This series just keeps getting better. In the third book of the Belgariad, we finally get to see Garion come into his own a little more in this one, as he learns more about his true powers as the group continues their pursuit of the Orb. The characters are all well-written. Each has their own personality, and you know just from the dialogue who’s speaking. Magician’s Gambit doesn’t suffer as some middle stories do, serving just to bridge the gap between the setup and conclusion. In fact, like the last novel in the series, I was pleasantly surprised to find a true climax of its own in this one. I’m still not sure where the story will go from here, which shows just how great the storytelling is to me.

Humans have evolved to make a lot of decisions on autopilot. There are just so many decisions that we have to make that it would take too much time and effort if we had to critically evaluate each choice all the time. This works great 90% of the time. However, these automatic decisions can be exploited by people who know about them. This book not only details the major levers that influence these automatic decisions but also provides tools against those who would exploit them for their own gain. This is definitely going on my list of favorites.

Queen of Sorcery picks up the story of Garion and the other travelers in their attempt to retrieve the Orb. Slowly, we get more of Garion’s mysterious background. For the first time, Garion uses his innate magical abilities in a few instances. This book has more of a true climax, something I felt lacking in the first novel in the series. It was also enjoyable to read about Garion’s new friends who are around his age. There was plenty of setup left for the rest of the series too. Overall, I’m enjoying this journey, and it’s left me wanting to find out how Garion’s abilities continue to grow.

Most are likely aware that Michael J. Fox has been living with Parkinson’s for decades and is heavily involved in research through his foundation. This book gives some insight into day-to-day life for him. He’s had some other major health issues that have come up, some of which have been masked by his Parkinson’s symptoms. Throughout it all, he’s seemed to keep a pretty positive attitude. I went into this reading expecting him to provide some life tips or wisdom. There was some of that there, but it was mostly a recounting of stories about his recent life, up to and including the pandemic. This isn’t a bad book by any means, but it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Shane J. Orr

Shane is interested in reading, RPGs (mostly D&D), baseball, and living a stoic life.

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