Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Kloke, Jul 4, 2008.
Is anybody into the Inheritence Cycle books?
Nah we like good books. Not drivel.
And we all liked star wars/lotr/Dragonriders of pern...etc. first time round
I havnt heard of them, whats the author, synopsis etc
That sounds about right.
Ok, I don't want to be argumentative with my first post here, but cut the kid some slack. I cant stand how everyone is always complaining that every fantasy story ever written is copying someone else's work. I'm sure lotr is copying from the epic of gilgamesh and star wars is from the bible, or maybe the iliad.
So the kids got a mentor? Yea, what a terrible start to a fantasy novel. Eragon is like Aragorn? Its also one letter from dragon, d to e, the first dragon rider. Lets cut the kid some slack.
Now that said, the story, while original enough, does kinda suck. And the writing is medicore. But for a 16 year old kid it kicks ass, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he produces in the future. My opinion anyway.
I agree, Soul. And I'm ashamed to say that when I want something totally shallow - and only then - I do read Inheritance.
The guy has money though. It's because people love reading the same stuff. They want more of it. They know LOTR so they look around for something similar... Oh, look! the Inheritence Cycle! It has elves and drawfs... and dragons, too!
Soul, I agree that it is impossible not to copy a previous idea, but Paolini did it so blatantly that it hurts.
Maybe he knew that people would buy the book because he took ideas from good stories and put them all together. Maybe he just wanted to make money.
Also, if so many people 'loooooooooooove' his story, you have to respect that. It sells, so there's demand.
I read the first book, and it was ...difficult to remember. I was impressed that a 16y/o wrote it, but I had and have no interest in reading any of the other books. My question about Paolini is this: when you have such huge success in a solitary endeavor like writing at such a young age - and let's face it, a big part of his success had to do with the whole I-can't-believe-he's-only-16 schtick - does it stunt your future growth? He isn't Mozart or a muscial/math savant, and I will be curious to see where he goes with his writing after he gets he completes Inheritence. Will he go for broke and try to do something different, maybe a different genre, or will he just churn out more adolescent fantasies?
If paolini went the proper route. I.e to Orbit or Tor. And not published it on his mommy and daddys printing press Eragon would not exist as it does today. It would have in all likleyhood been rejected.
And Sorry soul. But its not original enough. Its a blatent copy of other works. And is only considered original enough by those not well read in fantasy.
The fact that the synopsis is exactly the same as Star wars but with Dragons instead of droids should be a hint.
Its not original. Never has been original and never will be.
The proper route? There are many good works that have been rejected by publishers. I can tell you that if nobody accepted my MS and I would have parents with a publishing firm I would go that way, too. The proper route differs from person to person.
I understand that.
But he went to parents first. And they published it no questions
I am actually not quite sure if his parents owned a publishing firm prior to his achievement, or if they simply 'made' one after they had decided to self-publish his work, but I'm too lazy to check that out.
The author started the book at 16 and finished at 18, I believe. Oh, and the books are horrid.
His parents jobs were publishers before hand, which is why he was actually published.
I gotta say, I rarely thought of Star Wars while I was reading the first book. I guess the power of the dragons would be like the force? Rescuing a captive girl, again, that is a pretty typical storyline. Maybe somebody should try to do lotr in a sci-fi environment; give em some blasters and light sabers and let em go wild. Might be a big seller.
So I did enjoy reading the first book. Didn't read the second as the story got off course from traditional fantasy, and I enjoy traditional fantasy. Roran fighting off the Ra'zac? Kinda detracts from Eragon's accomplishments...
Its amazing how popular it was to start, and that came largely from the book tours the family did when they first released the book. They personally scheduled library and school readings for a grass roots movement; incredible. The people spoke and eventually he got picked up by a big publisher. I don't think his parents had been successful publishing before that.
It doesn't matter which way you paint it Eragon and Eldest is poorly and over written and un original.
Yea alright, I'm not going to argue too much. But it was fun watching the kid come into his own (both of the kids really), and also, there was an old feeling of morality that is underappreciated and not seen too much of now a days. What can I say, I was bored and I liked it.
Haha, I laughed so hard at this post. So true!
Paolini switches the D in dragon to E, and calls his superhero Eragon, and he figures it's very clever of him. Seriously, why didn't he pick Cragon?
Let me tell you something: I'm turning sixteen in four days, and I can say for a fact that what I write is not nearly as derivative as his -- and this is not meant to be arrogant or anything, I just look at my work and his work and make my decision.
Okay I think we're being a bit unfair here.
