I groaned and snarked about Eragon, the first book in the series, before I even read it. Part of it came from my overall dislike of the High Fantasy genre (although I'm just fine with other types of fantasy), but most of it came from the fact that I was still kind of bitter because I hadn't been able to write anything coherent yet, despite my wildest efforts, and this punk gets a wild hair up his ass one day and shits out a New York Times bestseller. I ignored it and talked smack about it for a while, until one day I decided to put my money where my mouth is and read the darn thing, if only so my whining would be justified. And, you know what? I was totally right. The book is crap. Pretentious, derivative crap. However, it's not nearly, nearly as bad as most of the haters would like you to believe. The flow of the storyline is competently assembled, albeit lifted almost wholesale from Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, and the interaction between several characters (most notably between Brom and whatever incidental two-bit player happens to waddle onto the scene at the time, but rarely between him and anyone actually important) is pretty darned good. However, that marks the end of the good things I can say about Eragon. Let's talk about the main character himself, for instance; he's pretty much the Middle Earth equivalent of an Ali G, a snippy, well-to-do white kid who hangs out at the mall thinking he's gangsta. I guarantee that if you knew this guy in real life, you'd be smacking him upside the head at least three times a day. The villains are non-entities, even the ones that do show up, and the other heroes are bland when they aren't being obnoxious (looking at you, here, Arya). Oh, and another thing. This book reeks of immature, teenage sexuality. And not ordinary, run-of-the-mill sexuality, either. We're talking Internet sexuality here. The scene wherein Eragon lusts after the badly battered body of a freshly rescued Arya cannot pass without mention, nor can a scene where Eragon ask the dragon Saphira, "Can I ride you?" This may be one of the book's clumsiest aspects. It tries very, very hard not ot be a kid's book, and on this count at least, it fails. All in all, pretty bad, but hopefully So Bad Its Good.
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