|Submitted by Anonymous |
(May 24, 2006)
Eragon is...okay. It's by no means a great book but isn't so mind-joltingly terrible that you'll be wanting to gouge your eyeballs out with a spork. If you've got absolutely nothing better to do it's a pretty decent read. I did find myself getting bored with it rather a lot, but it doesn't jump out to me and scream 'terrible book.'
However, there are some problems with it that should lead the discerning reader to pick something better. The story follows the exact same recipe we've seen everywhere before - backwoods ordinary kid discovers that he's actually a special hero so then he has to save the world. Throw in a dragon, a wise old mentor, an evil baddie, add some elves for good measure, stir thoroughly, bake at 350 degrees and voila! One fantasy novel.
That's not to say following a formula is bad - many good books do follow a typical fantasy formula. However, the key to doing that and still having a good book at the end of it is to have excellent writing and some original twists.
The writing in Eragon is not bad, but it's not great either. The style is relatively simplistic with a few obscure adjectives thrown in here or there - on the whole, it could have been much worse. What really got me, though, was the dialogue. It will feel quite familiar to anyone who's ever played an RPG video game - I was half-expecting someone to say, 'Press A to attack.'
The story stuck to the standard recipe with no departure from the formula, and was thoroughly predictable. Paolini is clearly trying to emulate some of the great fantasy authors with his work, but unfortunately his level of writing is nowhere near theirs yet, and he hasn't yet learned to add his own orignial take to a well-known storyline.
If you've got time to kill (perhaps in an airport, or on a car trip) this book wouldn't be so bad. If you're someone who's just getting started on fantasy books and don't quite feel up to tackling Tolkien yet, there are many books to start out with that are a lot worse than this one, so it couldn't hurt to pick it up. If you've got some relatively older kids and want to give them something to read it's not really a baaad choice.
If you're looking for the Next Great Fantasy Novel, however, you should probably give this one a pass.