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Eragon and Eldest (1 Viewer)

Walker Pierce

Senior Member
I finished Eldest a few months back, and Eragon a loong time ago. Basically, I wanted to hear everyone's opinions on the book.

I think it is superbly written, for one so young as Paolini. To get such publicity with a book at his age is an astounding feat by itself.

I've also heard a lot of comments saying things along the lines of, "Eragon/Eldest follows the exact line of common fantasy, on the practical "guidelines for fantasy" page of fiction." Basically, this person was saying that they think it was a stereotypical two books, regardless of the details behind it.
 

VinrAlfakyn

Senior Member
I've read both of the books, and I loved them. In case you haven't noticed, my user name is from the second book. :grin: Looking forward to the third one!
 

blademasterzzz

Senior Member
Hi.
First, I recommend you check out two reviews about him:


WHY Eragon is a very bad book, and shouldn't be read, EVER
http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?t=42433


Eldest - The Stunning Follow-up
http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?t=45422


To sum it up, Paolini is viewed as a hack by most of the educated world. His books are full of plagiarism, and his attitude full of arrogance. The most common reason he is popular is that

A) He was marketed as a genius (And he's not, believe me. Most of us here can write better than him)

B) Most of his fans have read 2 or 3 fantasy books in their lives.

C) People like his books. But then again, it's probably because they're not too familiar in the field of fantasy.


Go ahead. Bite me.
 
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crunch

Senior Member
Blademaster, I find that very insulting. I have read both books and, while they're not my favorites, I did enjoy them a lot. I think he writes very well and wrote interesting stories. Obviously some things in the books are similar to other fantasy novels but really, there have been so many written that it's impossible to completely avoid. I think he must be extremely talented for not making it the same as all the rest. So, as you can see, I am a fan of Paolini and I will gladly listen to common sense and have definitely read more than two or three books in my life. Therefore, you should think about things before you say anything. Have you read more than a few books in the years that you've been alive? It doesn't sound like it by the way you briefly sum up an entire group of people before looking at the situation from their point of view.
 

blademasterzzz

Senior Member
Ok. I posted some questions in my first review. Answer them, and I will be very happy to respond in a dignified and honorable manner.
 

crunch

Senior Member
Okay, while there are no actual questions in that review, I will do my best at addressing the things you mentioned. You said you wanted people to try to come up with five original things from Eragon. Yes, I will give you that it's a difficult thing to do. In fact, I don't think I can do it (although I did read the book two or three years ago). However, it isn't necessarily about that. Like I said before, it is impossible to come up with something original. After hundreds of years of people writing things down, how can anyone possibly come up with something that hasn't been done? In a situation like this, it isn't so much the things that have to be original, but rather the situations. (I'm sorry but I'll have to use Eldest because I don't remember much from Eragon). The fact that, although Eragon wasn't doing much in Eldest, there was still action shows that Paolini understands the need to keep readers interested, which he clearly does very well. Throughout the book there are chapters about Eragon's cousin which were always exciting and very fun to read. That was original.

I don't know where you got the idea that the female characters are "a joke" as you so simply stated. Arya may be a bit over-the-top but she is constantly kept in that character, showing that it wasn't a fault of the author, but the way she is really supposed to be. I also don't understand where you got the idea that the writing is "crappy". What kind of writing do you think the word crappy is? I would think that such an accomplished writer as yourself would be able to think of a better adjective than "crappy".

One more thing before I leave you to make a snide comment about all this. What's wrong with thinking of better words than said? It really bothers me that some people have something against that. It shows intelligence and makes the story more interesting if you don't use the same words all the time. So there you go. I didn't meet your "Name Five Original Things About Eragon" challenge but at least I gave you something to look at.
 
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blademasterzzz

Senior Member
Crunch: You might actually read the threads in question?

My review points out the problems I have with Eragon and Paolini.

