I don't understand why people are so shook up about this book. All I keep reading is, 'same as the first', and 'reading about a prophecy that we know exists and who is going to win' and 'characters don't mature, except physically'...and so on.
Firstly, I think those reviewers are either missing the point because it's so big or are being deliberately obtuse. Of course we know who's going to win. Nobody wants to follow a character for ten books just to find out he dies in the end. If Harry Potter dies in book seven, J.K. Rowling would never sell another book.
The key is it isn't how it all comes out, because every story has to come out somewhere, but about how the author takes us there. Of course we know who's going to win, of course we can even guess how it's gonna happen, but I wanna know what happens IN BETWEEN. The struggles they go through to get to the confrontation, the new ideas and uses of Word and Will and the cleverness of Silk and all the rest.
My suggestion is to stop being so needy and just go along for the ride. David Eddings characterizes like no other author alive, and he writes funny, entertaining fantasy books. Why be so cranky when the book doesn't turn out the way you want it to? No it isn't Tolkien (thank goodness) --- it's not even in the same league as that trash --- and it isn't like any other fantasy series I've ever read.
Quit beeing needy, don't worry about how the thing comes out, and just enjoy the wit and humor and the trip! Man the trip in these books alone justifies the $7.50 I spend at Borders for each of these.
I recommend this series to anyone intelligent enough to appreciate the story as one of it's own, and not compare it to Tolkien's garbage or Rowling's tripe.