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Eldest: The Stunning Follow-up (1 Viewer)

blademasterzzz

Senior Member
...And indeed I am amazed. Paolini has extraordinary, great talent when it comes to boring his readers.
(This review contains spoilers, but don't let it bother you. It's not like you can't guess them anyway).

First of all, I tried to like the book, and I tried to look at it from an unbiased angle. But when a book is just plain bad, there's not much you can do. On the lighter note, it's more exciting then Eragon....
Which really means nothing. A manual for toasters is more exciting then Eragon.

Eldest takes off where Eragon left, and the only reason I borrowed this book was to see if he got any better.

Did he?

Dogs learn pretty fast. When you get a puppy, he learns pretty quickly that he should wait with the shitting until taken for a walk. He can learn to sit and drop in a month. Then you can proceed to teaching him new tricks, and he will learn them faily quickly.

Paolini, apparently, has less learning ability than your average labrador, as he seems to have learned almost nothing since Eragon.

First of all, Paolini still fails abominally to make me care about his characters. In the beginning, the leader of the rebel resistance - called the varden - dies. This is supposed to be sad and tragical, but all I felt was a kind of contemplation whether to have dinner now or later. I decided to habe it later, and proceeded to read on, forgetting about this death several seconds later.

I don't care about Eragon's musings, or his inane "The world is cruel, why should we live? To do our best to protect the less fortunate, and be as noble as we can." thoughts, which, instead of being thought-provoking, are just plain horrible. Eragon seems less a boy, and more of a walking vessel of horribly corny nobility which faints everytime someone touches him.

Yep, the faintings are back, though not as bad as they were. At least he doesn't faint every battle, though he does, occasionally, when waving his sword around in thin air.


The dialogue: is still what it was in Eragon - awful. All the characters now sound completely the same. Not only that, but apparently they've all been brainwashed to repeat the word "aye" at least once a sentence.

First, remember that guy dying I mentioned? Well, he says the following:
"I have some last words: protect the Varden from the Empire." No idiot who was stabbed would waste his breath saying "I have some last words".
Forced dialogue. Anything said in Eldest is forced dialogue.

Eragon asks a thousand questions, so he can know exactly how to stick a toothbrush into his mouth. It gets insanely annoying after some time, and if someone kept bugging me like that, I'd have strangled him. But, nevermind, everybody loves Eragon. If you don't know what a Mary Sue is, google it. Eragon fits in 100%.

Eragon also goes from "Superior Idiot" to "Humble Superior Idiot trying to be wise". Of course, it's really Paolini trying to be wise, and boy, does he fail. You can see that he had no real expirience in his life. Everything the "wise" people teach Eragon is continually contradicting each other. Basically, "wise man sez, Crow is good. wise lady sez, Crow is bad!"

Or, "wise men sez, Crow is good!" Five minutes later, "wise men sez, Crow is very bad!".

Basically, Paolini tries to touch on philosophy, and what comes out in the end is a feeble "believe in yourself" message that immediately - you gessed it - contradicts itself. :roll:


Descriptions: Well, frankly, if you told me the cup was green, I could visualise it fairly well. Paolini would describe the cup as follows:

The cup stood on the loin-clothed table like a small statue, casting dark shadows on the brilliant white of the table cloth. Through the small window above it, a bright ray of light shone, lighting the room into a brilliant explosion of colour and visual melody. The ceiling was as white as the marble floor, reflecting the world like a magical mirror, the beautiful white of it warming the soul of anyone who laid their eyes upon them.

The molecules of which the table was made were invisible to the naked eye, but Eragon, with his super magical powers, could see them. The first was...


I still have no idea what anything in Eldest looks like, mainly because I just couldn't make myself read the awful description. And without description, it's pretty much as though all characters stand in a single, huge white room, occasionaly going from one corner to the other. That's called "travelling".

