” Slowly Sparhawk raised his eyes to his Queen. She was beautiful. There was almost luminous perfection about her countenance. Her pale blonde hair was long and loosely framed her face. She wore stately robes and the heavy gold crown of Elenia. Her slender hands lay upon the arms of her throne, and her eyes were closed. But now she was locked in the semblance of death, embedded in a transparent crystal hexahedron, like a bug frozen in amber.
Then he heard and felt it, a regular thudding sound, growing louder by the moment as it announced to any who might enter the throne room that her heart was still beating.
Sparhawk sank to one knee in a move of profound respect, his eyes suddenly filling with tears. “I’m here now, Ehlana,” he murmured. “Somehow, I’ll make everything right again.”
The heart beat grew louder, almost as if she had heard.”
Title: The Diamond Throne
Author: David Eddings
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: June 13, 1990
Synopsis: Sparhawk, Pandion Knight, and Queen’s Champion have returned to Elenia after ten years of exile, only to find young Queen Ehlana trapped in a block of ensorcelled crystal. As Sparhawk sets out to find a cure for Ehlana, he discovers that only he can defeat the evil plots that threaten her rule….
Stand Alone or Series: Book 1 of the Elenium Trilogy
Why I originally picked this book up: In my early twenties, a friend of a friend found out that I was a fan of fantasy books and lent me a couple of series by an author I had never heard of. This was one of the books. While I had been reading fantasy since my early teens, I had not read many that would be considered “High Fantasy.” Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is probably the most famous “High Fantasy” series in the world and, as blasphemous as this may sound, I have never been able to make my way past the mid-point of the first book. “High fantasy” usually focuses on a quest of some kind and grapples with the idea of good versus evil. I was leery to try again because of my lack of experience with the genre, but I agreed to give it a shot.
Why I kept reading it: David Eddings is a wonderful world builder! While his characters could be considered “types” and his story elements “cliches”, his characters are relatable and I find his dialog to be engaging. But mostly, I am a sucker for a well crafted world. While the world in which this book is set is not as finely detailed as the one in his other major series (which I will probably review when I get around to re-reading it), it is interesting and has several cultures, which is always a bonus. I also liked the characters a great deal and enjoyed spending time with them.
As the first in a trilogy, it does not have a huge payoff in the end, and would never be able to a stand alone. However, it is obvious that it was always intended to be a part of a trilogy, and it has enough of a small payoff for the reader to not feel cheated. If you decide to read this book, do yourself a favor and make sure you have them all on hand, for ease. Since this book is over 20 years old, that is not hard. Del Rey even combined them into a single omnibus edition–but the writing is VERY tiny.
Why I am re-reading it: In the 25 years since I first picked up this book, I can’t even tell you how many times I have read it, but I do re-read the entire series every two years or so. It is usually my bedtime reading while I am reading something else during the day. Picking this book up is like spending time with old friends. I have read it enough times that I can read it in fits and spurts (depending on how tired I am when I get into bed) and not lose the thread of the story. I can just spend time with the characters and re-live what I love best about them.
4 1/2 Stars