Nataliya's Reviews > Eragon

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
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Dec 04, 2013

did not like it
bookshelves: i-also-saw-the-film, the-hype-is-overhyped, first-in-a-series
Recommended for: Absolutely no one

Here is a short list of things I find more enjoyable than reading Eragon:



Why does this book read like it was written by a fantasy-obsessed 15-year-old? Oh, nevermind... Is THAT why is has EVERY single one moth-eaten fantasy cliché???
It's like Paolini actually, in all seriousness, used Diana Wynne Jones' humorous The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as a real technical manual on how to create the Eragon universe. And the proud parents of a budding "new Tolkien", instead of proudly allowing him to read it out loud at family gatherings, decided to publish it and unleash it upon the world.

*
LEFT - the ride that this story promises to take you on. RIGHT - what you actually get.

The only way to actually enjoy Eragon is if you have never encountered a single fantasy-related story in your life (and that includes "Star Wars", by the way). Let's have a roll call for the clichés, shall we? A mysterious talented orphan/poor farm boy? Check. Dragons? Check. Elves and dwarves? Check. Stew? Check. Ancient sword? Check. The weird apostrophe-ridden names (save the protagonists, of course?) Check. A quest? Check. Hot chick Damsel in distress? Check. And it goes on and on and on... Wait, you say, maybe Paolini was deliberately paying homage to the traditions of the fantasy genre. Fine. I suppose that could explain some of it. But still, blindly and straightforwardly rehashing of the old tropes without adding much originality IS NOT OKAY, okay?

I think that the writing is immature and betrays the author's young age and lack of experience. Throughout the novel, Paolini clumsily brings our attention to anything that he considers important to the story with constant reminders and brick-sized hints. Foreshadowing should be subtle, but I don't think he quite grasps that concept. The descriptions are trying too hard to be Tolkien-like, but fail at this miserably. His attempts at creating accents and dialects are pathetic. There were quite a few instances when I had to shake my head muttering, "I don't think this word means what you think it does". The prose is stilted and quite irritating while trying to be overly pretentious.

OH, I SEE...

The characters are flat and devoid of any believable personality, with shallow and simplistic motivations that only exist to move the plot forward. The interactions between them are far-fetched and forced. The protagonist (Paolini's version of Luke Skywalker), absolutely marvelous at so many cool things with minimal training (every child's dream) is there for the reader to self-insert into the story. The deux-ex-machina bits replace so many actual solutions in this story that no amount of eyerolling would suffice. And the plot holes - the story is so full of those there's barely any plot left at all. As for the worldbuilding - well, he stuffs it with every imaginable fantasy trope, as I mentioned before. Ughhhh. And yet at the end nothing is memorable.
"Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world."
The first sentence alone should have stopped me from reading this book. I should have reorganized my sock drawer instead.
Why did I read it if I hated it, you ask? Simple answer - I was bored and this was the only book within reach. I would NOT recommend it to those who are familiar with the fantasy genre. Actually, scratch that - I would not recommend it to anyone. 1 star.
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Comments (showing 1-50 of 130) (130 new)


message 1: by Kay (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kay And that was a bitch slap, a la Nataliya.

Well done. :)


message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim Yes, very well done, Nataliya! I will steer well clear of this one.:)


Nataliya Thanks, Jim and Kay! Life is too short to read bad books, and this is definitely one of those.


message 4: by Pixelina (new)

Pixelina nice one :-D Everybody who knows me and knows I love fantasy keeps recommending this one to me and I flatly refuse to read it. While I worked in the library system I didn't even want to buy it but had to fold. Still refuse to ever read it though. And now I got a perfectly good excuse too - Nataliya told me it sucks!


Tatiyana White The only way to actually enjoy Eragon is if you have never encountered a single fantasy-related story in your life

Okay, okay...I'm guilty. You got me! Granted, I did read this when I was twelve and still believed that because oxygen is in both water in fire, when you tried to put out a fire it was brother against brother. When I labored through the rest in the trilogy/series I understood just how awful they were so maybe I should revisit this one...Hm. Anyway this was a great review Nataliya!


message 6: by Sesana (new)

Sesana It's a valuable service you do here, making sure I'll never be tempted to pick Eragon up. But this and Hush, Hush read so close together... I have to say, I'm worried. You may need a China Miéville injection.


Nataliya Tatiyana wrote: "The only way to actually enjoy Eragon is if you have never encountered a single fantasy-related story in your life

Okay, okay...I'm guilty. You got me! Granted, I did read this when I was twelve a..."


