, the characters clearly distinguishable while lacking complexity. There are plenty of openings to do so. Eddings simply chooses not to make use of it. It is also a relatively non-mainstream setting. As a unique mediaevil world with many gods and as only familiar fantastic creature the troll it does manage to provide a fairly refreshing setting, even with so much fantasy out there today.

Considering the fact that I did enjoy these novels as a kid starting with fantasy novels, this would still be an easy and enjoyable entry into the world of fantasy, avoiding many clichés, although some remain. Still as one of the older fantasies this one was written when such clichés were not that common.

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