The Diamond Throne by David Eddings
Review by Floresiensis
Review by Angela
This novel is the beginning of a 6 book fantasy saga (The Elenium and The Tamuli), but don’t let that put you off.
It follows the story of Sparhawk, a Pandion Knight who has a knack of upsetting people in high places. He has been around a long time, and is quite cynical in his outlook. The Queen has fallen ill, and the only way to save her was to seal her in a diamond throne (hence the title). This throne will only sustain her for one year. Sparhawk and friends have to find a cure before time runs out.
David Eddings craft as a writer comes to the fore with the prologue about trolls, as it is in a completely different style to the rest of the novel. It’s like he’s decided to write the prologue in a Tolkein-esqe style just to prove that he could do it, and to impress his critics. The main story is written in David Edding’s normal style, and is very easy to read. The characters of Sparhawk’s friends and colleagues are as vividly painted as he is, they are not two-dimensional, and the reader cares about them.
It is a fantasy book of the old school, with its sword fights and magic, but it is more than that. The novel changes direction many times: from action to politics, magic to a buddy road movie. These changes keep the reader interested, and you’re never quite sure what is going to happen next. There were occasions when this reviewer laughed out loud while reading, as even through its darkest moments there are breaks of humour.
The only problem with the book is that it stops on a cliff-hanger. It does not neatly finish, like some multi-volume fantasy works do. If you’re enjoying the book, make sure that you have the second novel close at hand to carry on reading. On the bright side, all the books in this series have already been published, so you won’t have to wait.
Review by Lee
The Elenium consists of six books and The Diamond Throne is the first book in this series. David Eddings is an author who is both loved and criticized in seemingly equal measure but no-one can deny that he writes enjoyable fantasy tales. The Elenium continues in the next volume, The Ruby Knight.
The Pandion Knight Sparhawk embarks on a quest to find a magical jewel than can save his queen, Ehlana. Returning from exile, Sparhawk finds his homeland overrun with evil and intrigue and his Queen fataly ill. The Queen is entombed within a block of crystal and will die unless a cure can be found within a year. Sparhawk, Sephrenia, Flute and further allies seek to save Ehlana and their land.
The Diamond Throne introduces us to Sparhawk, the seminal character of the series. Sparhawk is a gruff, no nonsense knight and is a very loveable character. Once you add Kalten, Sephrenia, Flute and the many other colourful characters into the mix you are left with an excellent core of characters that help to make this a magical read.
I have heard people describe these works as “comfort books” and I think that this is an excellent way on describing them. The narrative is strong and sufficiently detailed to create a realistic world in which the characters can move. A criticism of Eddings’ is that he uses stereotypes on the various races within his books. In my opinion so does Tolkien and Erikson and that this simply is the fantasy genre written through western-eyes. There is humour aplenty within the book and this is all based around a classic good versus evil struggle with the fate of the world at stake.
Eddings is very honest when he states that he follows a formula in his writing. This is not necessarily a bad thing and it does create a very comfortable reading environment. Eddings is not the best fantasy author alive but he is very good at what he does and that is writing appealing and entertaining fantasy books for reader of all ages.
Karen from England
Interesting to hear someone else describe this series as "comfort reading" as I'm of the same opinion myself, no bad thing as an awful lot of modern life seems to consist of ever-shifting and increasingly muddy morality, and the trend for all sorts of fiction is for the strange and, frankly in some cases, twisted. Mr Eddings has no such concerns; you know where you are, who the good guys and the bad guys are, and boy, do the bad guys get what they deserve... now what could possibly be wrong with that?
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