Jinny's Reviews > Eragon

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
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's review
Jun 08, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: adventure-fantasy, epic-fantasy, fantasy, garbage
Recommended for: no one

I remember eight or nine years ago, seeing this book everywhere in bookshops and there was the movie and everything too. I didn’t get around to reading it then, but I picked it up now because I know someone who likes this series so when I saw it, by chance, at the library, I decided to take it out.

An elf named Arya is trying to smuggle a dragon’s egg to a safe location, away from the evil Empire. When it seems they are about to catch her, she uses magic to make the egg appear leagues away, in front of a boy named Eragon, who thinks he’s found a polished blue stone. Eragon is a realtively normal fifteen year old kid, living on a farm, but his life is turned upside down when he realizes the Empire is trying to find this mysterious stone (that he later realizes is a dragon’s egg). After the Empire burns down his farm, killing his uncle in the process, Eragon flees while vowing to get revenge. He is found by an old storyteller named Brom, who turns out not to be who he is — he is actually part of an ancient order of Riders, men who had dragons and rode the skies protecting the land. With Brom on his side, Eragon journeys to where he believes the killers are, while being taught swordplay and magic.

There’s more, but if you haven’t noticed by now, you just read the basic plot of Star Wars: Episode IV. The rest of the book is also quite similar to the ending of Star Wars, but since I didn’t want to give away “spoilers”, I didn’t continue describing the plot (which is, I know, silly, if you already know the plot of Star Wars).

Eragon is written by then-teenager Christopher Paolini, and all I can say is that it really shows. I couldn’t stand the writing and I’m certain there was some thesaurus abuse. He over-describes everything, every room, every piece of clothing, every action. This also applies to the general story: every little action was described. He doesn’t take advantage of the fact that words can make the passing of time go much faster or slower — you’re just stuck with Eragon the whole time in everything he does. An entire chapter is devoted to describing an eventless trip through the desert, which I think could have been summed up in a paragraph, if not a sentence or two. I remember there was a scene where Eragon is talking to someone, mentions he’s feeling a little grimy from all his traveling, so he goes takes a bath, and comes back to resume the conversation. I mean, really? Did you have to insert a bath scene right then? It didn’t add anything to the story at all. It was utterly pointless.

The characters were rather boring. Eragon started out bland and one dimensional, and as the story continued, I actually started disliking him. Other characters scraped by with maybe two character traits. For the majority of the book, the characters were very evenly split into good guys versus bad guys, with no gray area. Such black and white characters. There was a little bit of an attempt to give Durza, one of the main villains, a sympathizing back story near the very end of the novel, but it was done rather clumsily and hastily, so it didn’t really work. As for the races, they were incredibly cliche: elegant, beautiful and wise elves; short, strong, hardy dwarves; young, ambitious humans. Yeah.

Move along, nothing new here.

I’ve no doubt that the author put lots of time and effort into this book, as all authors do, and I don’t think the similarities to Star Wars are intentional, but I can’t help but wonder how this book became as popular as it did. My overall experience with Eragon was cringe-worthy. I spent the last 200-ish pages wondering why this story just won’t end. I definitely have no interest in continuing this series.

(This review is also posted at http://skyink.net).

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Reading Progress

June 8, 2011 – Started Reading
June 8, 2011 – Shelved
June 13, 2011 –
page 160
June 13, 2011 –
page 208
June 15, 2011 – Shelved as: adventure-fantasy
June 15, 2011 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
June 15, 2011 – Shelved as: fantasy
June 15, 2011 – Finished Reading
August 18, 2011 – Shelved as: garbage

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