The Story:


Hm, summary:

After defeating the Death Star known as Durza, Eragon proceeds to far lands to find an old master willing to teach him.
he spends some time there, training and trying to suck up to an 80-year-old princess, because he's "so in love". The love scenes make George Lucas look like a professional romance writer.

In the middle of training, he gets a vision of his friends being in danger. He then leaves, promising to "Return and finish my training".

Now, that is a little compressed, and there was a small sideline of Roran, his cousin (Which was surprisngly fresh, though still riddled with faults).

Oh yea, and then he finds out that his father was the right hand of the Evil Emperor Galbatorix (Worst. Villain Name. Ever. Vercingetorix was a cool name, but you just can't use it in Fantasy. Leave it in history, where it belongs). oh yea, and he loses his sword. Boo hoo. He'll probably get a new one, when he goes to convert his brother (Okay, slight variation here, it's his brother, not his father, who turned evil.) Betcha his brother kills Galbatorix?

Galbatorix, being the head of the Empire, is the evil dude - so the book could easily be called "The Empire strikes back".

So, anyway, same old same old. Thanks for reading this review.
 

XandrilZaax

Senior Member
Well said blademasterzzz. I also came out of Eragon hoping the sequel would be better. But alas, Eldest was so painful I have yet to finish it. Granted, its better than Eragon, but I have gotten so tired of Paolini's writing style I cannot continue on until I've read something decent. Its amazing that Paolini could manage to make his characters' dialogue so incredibly BORING.

You are right about his descriptions as well. The more he describes, the more I become confused.

To tell the truth, when I'm doubting my own writing ability, I actually crack open Eragon and think "I can write better than that!" AND IT CHEERS ME UP. If Paolini can do that for me, there is something seriously wrong.
 

Hell's Angel

Senior Member
The molecules of which the table was made were invisible to the naked eye, but Eragon, with his super magical powers, could see them. The first was...

Wow-wow-wow. Is that actually in there? Molecules, eh? Maybe the third one will actually become another all-out sci-fi novel, seeing as he's getting all scientific now.

I've been waiting for someone to review this. Now I know that we've all been warned.

To tell the truth, when I'm doubting my own writing ability, I actually crack open Eragon and think "I can write better than that!" AND IT CHEERS ME UP. If Paolini can do that for me, there is something seriously wrong.

Right on!
 

blademasterzzz

Senior Member
Nah, he did actually go as far as desribing molecules... :p

I just meant to show that the descriptions go into ludicrous detail.
 

MiloDaePesdan

Senior Member
Get some painkillers ready for a major headache. Though if you look at it from a writer's angle, you'll probably be laughing your head off.

Is it actually worse than the first book, I wonder...?

Hodge said:
"I have some last words: protect the Varden from the Empire."

I have to read this book now!
 

XandrilZaax

Senior Member
Okay, I actually managed to finish this book, and it was a tiny bit better than I had originally thought. But still...
Grade: D-
 

VinrAlfakyn

Senior Member
I know you guys probably disagree with me, but I liked the book. I mean, why are you so down on THIS book? Yeah, there are a lot of better ones out there, but I've read a lot worse.
 

Talia_Brie

Senior Member
Blade, You Rule.

I saw this in the book store the other day and I thought, 'I wonder if Blade is going to have a look at that, or just run screaming from the room'.
 

VinrAlfakyn

Senior Member
Harry Potter is hyped as the greatest thing ever too, and I don't care much for it. But I don't make this big a deal out of it.
 

awesome_possum

Senior Member
The cup stood on the loin-clothed table like a small statue, casting dark shadows on the brilliant white of the table cloth. Through the small window above it, a bright ray of light shone, lighting the room into a brilliant explosion of colour and visual melody. The ceiling was as white as the marble floor, reflecting the world like a magical mirror, the beautiful white of it warming the soul of anyone who laid their eyes upon them.

The molecules of which the table was made were invisible to the naked eye, but Eragon, with his super magical powers, could see them. The first was...

