Pawn of Prophecy  - David Eddings There is nothing I hate more than trying to review one of my all-time favorite books from my teenage years. We all know the reason: the book just never lives up to your memories of its perfection. A fact - which if we are honest with ourselves - is inevitable, because we personally have changed too much, the world has changed too much, and our tastes have changed too much since the initial reading. This is true I’m sad to say with David Edding’s Pawn of Prophecy.

Back when I picked up this book in 1984, I was thirteen (13) or fourteen (14) years old (I can’t remember which anymore), just getting over an addiction to Dungeon & Dragons, and trying to transition away from my pre-teen persona into my young adult one. I had also just recently made the life altering discovery of J.R.R. Tolkien, whose books made me fall in love with fantasy and ruined my dreams of ever being considered a cool kid in high school. (It was hard to be cool when you were reading The Hobbit and making jokes about what exactly JRR was talking about when he wrote “...it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort”, but I probably shouldn’t really mention that in this review.) So when Pawn of Prophecy found its way into my hands it must have been fate, and I fell very hard for all things related to Belgarath, Polgara or Garion: a love which lasted well into my twenties.

After reading the last of Garion’s adventures in 2001, my life changed. I went to graduate school, finally finished my education, got a job, married, had three wonderful children, and read lots of different literary works: both business and pleasure. In other words, I grew up, not in one year but over the course of twenty plus years. Needless to say, during all this time, I changed as did my literary tastes. However, in 2007, I returned to Pawn of Prophecy, determined to rekindle that old love which I had once had with this book and series.

Unfortunately, my old favorite did not fill me with the same passion it once did. The best comparison is obviously going to your twentieth high school reunion excited to see your old girlfriend/boyfriend only to realize they aren’t sixteen anymore, have put on thirty pounds and gotten wrinkles just like you. How dare they change! That is how I felt as I sat there reading about my old friends Garion, Belgarath, and Polgara.

Now do not misunderstand me: this was still a good book. I found the childhood adventures of Garion and his Aunt Pol entertaining. Belgarath in his multiple disguises was as funny as ever. The journeys around the world kept me interested, and the numerous comrades like Silk only made everything more fun. Hell, I even caught myself laughing out loud more than a few times at a witty remark or silly sequence. But the plot itself just left me wanting, being too generic and simple. I was shocked that this book, which had stood only a little lower than Tolkien in my memories, seemed more a YA book than an epic fantasy. Funny how things change in twenty plus years huh?

So why the five (5) star rating if I felt this way on my reread you ask?

Simple: I rate a book by what I thought of it when I read it the first time.

Maybe rating that way is wrong, but it is just how I do things. And when I read Pawn of Prophecy - not once but numerous times in the 80s - I absolutely loved it! The simple plot and world spanning journeys of Garion bedazzled me, making me want more and more. So that is why it is rated five stars, and in my obviously biased opinion, it is still that good a book for the right person - maybe another 13-14 year old boy trying to grow up. I believe that even in its simplicity Pawn of Prophecy can still speak to that person and begin them on their journey into the world of fantasy novels. For that reason - and all my personal memories of it - Pawn of Prophecy will always be worthy of a five (5) star rating.