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!
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