Does Eragon's plot follow that of Starwars fairly closely? Certainly it does. Are the "standard issue" fantasy races all present and correct? Oh yeah. Has Paolini done anything particularly interesting or new with them? Not really, [though for shere refinement of stereotypical dwarf environments I'll give him the mountain stronghold at the end of Eragon. I have rarely seen a fortress so tricked out.] Is Eragon a standard chosen one with a mark on his body denoting him as such, as legions of heroes have been before him? Yep. [In fact, I believe Eragon's mark is on his palm, and is sometimes described in terms similar to Belgarion's marking in the Belgariad / Malloreon. Copying much?] And yet many stories use similar plot structures. Perhaps it is fair to rag on Paolini a little for the shere extent to which we think his story's derivative, [and I do think there's a difference between "done before" and "derivative", I just think the definition is different for each of us and believe some people are too quick to call foul.] But what it really comes down to is that a lot of us just plain don't think this well-worn story is given a good showing in the Inheritance novels. It's not that its unoriginal, -- it's that its just plain not good.
I am among this group. I would be fine with a traditional fantasy tale, -- I love them, in fact. But the characters and plot just don't hold up in these novels so far as I'm concerned. I've seen a lot worse than Eragon: the characters weren't that deep, but a couple of them had potential. [I'm thinking particularly here of Eragon's mentor's destiny to fail at every task in his life but one.] The dragon was basically cool, and there were some fun adventure sections. I actually enjoyed the book the first time through, but I was relying on Paolini to up his game a level or two in Eldest and he just doesn't. Eldest is so bad I swear it makes the first book worse retroactively, [mostly by making clear that many of the flaws in Eragon were not first novel blues, but honest-to-evilness writing defects only waiting to spring into full and awful flower.] The coming of age plot descends into trite absurdity and is boring. [Eragon shaves himself. Yay for Eragon.] A quite indefensible bit of plotting has a major character disappear from the scene in chapter one only to return as a villain in the final pages, with no point-of-view time with him to go through the process and trauma of his fall. The failed romance sequences read like they were ghost-written by George Lucas on a bad day and range from physically painful to impossible to read. The pace is glacial in the extreme, and Eragon spends the majority of the novel in a boring place learning boring things. Someone mentioned Rorin's, [Eragon's non-superpowered cousin], plot-thread being what drove them away from Eldest, and I find this perplexing, as his sections are the only thing that stopped me from flinging the book. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying they're good -- they're just a lot lot lot less bad.
I know this post is long already, but I'd like to take a moment to explore a couple particular things about Eldest: By no means did I study fan response to the book on-line, but I did come across one or two negative comments on a specific subject. "Well, yes", you say, "because the book is rubbish". Actually no that wasn't what people were getting upset about. Okay, so for any who don't know there's this character in Inheritance whose an elf woman. And Eragon has fallen in love with this elf woman like the good little chosen one that he is. And, in a stroke of realism unusual in Inheritance, the hundred-year-old, sober-with-experience elf maid isn't interested. Quite uninterested, in fact. And this seems to upset some fans. It's as though they expect this poor character to go all googly-eyed and start confessing her love whenever Eragon walks into a room. I find this expectation, -- a sort of reliance on predetermined plotlines, -- disturbing. I'm really starting to understand why Diana Wynne Jones wrote The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. It's as though some readers are beginning to take certain overused character types and plot elements as signifiers leading directly to the signifieds represented by specific conclusions or outcomes. Hmm, we could diverge into the semiotics of popular fantasy at this juncture, but this probably isn't the place.
Note that Eldest does not as closely mirror The Empire Strikes Back as Eragon does A New Hope, and this is seriously to its detriment. Yes Eragon goes to learn from an old master as does Luke, but Eragon's training lasts a whooooole lot longer and this loses the book a lot of narrative momentum. Where Empire is punchy, fast-moving, and rough on its heroes, Eldest is slow as they come, renders both heroes and villains, [dear god, the cardboard mockeries used for villains!], shallower than previously as opposed to deeper, and throws virtually no curveballs of any kind at all in its 700 pages.
So basically I don't think going after Paolini because we think him cliche is fair, or at least not by itself. Go after him because you think the material isn't good, and perhaps incorporate how totally derivative you find his work into that critique. But cliches by themselves do not a bad book make, and I think we should focus on them less when critiquing this series. Is Paolini's reliance on previous plots, and his obvious freeze-up when forced to plot without a guideline, a problem? Most definitely, but the problems go deeper, I think.
Also, however bad we think the books are, he has finished them and got them published. He is a writer under twenty-five, he has written a series of books, they are coherent, they are on store shelves and a lot of people love them very much. I personally find that more than a little amazing, and I think that anyone else who has had a go at writing an extended piece will too.
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