The Belgariad: Volume IV - Castle of Wizardry
Written by: David and Leigh Eddings
Reviewed by: Brad Williamson
Magician’s Gambit ends thrillingly, which puts Castle of Wizardry at a disadvantage. Until now, each book has transitioned smoothly and precisely into the next part of the story, but the hand-off here is slightly clumsy. I still loved the novel, and the series remains one of the best fantasy epics ever, but the pace and excitement here just isn’t quite up to par with the rest of the saga.
In many ways, Castle of Wizardry feels like half of the conclusion, but a 700-page novel following three 300-page books would seem out of place, so while Castle of Wizardry is by no means bad or uninteresting, it is slightly bland and slow compared to its predecessors. For those familiar with Wheel of Time, think Winter’s Heart.
Still, the book has its great moments and stays true to the series. The concluding part is exciting, setting up the final entry well, while everything that predictably has to happen transpires quickly enough so as not to drag on.
All-in-all a very satisfying book, but it’s difficult to live fully up to the standard set by the prior entries. Despite falling short in some aspects, Castle of Wizardry remains a great fantasy novel, a good penultimate set-up, and is a worthy read for just about anyone remotely interested in the genre.