Yes, reader, I did what I said I wouldn't, and read volume two of the Belgariad, Queen of Sorcery. I felt furtive and slightly ashamed, but still, I checked it out of the library.
Other than admiring Eddings' chutzpah in using the same 'plot to overthrow the king' plot three times in two books, QoS reminded me of another one of the key ingredients of his success - introducing new stock characters to the party in each book. So we meet the archer, the knight champion, all sketched out with customary Eddingsian aplomb.
The book does depart from the cosy template pretty disastrously towards the end in (ahem) Sthiss Tor, city of the serpent people: a race of decadent, drug-happy slavers with pretty much no redeeming features, led by an eternal queen moonlighting from L Rider Haggard.
In Eddingsworld, it does sometimes seem that the less Northern European you are, the less moral you are - which is a deeply troubling thought. And the overall effect on QoS of the Snake People episode is equivalent to Conan farting in a lift.
I love the way Finny is looking at QoS as if she's thinking "What is this?!? Bring me some Ursula Le Guin forthwith!'
It's cat-dead-rat syndrome in reverse. :-)