Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Enthralling, Forworn Tale of Eragon

The Enthralling, Forworn Tale of Eragon

Christopher Paolini, the author of The Inheritance Cycle, is a New York Time's Best-selling author. He gained his claim to fame with Eragon, which he originally drafted at 16. Almost a year ago, he published the last of the four book series, the final of which was named Inheritance.


Eragon, although a sophomoric tale of the protagonist, Eragon, was an interesting read by an author so young. Paolini took his love for literature, and fantasy in particular, as inspiration with this book, and of course, the series as a whole.

The first book showed many signs of Star Wars. (I should probably cite my sources, but you can either peruse Wikipedia, articles in print or on the web, or read the books yourself. I will do my best only to stake claims from reputable sources I have read, as well as those that I believe to be true -- it is up to you, the reader, whether or not to believe them.) Is it bad to love Star Wars? Some may say so, but that's not the point, here. And, of course, I don't say whether it's wrong to use, subconsciously or intentionally, inspiration from the stories one loves. As I have mentioned in previous posts, as well as Kyle, it is nigh impossible to create a genuine story anymore.

Had Eragon been written with less childish diction, though, perhaps the writing would have been able to stamp out some of the claims that Paolini had only re-stamped his name on certain stories.

Eldest, the second book, only gave more fire to the plagiarism claims. There are many implied and informal references to popular stories, both in literature, as well as film. Even so, I was not bothered by that so much because there were still cases of the realm Paolini had developed where originality and quality writing broke through. He began to find his way in this book, I believe. In the end, though, I found the book to be longer than it should have been. However, at 19 years old when I read it (and having not read an enormous amount of fiction), I wasn't yet bothered by the hefty book.

Brisingr, the third book, was supposed to be the final one, but Paolini laid down the law and promised he would be able to finish the series in four. He said that he made the story larger than he'd anticipated, and thus one more would be the most appropriate way to conclude it. This book took a leaf from Eldest, such that it showed Paolini's best effort in terms of creativity so far. His most avid readers, though, were able to see through certain mysteries (Eragon's true father, for instance). After I had time reflect upon the story, and discuss it with my bro-in-law, we both had come to the conclusion that it was long and that the characters had seemed to dredge on about Galbatorix this and Galbatorix that, as if the reader was not painfully aware of by now whom the major villain was. As far as adding in the Drwarves political affairs...well...that only added to the length.

Inheritance, the final book, is where most mysteries come to an end. Much like Eldest and Brisingr, though, I found it to be far too long. You may not feel the same way. Paolini was able to take his creativity and passion even further into places I didn't know he could go. However, while reading this book particularly, I became frustrated and weary as I continued on. Some chapters were amazing, while others felt pointless. I felt that Paolini never learned how not to describe something in its entirety. There are just too many words, and not enough braincells to take it all in even three times in some places. It is a shame because the story is quite entertaining overall, if given the time to read and time to reflect. The actual ending wore me down. A few parts sparked my interest, but overall I was already so worn-down by the book and series as a whole that I continued to read nearly just to finish it.

Let me state this once: Christopher Paolini is a very talented author.

Did his editors give him too much room? I believe so. He was a popular author who made Knopf of course they only gave it enough to make it readable and as relevant to the reader and story as possible.

Paolini showed major strengths in writing multiple POVs. That was also one of his greater weaknesses as a creative author; sometimes we just need to move on with the story, without directly involving another important character where the author feels it is absolutely necessary.

The ending was quite pleasant, which I supposed shouldn't have surprised me. I say that because by the time the book had ended, most of the copy-cat lines people had stated about the work, at least in my mind (since I haven't read all of fantasy), were not nearly as important to the work as they said. He made it his own, and that is something of which to be proud.

Would I recommend the series to someone else? It depends on their taste. Is it a waste to read? No. Does it bring anything divine to the world? You be the judge.

I love the Harry Potter books. Book 5 was too long, but even so, after having read it many times, I still the love the dang thing, even if I might skip some paragraphs now and then. Would I re-read The Inheritance Cycle? Tough call; only time will tell.


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