For yet a little while, his dreams of innocence remained safe, untroubled by knowledge of his strange heritage. For a little while... thus begins The Belgariad, an epic fantasy of immense scope set against a history of 7,000 years. It tells of the struggles between ancient gods and mighty Kings, and of men in strange lands facing fated events, all bound by a prophecy that must be fulfilled.
© and (P)2003 Books in Motion. This recording is produced by arrangement with the Ballantine Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Incorporated.
"Absorbing. Touches all the right fantasy bases. Warring gods, political intrigues, supernatural creatures, and appealingly human magicians." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fabulous! Eddings has a marvelous storyteller style. Exceedingly well portrayed." (Anne McCaffrey)
First, I want to say that, reading others' reviews, it becomes clear how very subjective preferences in narration style and voice can be. Some people love Mr Beierle's interpretation; some really don't.
Myself, I'm in the former category. These audiobooks (for I've listened to the whole series, now) do a remarkable job, for me, of bringing the stories to life in a new way, having read and reread them over the years. While it's true that his accents shift around a bit, and not all of his interpretations match what I had in my head, by and large I find his reading excellent, for one key reason: it sounds very much like these are stories Mr Beierle truly enjoys, and understands, and wants to share; and not just like something he's reading as a job.
The stories themselves are layered. On one level, they are quite simple, but there's some complex ideas floating around at deeper layers. What I've always liked best about them is that they aren't black-and-white. The "good guys" all have flaws and occasionally do some unpleasant or unflattering things; the "bad guys" all have reasons for what they do that make perfect sense to them.
These are not, perhaps, "classic" literature, but they're good reads, and as audiobooks, well read. The characters and their interactions are memorable and entertaining and occasionally insightful. Definitely worth your time!
Just got finished listening to the first book. I read the entire series twice when I was younger. After reading the reviews, I was worried that the narration was terrible... It wasn't. Do the accents get scrambled a few times? Yes. Does the narrator change pronunciations a time or two? Yes. Does this ruin the audiobook experience? Absolutely NOT. I enjoyed the reading and although it wasn't perfect, it was read by someone who cares about the content being read. I loved this and am continuing on with the audio series. Highly recommended for fantasy fans.
I picked this particular book as my first Audible download as it is a story I have read and re-read several times when I was younger, and I was looking forward to having it "read to me" And I was not let down.
I read the customer reviews several times before actually making the purchase and some left me very apprehensive and worried that I was making the wrong decision. Several people complained about the narrator and his delivery of the story. Of strange pauses or enunciation of words. Or the delivery of the characters voices.
I am happy to report that I have enjoyed this book enormously, and am able to recommend this to other listeners. I do admit that from time to time pauses occur at strange times, or when switching characters there is some "bleed-through" of voices. We might want to keep in mind before making critics of Mr. Cameron Beierle that he is reading aloud a very long book. Pauses and a certain amount of leeway should be granted. I mean he is sitting in a room for x amount of hours a day reading and re-reading sections/chapters. I'm sure a few of the pauses can be pinned on the audio splice together too. However, this is an extremely good story teller, who I enjoyed listening too.
I've gone ahead and purchased the rest of this series and plan to purchase the rest of Mr Edding's books that are here on Audible. And I have no worries or concerns about listening to Cameron Beierle, who I've found to enjoy his reading style and voice. Keep up the good work.
I'm honestly baffled by all the hostility toward the narration of this series. The narrator uses accents to represent the different nations, and that's a bold choice, one that can be jarring at first --but after a while, I came to really appreciate it. The nations of the West are sort of like European countries in size and diversity, and on reflection it made a lot of sense that they would have varying accents: Sendarians sound vaguely British, Arends vaguely French, and so on. It's true that the accents do drift around a bit, he doesn't hit them spot-on every time, but I didn't find this at all a problem.
The story itself is a classic, and sure to be enjoyed by young (and young-at-heart) adults, with strong, memorable characters and a story of grand adventure to carry them along.
I'd recommend it strongly (and the other four books in the series)! Don't be scared off by the negative reviews of the narration without at least checking out the sample and seeing for yourself.
I hesitated to download this title because of several fairly harsh reviews of the narrator (Cameron Beierle). I was concerned about not being able to lose myself in the telling of the story. Personally, I feel that people find it all too easy to be critical of things (overly critical in fact)... especially on the internet where they can be safe to say anything they want in their anonymity.
Having said that, I am happy that I decided to go ahead and download this title in spite of the reviews here. I have always been a fan of this series and I am now a fan of its reading. The narrator does a nice job of lending unique voices to each character. Yes, there is some bleed-through when he switches between them on occasion, but never to the point that it interferes with the flow of the story. In particular I find his voice for the main character (the boy Garion) to be well done (sounding both young and innocent compared to the gruff and heavy accents of other characters). He even does a fair job of representing the main female (Polgara).
