Friday, July 30, 2010


When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Alright, so let me start by saying that I didn't pick up this book by choice. I picked up this book because it has been stated again and again that this will become a classic, and the series has been raved about by many. Because of this, I decided to start reading the book, since I had bought the first two books for a grand total of $2.

The summary from goodreads does an alright job with explaining the main premise of the novel, but what it doesn't say is that Eragon's journey through this place and that place lasts nearly the entire book.

If I may, allow me to divide the novel in to three parts. Part one happens at the beginning, obviously, when Eragon lives in his hometown with his uncle who's not actually his uncle and finds the dragon egg. This part details the beginning of the relationship between him and the dragon until strangers come to town and cause a scene.

Part two is the entire middle of the book as Eragon leaves town and is on the run, searching for the strangers who made a mess of his town, wanting revenge. Mind you, this whole entire part is him searching for the men and finding disasters and fights along the way that add little to the book.

Part three is the conclusion of what happens when Eragon finally reaches a place where he can be safe. I will say nothing more about part three because I can say nothing more without ruining the ending.

But that was it. The plot only existed in the beginning of the book and at the ending. The middle part was simply an explanation of what Dragon Riders do, and what a person can do with magic in order to buy time. The lessons Brom the storyteller teaches to Eragon are forced upon the reader in a manner that I found awkward.

But here it is, the opposition I know I'm going to meet. Paolini was young when he wrote the book. You try writing something like this. I hate people who say this. He was published, and that makes him an author, age regardless. It is an author's job to work their book to the fullest, making sure it has plot all the way through, and by plot I mean something that it needed for the book to advance, not just random events thrown in to pass the time.

Though I didn't enjoy the book's plot, I did enjoy the characters. Of them, Brom stood out the most. He was witty, brave, and pushy. A great character from the start who grew even larger as the book progressed. Eragon, on the other hand, annoyed me. His inner dialog, the most. I can't quote you the page, but there is a scene in which Eragon is training with Brom and there is a paragraph describing the beginning of the training before it reads something along the lines of He's fast, thought Eragon. No, really? The old rule, show don't tell, is not reflected in this book.

Since my reading time often reflects on how much I enjoyed the book, it took me a week to read. Not a good sign. I don't know if I'll ever sit down to read the second book, but won't have time to take it on anytime soon seeing as I'm behind on reviews right now.

Overall, Eragon disappointed me. Perhaps if the hype had not been so large around the book, I would have enjoyed it more, but the book seemed highly overrated. I would still recommend reading it, as, like I said, the beginning and ending are packed with action, but the middle is slow.

Rating: C

1 comment:

Ariel said...

*Spoilers, I suppose, for those who haven't read*

I do not recommend reading Eldest, especially since you didn't like the first one. I made it through the first one, and then the second slowly started to turn into a crazy crackfic? Kind of like when I read the summary for Breaking Dawn on Wikipedia and was sure that it was flamers? I didn't enjoy Eldest (partially because the plot went to hell and partially because the only character I liked, Brom, wasn't there) and I couldn't get past the first two pages of Brisingr. It's... it's a mess.

I strongly agree with your point about publishing - the fact that he was 16 isn't a great excuse. Plenty of 16-year-olds write, but the reason why most of them aren't published is because they aren't ready. Maybe they'll be good when they get older - plenty of authors have work from when they were younger that is awful - but right now they're learning how to write. I think that the job of a writer is to publish their work when it's ready. They owe it to their characters and to their readers. (This is a heated topic for me, as you can see).

Even if I had more affection for the Heroic Plotline than I do, I still don't think I would have enjoyed this book, though I did enjoy your review. :) Keep 'em up!