As for questions for fans:



COMMON DEFENSES FOR ERAGON'S FAULTS:


"He was just a teenager when he wrote the book"

Ah yes, the most famous one.
Well, yes, but he PUBLISHED it. Which means, it is treated like ANY OTHER book published.
And just because he was young, that doesn't mean that people, especially children, should read this excuse for fantasy, which apparently teaches that

"Anyone can become a rich and best-selling author, and it doesn't matter how clever you are. It matters how dumb your readers are!"



"With the right marketing, a book about clock repair can become a bestseller!"
Yep, that is the major reason Eragon ever sold so well. Shameless publishers.


"Fantasy is all about dwarfs and elves, and ideas ripped off from other books. IT IS OK TO DO IT! See, I did it, and I'm more successful than most suckers who tried coming up with fascinating plots, characters and ideas!"



"He wasn't STEALING, he was inspired."


Inspiration and theft are different things. It is one thing if I look at your painting, think it is wonderful, and paint my own in a similar theme.
IT IS ANOTHER if I take your painting and write my name on it!

What Paolini has done is BLATANT PLAGIARISM, and I am amazed that he didn't get sued.


"It is a children's book!"


Ah, no. It isn't. From his quote, "In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf", he clearly compares his writing to classics.

If he does it, why can't we?!
 

crunch

Senior Member
Yes, I know. I'm sorry. I wrote that and then read the reviews. I edited my post so now you have something to read.
 

VinrAlfakyn

Senior Member
blademasterzzz said:
"In my writing, I strive for a lyrical beauty somewhere between Tolkien at his best and Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf", he clearly compares his writing to classics.

I wouldn't say he's comparing himself to them. He clearly admires their work and wants to strive to make his as good, but that doesn't mean he already thinks it is.
 

blademasterzzz

Senior Member
Thanks.


Like I said before, it is impossible to come up with something original. After hundreds of years of people writing things down, how can anyone possibly come up with something that hasn't been done? In a situation like this, it isn't so much the things that have to be original, but rather the situations.


Have you ever read George R R Martin's "A song of fire and ice"? It's a magnificent fantasy book made even better by the fact that it is set in a fairly standard world.

What really makes him shine are the characters. There are no good ones, or bad ones (Though Ned was fairly noble). They're all grey, and the thing is, wether they do bad or good things, you can understand why they do it. This gives the reader a very powerful connection to all characters.

He's also not afraid to murder them. Paolini couldn't murder Eragon or Saphira in the first two books, could he? I mean, the story would be kinda stuck if he did.

Martin writes in a way that the story keeps flowing even if he killed the central point of view characters (which he does, and he does it when you least suspect).

I highly suggest you read his books.

Alright, now about originality. Yes, it is hard to be original in fantasy (And it is in fact another excuse often used by his fans. Sorry.)

What you CAN do, though, is take a setting and give it a personal twist, an idea, an opinion. You see, Paolini didn't. He mish-mashed several ideas into his book, all of them sadly taken from other, better writers.


(I'm sorry but I'll have to use Eldest because I don't remember much from Eragon). The fact that, although Eragon wasn't doing much in Eldest, there was still action shows that Paolini understands the need to keep readers interested, which he clearly does very well. Throughout the book there are chapters about Eragon's cousin which were always exciting and very fun to read. That was original.


And as I said in the end of my second review, it was refreshing. The faults were that it was fairly pointless, his whole journey, and that his feeling to Katrina (or whatever her name was) didn't feel like love, more like materialistic obsession.

I don't know where you got the idea that the female characters are "a joke" as you so simply stated. Arya may be a bit over-the-top but she is constantly kept in that character, showing that it wasn't a fault of the author, but the way she is really supposed to be.

I told you before about Martin's characters. They're deep. They have good and bad sides, and they're generally well-rounded. Arya hasn't. Actually, she's fairly boring.

Another thing is the dialogue. All characters sound the same. If it didn't have "Eragon exclaimed" and "Arya agreed", I wouldn't know who's talking.

That shows that characters don't have much of a personality.