Well, you have an excuse then! Twelve is the perfectly acceptable age to enjoy this story. I mean, that's the age before abstract thinking kicks in.

Jeanette wrote: "nice one :-D Everybody who knows me and knows I love fantasy keeps recommending this one to me and I flatly refuse to read it. While I worked in the library system I didn't even want to buy it but ..."

I'm glad I saved you from reading this dreck. Loving fantasy is EXACTLY why you shouldn't read it. I can imagine how this may appeal to a fantasy-naive person (and even then, the bad writing is still there), but not to an actual fan of fantasy.


Nataliya Sesana wrote: "It's a valuable service you do here, making sure I'll never be tempted to pick Eragon up. But this and Hush, Hush read so close together... I have to say, I'm worried. You may need a China Miéville..."

Hehe. I actually read this one before reading "Hush Hush"; I just felt that it drained me of any desire to write a review until I finally decided to let the inner b*tch out.
Speaking of Miéville - I'm getting my China fix with "Iron Council". "The City and The City" and "Un Lun Dun" are next on the list. I'm so glad Miéville is a prolific author!


message 9: by Sesana (new)

Sesana I'm reading Perdido Street Station, my first full novel by him. All I can say is "wow".


message 10: by Nawfal (new)

Nawfal So........ you didn't really like it, then? Hah. Thank you for such an exuberant review. I am thankful for your honesty!


message 11: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Recommended for absolutely no one. LMAO. Hahaha


Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) God, I hate this dreck. I LOVE this review.


Nataliya Thanks, you guys! This book and review was the case when honesty and being nice would be mutually exclusive.
I think some day Paolini may remember his early effort and shudder in embarrassment.


message 14: by Mosca (new)

Mosca O my, I was going to read "The Scar" next. But I just ran across this charming fantasy with blue dragon on the cover. He is so cute! Now can't decide ;)


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim Nataliya wrote: "Thanks, you guys! This book and review was the case when honesty and being nice would be mutually exclusive.
I think some day Paolini may remember his early effort and shudder in embarrassment."


Honesty trumps being nice (almost) every time, Nataliya...

I am paraphrasing some rock star - maybe Don Henley of The Eagles - who said in an interview that 'Sometimes you get famous before you really learn how to write.'

He was describing himself, but maybe the shoe fits here?


Spider the Doof Warrior Terrible TERRIBLE BOOK. Makes me crazy. Makes me want to YELL at it and say i have bad news for you YOU ARE NOT TOLKIEN! YOUR PROSE IS PURPLER THAN BARNEY! IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE ME WANT TO SCREAM when he uses such STUPID METAPHORS!


Marts  (Thinker) Synesthesia wrote: "Terrible TERRIBLE BOOK. Makes me crazy. Makes me want to YELL at it and say i have bad news for you YOU ARE NOT TOLKIEN! YOUR PROSE IS PURPLER THAN BARNEY! IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE ME WANT TO SCREAM whe..."

Oh dear, its that bad????


Spider the Doof Warrior Yes! I hate this series so much. I tried to read the second book and it was just so painfully, yelling at the book in frustration terrible.


Nataliya Mosca wrote: "O my, I was going to read "The Scar" next. But I just ran across this charming fantasy with blue dragon on the cover. He is so cute! Now can't decide ;)"

This almost made me hyperventilate and get a hypertensive crisis ;)


Nataliya Jim - I think that really applies to this book, provided that Paolini actually learned how to write well by now. I'm not tempted to check, however.


message 21: by Jim (new)

Jim Nataliya wrote: "Jim - I think that really applies to this book, provided that Paolini actually learned how to write well by now. I'm not tempted to check, however."

Yes, I didn't know that either, and I certainly won't be checking...

And don't you just hate it when those hypertensive crises happen!? Just ruins my whole day.


Nataliya Hehe, right. Just ruins the whole day ;)


Nataliya Natasha wrote: "This book is such a total self-insertion fantasy for a little boy. Fantasize all you like, but keep it in your head. Thanks."

My thoughts exactly.


Spider the Doof Warrior ooo. Do you like Persona 4, Natasha?


message 25: by Jason (new)

Jason Koivu If this is what comes of parents who home-school and self-publish their own child, it makes me thankful for public education and professional editors/publishers.


Nataliya Jason wrote: "If this is what comes of parents who home-school and self-publish their own child, it makes me thankful for public education and professional editors/publishers."

What makes me sad is that books like this one (and that awful fanfic which I will never read - 50 Shades of Grey) are eventually getting picked up by professional publishers who want to cash in on the unexpected success.


message 27: by j (last edited May 17, 2012 12:20PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

j I'm so glad Miéville is a prolific author!

sadly, you'll be finished with those 10 books all too soon, especially at the rate you're going.

luckily he publishes a new one every may.