This was such a good imitation of Paolini's style . . . omg, I'm still chuckleing over it. I am deffinitly going to borrow Eldest now.

It makes me feel icky that Paolini considers himself to be one of the best. I read an interview with him and Phillip Pullman, can you believe it? and He completely acted like his work was just as good. AROGANCE is the one thing that will drive me not only up the wall, but probably over the roof too, especially when it is based off the dillusional belief that his stuff is so great.

I know you guys probably disagree with me, but I liked the book. I mean, why are you so down on THIS book? Yeah, there are a lot of better ones out there, but I've read a lot worse.

You've . . . you've read worse? I can not even imagine . . .

///edit///

I'm going to edit this to say that I think its cool that you stand up for your views on Eldest anyway VinrAlfakyn.
 
K

kapu666

Re: Eldest

You guys should get out a little more. Paolini has garnered many excellent reviews of his work.

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/magazine/daily/12449504.htm

Posted on Tue, Aug. 23, 2005

Fetching fantasy's sequel

Eldest
By Christopher Paolini
Random House. 704 pp. $21
Reviewed by Katie Haegele

I should begin by saying that I've never cared for science fiction. I've just never gotten the point of it. Why invent imaginary worlds, with people and creatures that don't exist, when the real one is so full of inspiration?

But that was before I read Eldest, the second book in Christopher Paolini's fantasy trilogy, Inheritance, which tells the story of Eragon, a 16-year-old orphan who discovers his destiny as a Dragon Rider. The first book's publishing story was almost as fantastic: Paolini wrote it at 15, and he and his parents self-published it, only to have it make every best-seller list in the country.

When Eldest picks up, Eragon learns that he is "the only hope for resisting the Empire" of Galbatorix, the evil ruler who has turned the villages of Alagaësia into battlefields. Eragon sets off on a journey to be trained as a Rider, his dragon Saphira at his side, and until he's ready to fight Galbatorix, life is treacherous in this already weird and magical place. As Eragon says to Saphira after she tells him no one will be comfortable until things return to normal: "Define normal."

It would be hard not to be drawn in by an adventure of these proportions. A true hero epic, Paolini's story borrows loosely from the tradition of Scandinavian mythology. (And Alagaësia's languages are based on Old Norse, which gives the names their strange, square quality, like words spelled backward.) At 700 pages, the novel is a feat of well-paced storytelling, utterly untouched by pop culture's short attention span, and Paolini unfolds his tale with the patience of a monk.

But the real beauty of his novel is just that - the beauty. When Eragon reaches the enchanted elf village Ellesméra, where he will receive his training, he is delighted to find a true fairyland where "the legends of old still bestride the earth." The elfin buildings blend "seamlessly with the rest of the forest until it was impossible to tell where artifice ended and nature resumed," and the (mostly) magical beings who live there fill the woods with their clear, high singing.

Alagaësia's surroundings are unfamiliar - there's the dragon roost high in the mountain peaks, and a crow that speaks in doggerel - but they come to realistic life like an exotic depiction in National Geographic. "When it rained, the clouds and the forest canopy plunged them into profound darkness, as if they were entombed deep underground. The falling water would collect on the black pine needles above, then trickle through and pour a hundred feet or more down onto their heads, like a thousand little rainfalls."

The descriptions of Eragon's dragon are the most loving. She may be scaly, fire-breathing, and ready to take on Galbatorix, but Saphira is also Eragon's best friend, a kindred soul who communicates with him telepathically, flicks her tail to show her disapproval, and offers a wing to curl up under on lonely nights. Like Edward Gorey's amusingly recognizable fantasy creatures - his lazy feline boggersloth comes to mind - Saphira Brightscales could be the creation only of a true animal-lover.

While a novel of this caliber needs no qualifiers, it really is astonishing that a 21-year-old wrote it. Through Eragon, Paolini demonstrates an awesome, and sometimes awe-struck, knowledge of all the wonderful things the world has to offer, from farming to metalworking, to linguistics, philosophy and art.

