This series really isn't anywhere near as bad as it is often made out to be. The hatred directed at it is more the result of a trend, if anything else. People with a lowered tolerance for the common archetypes of fantasy are angry with the author for taking too much inspiration from their favorite series, and use that as an excuse to criticize every point that can be criticized and be much harsher than they would be to other series. Is it derivative? It's traditional fantasy, in every sense of the word, and is built out of the tropes of the genre played straight. I really can't say it any clearer than that. It's probably at the same level of what you'd expect from "The Sword of Shannara" or "The Belgariad." It is not copied word for word, even if it is formed from the same skeleton as these other works. The criticism that the Inheritance Cycle draws is mostly due to either bitterness excerberating criticism and accentuation of the negative, or people jumping on the Hate Dumb bandwagon and letting others' opinions think for them. Most of the fans are hardly any better, being convinced that Paolini is Tolkien and swallowing every aspect of the story completely. Is it perfect? No, there are actual problems here, but more in the spirit of small annoyances that could have been fixed with another draft. Eragon and Saphira are boring and unlikeable protagonists, but Murtagh, Roran, Arya, Katrna, and several others are all interesting characters. It's interesting to read a fantasy series that is based in a mountainous Norse-based landscape, not a temperature European one, and the Hate Dumb complaints about geography fails are ridiculous. Paolini has talent as an author and could create some really good literature once he moves away from the hyper-traditional High Fantasy and writes some other things; it's too bad idiots keep fudging and misinterpreting his quotes in order to tell other people that he compared himself to Tolkien, downtalked J.K. Rowling, or other bull. My best advice is to read this series on its own merits and don't let others tell you what you should think about it, probably including myself. If you don't like first book, then put it down and move on to something else. If you enjoy it, as many people do, then good for you.
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