Spider the Doof Warrior Yes. this makes me want to commit seppuku, but instead I WILL WRITE SOME NOVELS!


message 29: by Nataliya (last edited May 17, 2012 12:38PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Nataliya Joel wrote: "I'm so glad Miéville is a prolific author!

sadly, you'll be finished with those 10 books all too soon, especially at the rate you're going.

luckily he publishes a new one every may."


Only 10? For some reason I thought there were more. I guess all the short stories and essays that have been surfacing now have given me a fasle sense of security about never-ending Mieville-goodness. Still, 10 is plenty. For now.


message 30: by j (new) - rated it 1 star

j i still have three to read -- iron council, king rat, and his book of short stories -- but i am spacing them out. though i will probably be done before the end of the year.

(i can't believe i made a your/you're typo... then your quoting of me preserved it nicely. d'oh.)


Nataliya Joel wrote: "i still have three to read -- iron council, king rat, and his book of short stories -- but i am spacing them out. though i will probably be done before the end of the year.

(i can't believe i made..."


I'm racking up karma points by editing your typo in the quote in my post :D


message 32: by j (new) - rated it 1 star

j what typo? i don't see any typo. who made a typo.


Nataliya Joel wrote: "what typo? i don't see any typo. who made a typo."

Right ;)


Jonathan You got me too but then I accept these as bad books compared to the other fantasy fare I appreciate. And yes I also started these a while back - but truth be told I'm known for liking works of fiction which are incredibly clichéd and which are bad. Perhaps for me the fact that they are comparatively bad reflects against other works of fiction... Or maybe I just appreciate authors putting out something they thought was fine when everyone classes it as bad. I'll simply say that I'm a master of contradictory double-think and that this is a great review.


Nataliya Thanks, Jonathan.
I've read plenty of bad books and almost enjoyed them for their badness - a literary Twinkie, as someone online has said once. Case in point - I've read the Twilight series. But this one somehow did not manage to cross the line from bad to so bad that it's actually enjoyable.


Jonathan Every so often when I've composed my literary diet of the protein of the classic canon and modern artists I go back and read bad, pulpy or more juvenile work just for a break in pattern. But everyone will enjoy those works differently. What I love about this review is how you tear down the book in such a fun way (the picture comparisons are great).


Nataliya Thanks! I'm a very visual person, so I tend to think in pictures, so I tend to always stick some in my reviews.


Jonathan I'm not as much visual as very word oriented (where I make my own pictures in my mind) but I do appreciate a nice visual every so often.


message 39: by Carol. (new)

Carol. Bonus 'like' for the Princess Bride reference. ;)


message 40: by Danielle (new) - added it

Danielle Bradford Some people don't appreciate a good and exciting story.


Nataliya Danielle wrote: "Some people don't appreciate a good and exciting story."

Well, you can't possibly be referring to me here since in my opinion this story was neither good nor exciting.


message 43: by Carol. (new)

Carol. Nataliya wrote: "Well, you can't possibly be referring to me here since in my opinion this story was neither good nor exciting."

*giggle*


message 44: by Jason (new)

Jason Nataliya wrote: "Well, you can't possibly be referring to me here since in my opinion this story was neither good nor exciting."

Best. retort. EVAR!


message 45: by Trudi (new)

Trudi *snicker*

Nataliya -- telling it like it is. I could come to love this side of you. But then you'd have to start reading a lot of really shitty books, and I would not wish that on you my friend. Not for a moment.


Nataliya Hehe, thanks, guys!

@Trudi - I've been really lucky to not read too many awful books lately. They do result in fun reviews, but the hours spent in wading my way through them are lost forever!


message 47: by Insert (new)

Insert Name This is exactly what I thought about Eragon :)


Nataliya Insert wrote: "This is exactly what I thought about Eragon :)"

Great minds think alike ;)


message 49: by Ceecee (new) - added it

Ceecee i really can't resist reading your reviews. haha
i forgot about this book until i saw it in the feeds. i barely finished the first 3 pages. so i guess i didn't make a mistake after all. :D


Nataliya Ceecee wrote: "i really can't resist reading your reviews. haha
i forgot about this book until i saw it in the feeds. i barely finished the first 3 pages. so i guess i didn't make a mistake after all. :D"


Thanks, Ceecee! That's what the reviews are for ;)
And I agree - you did not make a mistake and you definitely did not miss out on anything worthwhile.


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