Setting the narration aside I can definitely say that the story itself is one of the most enjoyable fantasy series I've read. Filled with characters you will hold in fond memory and a story filled with adventure that is told from the eyes of an innocent youth. Not so much the orcs, dragons and epic wars of many fantasy series, but somewhat more akin to the epic travels of the Wheel of Time series.
I really enjoyed this book, and just completed the second title in the series as well. I very much recommend the series, but it is not for action junkies. At least not through the second book...
For newcomers to Eddings work like me, compared to new fantasy titles, you'll notice that the violence is very much toned down. This isn't a bad thing, and actually made the battle scenes (when they occur) that much more tense and rivoting.
I think of the series as a "good old read" for someone raised on the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance books. I also consider this a good series for young readers as well, as they look for ways to transition from Potter, to the wider, weirder, more adult versions of modern epic fantasy.
Narration is also top notch, and I enjoy listening to how Cameron successfully keeps the multiple parties separate in his mind and on tape.
If Audio Books were Quality Street Chocolates then this would be my favorite favorite. A book originally given to me a gift. I did not read it for several years because of the prologue. When I did give it a chance finally, could not put it down. When through the rest of the 10 books faster than I have read anything other than Lord of the rings.
Garion. every time he thinks " Why me?" I think been there, done that!. A character you can relate to, not only as a person, but in terms of the kind of experiences he goes through.
I have to pick one? Not possible there are so many. Garion in trouble, the homeliness of Aunt Pols Kitchen. The agony of leaving his childhood home. There are just so many I enjoyed.
Not merely a legend, a Myth in the making.
Hands down recommend the book and the series to any fantasy fan. Dont ask for a comparison, there is nothing quite like it out there. This ones unique!
I was a dubious at first on whether to get this, due to the negative comments about the narrator, Cameron Beierle. Having just finished it I can't for the life of me understand why.
His reading is clear, thoughtful, and thoroughly enjoyable. I loved the way his use of accents and intonation make it very easy to distinguish between the different characters in the story, bringing depth and colour to their lives. He's a joy to listen to.
It's been about 20 years since I first read the book, and I'd forgotten just how much fun the Belgariad fantasy was first time round. Can't wait to download the next one.
I read this book 15 years ago, and the whole seriers after that. Listining too this book is even better! The reader is very good, he has the male and female voices down, young and old. Without being told you know who is talking. The story is very good, if you never read these books, but love the "Wheel of Time" seriers or R.R. Martins books you will like these as well.
Years ago this series was my re-introduction to the fantasy genre as such it holds a special place in my heart, so I was a little scared to do a re-read as I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t live up to my memory. I am happy to report I was not disappointed, although I didn’t remember till the end that you really want to have all the book waiting in the queue because Eddings pretty much ends these books in the middle of a sentence.
People can say what they want about Eddings writing or storyline or whatever they want; I want to say I still love this book. I think this book/series is the perfect introduction to the epic fantasy genre. I think Eddings world building is great he tells you what each country is about, what kind of people they are, the differences from other countries ect. These characters have stayed with me all these years and I was happy to welcome them back into my life.
I decided to do my re-read on audio, with narration by Cameron Beierle his narration did take some getting used to I wasn’t a big fan of his very young Garion and was happy when he was 5 years older, what I totally loved was Silk, who is my favorite character and he sounded like George Sanders which I found perfect! I thought Belgarath sounded more and more like Sean Connery as the book went on and as such that is who I am now picturing in my head as Belgarath which isn’t a bad thing! There were times I felt like Cameron was still finding his way with so many characters but who wouldn’t there are so many different voices to do it would be hard to keep track. I will be listening to the rest of this series as I am sure that Cameron’s narration will continue to get better and better as the series progresses.
Still 5 stars just because!
"couldn't agree more"
This is one of my all time favourite books. Like reviewer one I will probably get them all because I like them so much and, after a whole book, am now slightly desensitised to the appalling reader, but oh, who on earth picked this reader, and where on earth did they dig him up? I found the pronunciation and (most of) the accents excruciating, but the one that really had me shouting at the story teller was his pronunciation of 'quay', not pronounced 'key' as is usual (I think) but 'qway', just as I do when I'm being silly. Really spoiled a fabulous story for me.
"Great book murdered by the reader"
Eddings has written fantastic books The Belgariad is an amazing series and followed by The Mallorian (not a complete series yet on audible) and the individual books Belgareth ... and Polgara.. (not yet available on the site). With such great writing how could anything go wrong but Oh my it has. Cameron Beierle chews his way through every place name and character (Pol pronounced Paaaul) (Adur pronounced Aldoor) (Senadria pronounced Send- er - ia) to the point that the listener is distracted from the rich story line and finely rough character development
I love these books and will probably listen to them all but this guy works too hard even simple words in English sound like they are being delivered by a Russian ?migr? living 20 years in the deep south of the USA with Stephen Hawking
"Great Book - Disappointing Reader"
I agree with Michael's comment totally. I love the book - read it to my kids and was looking forward to getting the set on my ipod -but, alas one volume was enough. I can live with the very intrusive overall vocal mannerisms of the reader but not with the total failure to keep the same voice for the same character. How come Durnik is mock cockney part of the time and Polish the rest - often in the same sentence! Any chance of a second reading? - I would do it myself for free!!
