Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
This post is part of a month-long series of pre-dated posts running while I am on holiday. Feel free to comment, I’ll get back to you when I return!
Please note that any “reviews” I write here are simply my own opinion and that I am not doing any objective, informative reviews for this challenge. If there are any spoilers in a post, I will indicate it at the top.
I draw the book covers straight from Goodreads and you can click on the images to go to the book’s page on there.
I used to love Eragon. I was about 14 and I was going crazy about it. Later, I came to the conclusion that this was the only age when I could ever have loved this book. Now, I think it is one of those books that needed a really good editor before it ever got published. I think that the author needed a lot more maturing before finishing up this book. Sometimes I wonder at how complete my reversal of feelings has been for this book. I have gone from fangirl to one of the haters. And I did that pretty soon after actually reading Eragon.
I think my personal situation during the time I read it had a lot to do with how I started off liking it. I was going through a very rough patch and I was turning to writing to try to cope because that is less bad for you than self-harming. To then read a book that the author wrote and published when he was just a bit older than me – it was an embodiment of my dream. I had only just decided that I wanted to be a writer too. If he could do it, then why not me? When I was a bit older obviously. Not being home-schooled, I didn’t quite have Paolini’s writing opportunities. I didn’t know the right people either.
So that was it basically. I read Eragon several times and loved it. And then there was a lover’s quarrel. I started reading wider into the fantasy genre, which I was still pretty new to, and I realised how predictable Eragon is. I realised how many scenes are similar to scenes in other books. I read Eldest. I liked it, but only the scenes with the elves. That cousin or brother or whatever of Eragon (I can’t even remember his name anymore) irritated me so much that I read the scenes with him in only once – the time when I first read the book. On all subsequent rereads I skipped all those passages. Because I wanted to throw him with something and that love-sickness was making ME sick. Anyway, he’s an idiot.
The final seal on my break-up with Eragon came when I got drawn into Lord of the Rings a few years later. I wonder if there are people who are fans of both. Is it even possible? Is it possible to love Tolkien’s work and also love Paolini’s? I’d love to hear from any such people, if they exist. I’d love to hear how you can get your mind about both series, when Lord of the Rings is so much richer, so much better put together, so much better written? The Inheritance Quartet (or is still called a trilogy? Or a series?) is such a blatant copy of Lord of the Rings that it is disgusting. And then it is not even a good copy. It is a badly made copy. Even a good copy might have been acceptable. However, if you want to copy, you have to do it with precision, finesse and good judgement. And it might still be acceptable. There are books that like that out there. Many of them are accomplished and accepted. But style does count for something and in my opinion, Paolini fails in this.
Plagiarism? No. Plagiarism is the lifting of words and ideas just the way they are and reusing them as your own without credit. Paolini didn’t do that, because he changed most things up just enough to escape. But that still doesn’t make it nice. Follow this link for a nice little comparison between Eragon and other fantasy novels. (I should probably start spending my classes better.)
In the end, ^this^ post highlights what bothers me the most about Eragon. It’s not the unoriginality – fantasy books tend to be a bit predictable anyway – and it’s not the actual style. It’s the soddin’ names. How hard is it to come up with your own names and not copy Tolkien’s and others’?! This isn’t fanfiction! But it reads like that, quite a lot of the time.
I’ll never like Eragon again. There was only one short period in my life when I could like this book and that is over.
By the way, when I opened up Goodreads just now to get the book cover and link, the first five reviews on that page were 1-star reviews. I thought that was quite funny. I remember the days when everything was just 5-star all the way. Anyway, I picked out a couple (1 and 2) that I found myself agreeing with. And I thought this one was funny.
Tomorrow’s post is about my favourite writer.