Also known as “The-Lord-of-the-Rings-Star-Wars-Belgariad-Doctor-Who-If-It’s-Fantasy-And-Published-It’s-In-Here-Somewhere” Book
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away my Little Brother told me about a book called Eragon. Staring a farm boy named Eragon who found a magical dragon egg and became a Dragon Rider. Of course Eragon lives in a fantasy world ruled by an Evil Dark Lord and only Eragon can defeat him. You know, the usual stuff.
I’ve been trying to write this Review for a while now, but it’s been difficult. I think the major problem is that I have been trying to write a spoiler free review, like I usually write. Given the nature of these books I think I’m going to have to give up on my usual format.
From here on, there will be spoilers:
When I finished reading the third book in the Inheritance Cycle, I vowed to myself that I would finish this series even if it killed me. My logic was that I had already fought my way through 1,934 pages… I might as well see this to the very bitter end. I might as well find out how the story ended… maybe this was going to be that one series where the author pulls a fast one and the villain will win. Honestly, if that was how it ended this series would have been worth the uphill climb. But Paolini isn’t one to break tradition.
I have a few theories why this book didn’t work out so well.
Sitting at a whopping 849 pages, Inheritance is one of the larger books that I have ever read.. but it doesn’t really need to be. Lets take for example, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Each of the books in that series is around 600-800 pages long, yet the length works. Something is always happening. There are no tangents, every sentence is part of a well oiled machine that serves a purpose. In the case of Inheritance, the novel goes off on tangents that aren’t vital at all. They could be completely cut out and it wouldn’t even be noticeable that they were missing. If you were to takeBrisingr for example, stuff happens at the beginning, then there are 600 pages of padding then something at the end. In the case of Inheritance, the book meanders around for a while eventually leading to Eragon to face off with Galbitorax in one of the most anti-climactic endings ever.
Looking back at Eragon and Eldest, I’m not sure if they suffered from the same problem as the last two. It’s been years since I read them and I really have no interest to go back and try them again. Maybe I’m being a little too hard here. The thing is I just don’t care.
LETS TALK ABOUT ERAGON AS A CHARACTER
The biggest question that needs to be asked is what makes a likeable character? For me I would say it is complexity. When I think of the books I love with a passion, the characters who inhabit them are mutli-dimensional. They’re more than a stereotype, you can believe that they could exist in the real world (personality-wise). Not to say there are certain books that I love where the characters are stereotypes, but that’s a topic for another day. When you break down Eragon’s character he is lacking flaws. He suffers from the Richard Cypher Syndrome. Since he is the Protagonist, he has to be awesome. He just works so hard to be so awesome you just have to love him. But you don’t. Eragon is completely unrelate-able to his readers. He goes through NO CHARACTER development in THE ENTIRE NOVEL. You just don’t care what he does. The weight of the entire world is supposed to be on this boy’s shoulders, but that stress and (I can just hear the fangirls screaming and sharpening the pitchforks) the pressure doesn’t seem to effect him at all, other than him mentioning once in while that the job seems so hard. He doesn’t suffer though, in fact he leaves the army and his advisors behind to go and do other stuff. I mean REALLY?
THREE GOOD CHAPTERS?
Surprisingly yes, there were three good chapters. About one third into the book, Eragon and friends are captured by a religious cult that worships the Raz’ac. I guess it’s my fascination with cults and black magic portrayed in books… but these chapters were actually interesting. Or maybe it was because Eragon did seem like he was actually in a bit of trouble during these sequences. As I mentioned in the character section, you get so used to Eragon being awesome and always able to save himself… and here he is… screwed. Of course Eragon is able to escape. But you just kind of hope he doesn’t.
FUTURISTIC STUFF EXPLAINED IN MAGICAL TERMS (LIKE BOMBS)
So, I think this was what my biggest issue was. Eragorn, Saphira and Glaedr travel to Vroengard Island where the Dragon Riders used to reside. Unbeknowest to them it is now a severely dangerous place. During the battle with the Foresworn, one of the elves cast a spell that caused him to explode. But wait, there is more this explosion caused a sickness to spread across the land… for things to change… to mutate.. for people to get sick… and it left a crater.
Are you catching my drift? The Elf went nuclear and there was RADIATION. But because this is a fantasy book… that can’t be said. This just bugged me to no end. I don’t really know exactly why. It felt to forced? It seemed like a cop-out? I’m not exactly sure.
But this ties into the ending.
KILLING WITH LOVE: MAKE YOUR EVIL OVERLORD GO NUCLEAR IN TEN EASY STEPS!
So, we have all been waiting for this moment. Eragon and Galbatorix have to have their epic face off. This is it, the most epic battle of the century and Galibatorix pretty much wipes the group out with one foul swoop. You see, our Evil Overlord has figured out the name of the Ancient Language, none of Eragorn and Co.’s magic can touch him. At this point it feels like the book has hit a wall. How can Eragon get around this one? Well somehow Murtaugh has found out the name too and he saves everyone. Then Eragon is able to cast a spell to make Galbatorix feel EVERY EMOTION EVER. But mainly love.
Yes. It’s happened. This is a book that kills the villain with love. I’m seriously having flashbacks to my childhood and the Care Bears.
So poor Galbatorix can’t handle ALL OF THE FEELINGS and goes nuclear… just like that poor Elf at Vroengard. BAM. His castle explodes, nuclear radiation floods the city. But Eragon saves them all. Because he’s Eragon and that’s just what he does.
OVERALL THOUGHTS AND ANGRY RANTING
As you can tell from this review… I hated this book and I hated this series. What the book really needed was someone to help cut down on the useless information and keep the story on a straightforward path, not let it wander off in random directions.
The internet seems to love these books and I can’t really understand why. But I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
I would like to hear other people’s thoughts and opinions on this one.