"My second favourite fantasy."
I'm surprised to see so many reviews criticizing Cameron Beierle's reading of this story.
Sure he mispronounces Quay and the way he says Riva & Ce'Nedra changes from line to line, but once you get past these endearing quirks, the reading itself is masterful.
At no point are you ever in any doubt as to which character is speaking, his voices are that distinct. He reads at a measured pace, allowing the story to come alive, with out the sense that each scene is just a rush to the next.
I'm now mid way through the second book of the sequel series, and at no point during seven consecutive books read by the same man, have I been bored of listening to him.
And that's some feat.
"Great book. Avoid this narrator like the plague!"
I'm a huge Eddings fan and own every book the guy wrote, so I was really pleased to see his work finally available in audio format. My friend had Pawn of Prophecy and lent it to me, much to my excitement. Thought it would be great for my upcoming holiday so settled down for a good listen. Oh dear!!! Where oh where did they find this narrator? Probably in the unemployment line (at least that's where I hope he is now)!
It's such a shame that some publishers don't seem to properly vet their narrators. This guy butchers his way through character and place names with a perverse pleasure it seems. His accents, characterisations and affectations are so jarring that it just killed the story for me.
Take my advice and stick to reading these books yourself as this guy will just murder these books for you!
"Kwan I Kwome to your Kway"
Well, probably nothing. The books are very simple, derivative fantasy, with characters that are barely one dimensional. Pretty juvenile really, but nevertheless, they are fun for what they are and I enjoyed them as a teenager.
However, substituting the reader would have made a great difference.
Why are you worried about me putting in any spoilers? The reading itself puts in a great whacking spoiler at the end (is it really in the book and not just the audio recording? I can't remember).
Easier to ask what I did like. Absolutely nothing. He hasn't got a clue. His voice is pleasant enough once you get used to it, and, although I think he makes poor choices, I could accept his pronunciation and accents IF he could stick to one per character or place... or even one per sentence. I'm very grateful to all the other reviewers who warned me about this prior to listening, otherwise I would have been hugely angry. As it was, I went into it prepared (although I don't think anything could quite have prepared me for how ghastly it is) and I think I am now fairly desensitised, except for the hilarious kway!!
As I am not alone in saying, change the narrator.
And get rid of those awful boring prologues. That's Eddings thinking he's Tolkien. Wishful thinking, mate - you're not.
"You all know the story..."
If you've not read the books before, essentially it's a fantasy version of Star Wars: farm boy turns out to have magical powers, and together with a bearded wizard, a beautiful princess, a rogue, a bear-like man, and assorted other characters, saves the world from a disfigured power-crazed bad guy and his forces of evil. The characters are well-written, the story is paced nicely and only occasionally drags over the course of the five volumes, and while the plot "twists" will be obvious to anyone with two brain cells it's still a compelling narrative.
As for the audiobook version, unlike some other reviewers I *like* the narration. True, there's some really weird pronunciation and mangling of words and moments where the emphasis suggests that passages have caught him by surprise, and yes, now and again characters' accents will slip (for example Durnik occasionally sounds Russian and other times sound like he's from Somerset), but for the vast majority of the time you can easily tell which character is speaking and which race incidental characters belong to, and the dialogue manages to convey feeling and emotion reasonably well. I can't quite place the narrator's natural accent, but his voice is fairly mellow and soothing which, if you're listening to all 80-odd hours of the saga, is a godsend.
Highly recommended, both for fans of the books and anyone looking for a bit of epic adventure.
"Thrilling fantasy with dramatic reading..."
Terrific fantasy story; spell-binding and woven throughout with intricate imagery... and well read by Cameron Beierle who has an amazing amount of accents at his disposal!
"A good reading of a classic book"
This was one of the first fantasy books I read, many years ago, and it has remained a favourite even though I haven't re-read it for many years now. So when I discovered it on audible I thought it might be a good nostalgia trip and I was right. I was a bit disconcerted by the narrator at first - the way he pronounces names was not the way I pronounced them in my head, and he does switch voices at times, but I don't mind that. It's brought the book to life again for me, and I'm so glad audible has got the whole series. Recommended for Eddings fans and those new to him too.
I read these books as a teen and 20 years later I'm listening to the audio book. Frankly the writing and story are not as good as I remember from what was one of my favourite childhood books.
My experience might well be coloured by the incredibly irritating narrator though. His bizarre and often inconsistent Russian like pronunciation of names can make the story difficult to follow. Also whilst he gives distinctive voices to each character some are very dislikable especially the women and children. I found myself disliking Garion I think mostly because of the whining voice.
It's a shame since the narrators overall tone is please to listen to but the narration is ruined by some very irritating quirks. I'm not sure why he wasn't reigned in a little.
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