That's when you realize: This writer hasn't abandoned the real world at all. He's in love with it. And just as his fantastic world was influenced by our real one, you may find that traces of Alagaësia remain with you, changing the way you look at your cat or the singing of the cicadas on these long summer nights.

Those who are eagerly anticipating the follow-up will be thrilled with this rich, sophisticated novel. And to those who have never considered reading a book with something like a dragon on its cover, Paolini may make a believer of you yet. I, for one, can't wait to find out what happens in book three.

Katie Haegele is a freelancer who lives in Jenkintown. Her e-mail address is [email protected]

-------------------------------------------------------------


http://www.nashvillescene.com/Stories/Arts/Books/2005/09/08/Out...

Books
September 8, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes

At 15, Christopher Paolini began a fantasy trilogy that’s getting deeper and stronger with each book

By Thaddeus Wert

Aside from the latest Harry Potter installment, the most anticipated children’s book this summer is Christopher Paolini’s Eldest, the second volume of his Inheritance trilogy. Paolini began writing the first book of the series, Eragon, when he was a mere 15 years old. Originally published by his family, it gradually earned a devoted audience through word of mouth and the author’s relentless book tours. Knopf picked up the title in 2003, and before all was said and done, more than 2 million copies of Eragon had been sold.

What was the secret of its success? Superficially, it’s an easy recipe: take equal parts of The Lord of the Ringsand Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series, add a liberal amount of George Lucas’ Star Wars mythology, and bake until done. However, what makes Eragon greater than the sum of its parts is Paolini’s ability to develop believable, multifaceted characters that any young reader could identify with. It’s truly remarkable that an adolescent author could flesh out such emotionally compelling personalities while developing an overarching storyline that holds his audience enthralled from the first page to the last.

Of course, the big question now is, was Eragon a flash in the pan? No. Based upon the evidence of Eldest, Christopher Paolini, now all of 21, is for real. In fact, where Eragon was a knee-deep dip in the water, Eldest is a headlong dive—though perhaps not in the direction his fans may have expected.

Eragon is concerned primarily with a young man’s immediate reaction when his
narrow, comfortable world turns upside down and inside out: a dragon’s egg literally drops out of nowhere into his life, from which hatches his future soul mate. Unfortunately for Eragon, this event sets in motion other events that have catastrophic consequences for himself, his family and his village. As he seeks revenge on the creatures that wreak such havoc on his life and loved ones, his unthinking rage and immature decisions invariably get him into trouble.

Eldest, on the other hand, chronicles Eragon’s inner battles as he comes to grips with the developing relationship between himself and his dragon Saphira, his adolescent crush on the beautiful but much older elf Arya, and his growing awareness that his responsibilities are much greater than mere personal revenge. Meanwhile, Paolini introduces a parallel plot involving Eragon’s cousin, Roran, which will satisfy the young fantasy fan who enjoys lots of action and scenes of conflict.

Paolini has clearly aimed high in this second book of the series. Before Eragon has a chance to recover from the huge battle that closed the first book, he is immediately embroiled in political intrigues that are more subtle and nuanced than anything he faced earlier. He is soon walking a tightrope between the various rebel factions, but he manages to keep his independence while satisfying all those who wish to use him for their own agendas. Paolini deftly transforms Eragon from a pawn of others into a confident and powerful political actor.

In a particularly interesting twist, Paolini’s elves are not the stereotypical, impossibly good beings who exist somewhere between men and angels on the great chain of being. While they do converse in the traditional ancient language, which makes it impossible to tell falsehoods, the elves of Eldest are masters of telling only the minimum amount of truth necessary. And they are certainly not altruistic. As Eragon’s dwarf companion Orik remarks, “Never ask an elf for help; they might decide that you’re better off dead, eh?”

