Quick review on Christropher Paolini's Eragon that I wrote for school.
February 09, 2006

Christopher Paolini himself has called his utter travesty of a fantasy novel Eragon an “archetypal hero story,” but that doesn’t even begin to do it justice. To call it archetypal is a gross understatement; it’s more along the lines of nauseatingly generic, although even that barely scratches the surface. It may be true that there’s no such thing as a truly unique story and that all fantasy is derivative and so on and so forth, but Eragon doesn’t even try. It distills every last stereotype of the fantasy genre and jumbles them together into such a mind-numbingly formulaic product that Paolini must have written the book with a “Top 100 Fantasy Clichés” checklist at hand – but even that wouldn’t necessarily condemn it if it were in the hands of a skillful author. A special flair is required to take that sort of unoriginality and turn it into something readable, and Paolini just doesn’t have it. Never does he offer a refreshing take on the grossly overdone story elements he incorporates. Never does the book deviate from a straight, predictable, and ultimately very boring path.

Eragon is a simple orphan boy with a mysterious past who has been chosen by Destiny! When his small backwater village is tragically torched by random evil lackeys, he swears revenge and embarks on a noble and righteous quest to rid the world of its obligatory evil overlord. Accompanying him are his faithful pet dragon, Saphira, and the mysterious old man Brom, who despite knowing everything about the plot never tells Eragon anything, because he, um, doesn’t feel like it or something. Along the way, Eragon encounters elves, dwarves, orcs Urgals, and other members of Tolkien’s menagerie, as well as many bad guys to be slain and elf maidens to be rescued.

Everything in Eragon has been done before, and it’s been done much, much better. It’s been done in every other fantasy novel ever published, except without the clumsy, heavy-handed storytelling with its completely transparent plot twists, two-dimensional characters, and poor pacing. It’s been done without the amateurish writing, the constant stylistic mistakes, and the overabundance of linguistic clichés (single tears rolling down cheeks “like liquid diamonds,” etc.). Poor writing can be mitigated by good ideas, but since Paolini has neither, the experience is not merely dull: it’s painful, really, truly painful. If Paolini’s parents hadn’t owned the publishing house that first put Eragon into print, this putrid piece of trash would have been flat-out rejected by any sober editor, no questions asked. With the way the book doesn’t come anywhere close to meeting the standards of the publishing industry, it should come as no surprise that Paolini wrote it as a teenager. You can tell. You really can.


[Note: The review has been edited and about 100 words were added. I was originally trying to keep it brief because it was already far longer than my teacher wanted, but I decided I was going to fully develop my ideas and length be damned.]

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Genj Genj - February 09, 2006 (07:46 PM)
janus janus - February 10, 2006 (02:52 AM)
Did you read the sequel? That had a nice cover, too.
viridian_moon viridian_moon - February 10, 2006 (04:19 AM)
No, but I'd do it for $20...

However, I have no intention of subjugating myself to that agony unless someone pays me to do so!
lasthero lasthero - February 10, 2006 (05:22 AM)
[Insert joke about pain here that Blu will no doubt twist into some sort of S&M thing about me]
overdrive overdrive - February 10, 2006 (06:45 AM)
Hmmm.....listening to Agalloch.....I can dig that. You gain five Overdrive coolness points.

I didn't really read the rest of this entry......it's Lazy Friday for me......
viridian_moon viridian_moon - February 10, 2006 (03:30 PM)
Agalloch is pretty spiffy, although I must admit I'm not a fan of the vocalist -- which is one reason I really like "The Misshapen Steed," as it's an instrumental. I generally don't like harsh vocals, though.
EmP EmP - February 11, 2006 (06:01 AM)
Any music that finds its way into VMs collection becomes crap by defualt. No exceptions.
lasthero lasthero - February 11, 2006 (07:06 AM)
Not true! She took my awesome advice and put the Devil's Cry from DMC3 in there. That song can't help but rock.
EmP EmP - February 11, 2006 (02:28 PM)
Now it sucks.
bluberry bluberry - February 13, 2006 (08:39 AM)
If you like Agalloch, OD, you should definitely check out Ulver's first album Bergtatt. I'd tell VM but she'd check it out in like 2019.
microvision microvision - February 13, 2006 (10:32 AM)
The Devil's Cry? Never heard of it. But if it's on DMC3...I'm assuming I've heard it. Is there a soundtrack to the game or something?
lasthero lasthero - February 13, 2006 (11:50 AM)
The Devil's Cry is that song that plays during the opening cinema.


