The story is a fascinating exploration of the backdrop of the two prior series. The narrator is not as strong or interesting to listen to as the prior narrator, but neither is he as bad as many of the reviews state. It took approximately an hour to make the transition to this new narrator, but once done I was able to enjoy the story well enough. I well admit that his habit of ending declarative sentences on a upward pitch was annoying, but I was able to accept it as a foible and move beyond it. If a listener has enjoyed the two series, I would recommend this book.
I was a huge fan of the other earlier books in this series (the Belgariad), and look back on them with a certain nostalgia. Hoping to enjoy that again, I tried out this newer prequel.
Like the other comments here, I also felt that the narrator was pretty poor. He does have a good voice, but it seemed to me that he knows this as well and is relishing in the sound of his own voice, instead of really reading appropriately with the plot, or even sometimes punctuation of the story. This alone makes it difficult to get into the story.
Giving the author the benefit of the doubt, I may have felt differently about this book if it had been narrated better. But I also feel that the book itself was lacking. It seemed that much of the plot was characters talking to each other about things happening somewhere else; like a 20+ hour strategy meeting but never getting on to any doing. This lead to very little character development in my opinion. I'm not the kind of listener/reader that needs non-stop action by any means. But I think you'll find that it seems like you are listening to a list of events happening, rather than being "in" the story to experience them.
Eddings seems to repeat himself a lot in this one too with descriptions or characterizations, almost as if he feels the reader may have forgotten he said the same thing in the chapter previously. So mostly the book ends up being a forum with which to drop lots of references and allusions to his previous books in the series, rather than telling its own tale.
If you read the previous books I think you will probably be disappointed in this one. If you didn't read the previous books you will most definitely be disappointed.
I enjoy all of Mr. Eddings writings, but do not care for the narrator on Belgarath the Sorcerer. His pronunciation is so totally different from the Belgariad series that one can loose track of characters, places, etc., and it takes away from the enjoyment of the whole series.
This story is amazing, and well written. Eddings does an excellent job of filling out the missing parts of the story that aren't covered in The Belgariad or The Mallorean. The narration, however, leaves quite a bit to be desired. I had to fight to keep from grinding my teeth every time he said "Ki Nedra" when it's obviously "Sin Nedra". He also improperly names Cyradis, again using a hard K instead of a flowing S. Also, at one point during the book, it's obvious that he has a cold or some illness, because his voice drops quite a bit. But aside from the narration, the book is great, and along with Polgara the Sorceress, ties up all the loose ends and fills in the story wonderfully. Highly recommended.
Personally, I would have had the narrator listen to the previous 10 books before reading this book.
Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician's Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanters Endgame, Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva, and the Seeress of Kell.
My two main issues are that he put the accents on the wrong syllable (bel - GAR - ath instead of how it was pronouced in the previous 10 books BEL - gar - ath) and he just mispronounced other names like Ce'Nedra (which in one of the above mentioned books it is explained that it is pronounced like X'Nedra or sze'nedra) instead he pronounces it Kinedra...
I read this when it first came out...I have the paperback in storage somewhere and love the story. I know that the story was worth it so I struggled through the horrible reading.
If there are 10 previous books all ranging between 10.5 - 16 hours and a new narrator is reading the next book, the producers should have the new narrator listen to those books to hear the correct pronunciation, or at least have a cheat sheet with the correct pronunciations of the names. I mean really I just spent 120+ hours listening to the previous 10 books. I spent this month's credits on the last 2 in the series and the first one was a horrible listen.
I love this entire series, yet I really struggled to finish this book. The inconsistent pronunciations drove me crazy. I much prefer Cameron Bierle's performance. It's too bad he wasn't used for this book.
I love these Eddings stories, and the familiar lilting style of the banter between the characters. This narrator was extremely distracting as a storyteller. All the language between the dialogue had the same odd inflection, and at least half the dialogue itself seemed very unnatural. It seemed he was more interested in the sound of his own voice than in telling the story. Disappointing. I am not allowed to give it no stars in the review.
I loved basically everything except the performance/narration.
My best recommendation? Give J.P. time to settle down.
At times, particularly in the first few chapters it was nearly unbearable, but I powered through it and J.P. finally settled down and stopped reading BelGarath with so much blusterousness. After that it was quite enjoyable. Though, at times, his unnatural phrasing and pausing in the middle of sentences and emphasis on certain words made the listening a bit disjointed/ dissonant. once I became acquainted to his style, for lack of a better word, it was very enjoyable.