It’s among the elves that Eragon spends the bulk of this part of the adventure, and where Paolini’s youth and ambition occasionally get the best of him. As Eragon submits himself to Oromis, the elf master charged with training him, several of their conversations get bogged down in forced profundities and arguments for vegetarianism that sound like they were lifted from a PETA brochure. Additionally, the magic that Eragon learns to tap into and control is suspiciously similar to “the force” that runs through the Star Wars movies.

Because this is a young adult novel—like Star Wars, pitched to children as well as teens—it’s perhaps worth giving a word of warning to parents of younger readers: while the elves in general, and Oromis in particular, are admirable in terms of intelligence, creativity and graciousness, they are completely materialistic in their view of nature. As Oromis states explicitly, “We only give credence to that which we can prove exists. Since we cannot find evidence that gods, miracles and other supernatural things are real, we do not trouble ourselves about them.”

This is a curious position to take for a civilization that relies so heavily on magic for its needs, but Paolini isn’t afraid to carry it to its logical conclusion.
Eragon is forced to justify why he must overthrow the evil king Galbatorix, even it means dreadful casualties among innocent people. Throughout Eldest, terrible actions are taken by characters on the “good” side, because they believe their goal is ultimately good. The interesting question is, how far can one go before the ends no longer justify the means?

Ultimately, Eldest is a more than worthy successor to Eragon. Many of Paolini’s most entertaining creations return, such as Angela the herbalist, and Roran’s adventures almost steal the show. Without giving anything away, it is safe to say that Eragon’s and Saphira’s emotional, intellectual and physical development under the tutelage of Oromis and the elves is quite moving. Many questions about Eragon’s world are answered, while other mysteries hinted at in the first book deepen. Taken together, these two books are a remarkable achievement for such a young author. Christopher Paolini has created a saga that much more experienced writers would envy.
 

Hodge

pliable
Senior Member
a dragon’s egg literally drops out of nowhere into his life, from which hatches his future soul mate.

My jaw dropped when I read this. You know why? Because I can't believe this bastard stole from Jane Yolen. She was one of my favorite fantasy authors when I was younger, and this sounds exactly like the plot of the Dragon's Blood series. Which, I might add, is an excellent series for kids.

And since he is just a kid, it's more than likely he read the series and actually did mean to steal that concept.
 
K

kapu666

Hodge said:
My jaw dropped when I read this. You know why? Because I can't believe this bastard stole from Jane Yolen. She was one of my favorite fantasy authors when I was younger, and this sounds exactly like the plot of the Dragon's Blood series. Which, I might add, is an excellent series for kids.

http://www.wizardnews.com/story.200508131.html

"Also Christopher Paolini, who sent his manuscript of Eragon to her [Yolen]. She thought it was pretty good work, for a 15-year-old. She noted that a 15-year-old who gets his manuscript printed up by parents who are printers and takes it around to schools until he generates enough interest to be signed by a major publisher makes a compelling backstory too."

"She [Yolen] also said that the Potter books are very derivative, that many people have written essentially the same story, including herself eight years ago. (This would be her book Wizard's Hall.)"
 

Hodge

pliable
Senior Member
She thought it was pretty good work, for a 15-year-old.

I don't care if she thinks it's good. I think it's incredibly unoriginal and deceitful to take a bunch of elements from other books and use them as your own without changing them drastically (and knowningly doing it is even worse).
 

bobothegoat

Senior Member
Age is no excuse. I'm really getting sick of the "It's good for a fifteen year-old" card. It should be taken for its own merits, which sadly are very little.
 
K

kapu666

Hodge said:
I don't care if she thinks it's good. I think it's incredibly unoriginal and deceitful to take a bunch of elements from other books and use them as your own without changing them drastically (and knowningly doing it is even worse).

So J.K. Rowling should be reamed for ripping off Jane Yolen's work, being deceitful to take a bunch of elements from other books and use them as her own with changing them drastically (and knowingly doing it is even worse, right?
 
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