That one. Probably not what it actually says, but that's what it sounds like.
Genj Genj - February 13, 2006 (06:10 PM)
You crazy kids and your unknown music.
lasthero lasthero - February 13, 2006 (06:47 PM)
I'm sorry, who's that as your avatar? Some random douche with a guitar?
Genj Genj - February 13, 2006 (06:59 PM)
They're monkeys. I don't know why you're talking about a guitar.
bluberry bluberry - February 14, 2006 (02:38 PM)
Yeah, I thought it was his massive cock. Oh well.
johnny_cairo johnny_cairo - February 18, 2006 (03:07 PM)
Speaking of massive cocks, my slsk queue keeps getting longer and longer.
viridian_moon viridian_moon - February 19, 2006 (08:14 AM)
Mine doesn't. I have The Internet of the Gods...or at least I do compared to Booberry. Hahaha!
fighter86 fighter86 - March 06, 2006 (11:08 PM)
Sorry to disagree, but nothing ViridianMoon likes could suck.
zero86 zero86 - March 07, 2006 (05:54 PM)
This book sucked i could hardly read it front to back.
zero86 zero86 - March 07, 2006 (05:55 PM)
zero86 zero86 - March 07, 2006 (05:56 PM)
Very funy. No really
zero86 zero86 - March 07, 2006 (06:02 PM)
Genj Genj - April 17, 2006 (05:12 PM)
wolfqueen001 wolfqueen001 - July 22, 2006 (09:59 PM)
Am I the only one who actually liked it or something? I mean, Ok, sure. I'll admit that a lot of what he did is cliché, but still, I liked how he put it together. I still found it thrilling - I couldn't help but keep reading.

But don't get the idea I haven't read good books - i have - but maybe I'm not good at picking out bad writing like you guys. I don't know, or maybe I can just enjoy a book for what it has - or doesn't have.

As for the LotR connections, doesn't almost every book have some aspect of Tolkien's work in it? I mean, really, it's almost impossible not to take something from it - even if it's unintentional. I mean, look at DragonLance. You can't tell me that's a bad book just because it took a few creature ideas. Of course, I'm not one to support plagiarism, but Tolkien's works were so influential, that what they did to fantasy was like what Einstein did to physics. If I can make that comparison.

Oh, and VM... just for the record, Brom didn't tell Eragon everything he knew because he felt he wasn't ready. >_> At least it's a better reason than "because he felt like it". LoL.

Well, there's my argument.. I guess I'm the lone wolf in this crowd... Ah, well.

...wish I knew how to italicize on this site... Is it just like Gamefaqs?
lasthero lasthero - August 02, 2006 (05:17 PM)
Yeah, you italicize just like GF.

And, for the record, you're not the only person who loved the book. My friend loves it, too; in fact, he was the one who originally got me to read it.
silverishness silverishness - November 01, 2006 (06:56 AM)
I found it mediocre. I mean, How good of a writer can you be at 15? He should have kept the rough, and then, when he was older and more mature, he should have re-written it. The second book is much better than the first, but faster-paced, I think.

And as far as bad writing goes, it sounded like a fan fiction. For a novel on its own, that's pretty bad.

And Brom not telling Eragon because he felt he "wasn't ready" is, sadly, also cliche.

....Plus the fact that Eragon's name is only one letter away from being "Dragon".

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