David Eddings – The Ruby Knight

It has probably been over a decade since I last read the Elenium Trilogy, a high fantasy by David Eddings. In my review of the first novel, The Diamond Throne, I quickly concluded that the series would now be classified as Young Adult, due to the low level writing style and storytelling. Nevertheless it is not a series that is centered around adolescents. Eddings kind of forces a few adolescents into the story while the focus lies with a group of older adults. Personally I think the classification Young Adult cannot be clearly defined as multiple factors play a role. The Elenium Trilogy itself is a good starting point for kids venturing into the genre of fantasy.

Although my taste prefers more complex stories these days, I used to enjoy Eddings quite a bit when I was a kid. So after the first book, as I was waiting for other books to arrive, I decided to continue with the next book, The Ruby Knight (1990), as I hardly remembered anything of the plot anymore, so that it almost feels like a new read.

As the middle book of the trilogy The Ruby Knight doesn’t have a true beginning or end. On the other hand, the first book can lack an ending while the last book can lack a beginning. An advantage that the middle book can have is that the plot is already established so that introducing the characters is not required while the story can develop freely without having to bring closure. This advantage is what makes The Ruby Knight a better book than The Diamond Throne. In the first book Eddings was quite elaborate in introducing and setting up his characters. This wasn’t done in a very subtle way, probably because of the Young Adult aim of the author. In the second book there is no need to set anything up which allowed the character interaction and dialogues to become more natural which makes and easier read.

The story itself remains rather plot-driven. The development of the story is determined by external circumstances. The characters have little say in what happens except for minor choices which do not affect the story. A plot-driven story is okay, but I do like the character to have some influence on the story. Here it felt as if he had been incapacitated and that is a bit too much. Eddings tried to add in some twists in the form of unexpected obstacles, although they seemed a bit forced as the chance of these happening, even in a made up story, should be rather low. These were some minor flaws that were not that obvious, but for an experienced reader like me they could easily be recognized.

In the end my opinion of the novel is no different than the earlier conclusions I gave in the beginning. I have pointed out some differences which had positive and negative influences and much more I can’t add.

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