I also don't understand where you got the idea that the writing is "crappy". What kind of writing do you think the word crappy is? I would think that such an accomplished writer as yourself would be able to think of a better adjective than "crappy".

I never said I was a good writer. I'm likely worse than Paolini. Many on this board are better then me or him. But you don't have to be a good writer to see faults in a book, just a good reader.

One more thing before I leave you to make a snide comment about all this

Oh, stop demonizing me.

What's wrong with thinking of better words than said? It really bothers me that some people have something against that. It shows intelligence and makes the story more interesting if you don't use the same words all the time.

It is a professional writing rule. Read any book, even Stephen King's "On Writing".

It doesn't show intelligence, rather it BOASTS intelligence. I'm not saying Paolini's dumb. But in fact, in good books, "said" is the most common dialogue adhesive used. It fades into background, and people don't notice it.

With Paolini, because he uses ten different forms on any given page, it jumps from the page, distracting the reader from the actual story. Grammar shouldn't do it. It should relay the story.
 

crunch

Senior Member
Okay, you have very good points. Most of them I agree with you on. I will admit that he doesn't have the most original stories and I read them mostly for the writing because, to me, that's important too and helps me learn to be a better writer. However, I still hold my place on the "said" thing. You say people don't notice the word at all but often times when I read I see it and it really gets on my nerves. I guess it's just a pet peeve I have. When I write dialogue, I often don't use anything afterwards to show who said it because I write it in a way that people hopefully know who's talking. However, when I do write things after someone speaks only about 50% of the time is it with the word said.
 

VinrAlfakyn

Senior Member
I agree with Crunch on the said thing. When I write I try not to use it too much because it gets so boring writing "So and so said" and then "said So and so" over and over again.
 

Talia_Brie

Senior Member
'Said' is essentually an invisible word. The reader's don't notice it when its 'overused'. That's a reasonably accepted writing standard.

If you try to mix it up a little you are probably doing your readers a dis-service.
 

crunch

Senior Member
But it really does drive me crazy! I don't understand what's so bad about mixing it up every once in a while. If the people are actually reading then they'd be looking at every word, not skipping over some because it's "invisible". Besides, reading teaches people things. Reading teaches people vocabulary so they can make their own writing more interesting! We learn the word said at the age of 2. What's that going to teach us?
 

Hodge

pliable
Senior Member
The point is to show what the character is doing through the dialogue itself, not with modifiers like "exclaimed" and "yelled." You can use them every once in a while, but 95% of your dialogue should be he said/she said.
 

bobothegoat

Senior Member
crunch said:
Okay, you have very good points. Most of them I agree with you on. I will admit that he doesn't have the most original stories and I read them mostly for the writing because, to me, that's important too and helps me learn to be a better writer. However, I still hold my place on the "said" thing. You say people don't notice the word at all but often times when I read I see it and it really gets on my nerves. I guess it's just a pet peeve I have. When I write dialogue, I often don't use anything afterwards to show who said it because I write it in a way that people hopefully know who's talking. However, when I do write things after someone speaks only about 50% of the time is it with the word said.

"I" word count: 12

Seriously. Mix up your word choices a bit. I'm starting to get bored of that word.

Anyway, I couldn't read the books. Such strange descriptions as "crimson hair" and "icey-blue eyes" only irritate me. It was kind of the same thing with the Da Vinci Code. I never got beyond a few pages of either.
 

Walker Pierce

Senior Member
Well, seems like a lot has happened in my absence.

I'd have to say that I don't like over-doses of words such as "remarked" or "roared" or such after dialogue. Though I do like it occasionally. For example, in a massive skirmish that might take place, no one all the way across the ramparts of a castle is going to simply say, "For glory," or some such thing. They'll fling it out in a bellow. Of course, if the writer simply puts, " said so and so," afterwards, they could always write that the enemies below could hear the cry, even from that distance, and the shuddered.

I liked the book, but I'd also have to agree that Arya is a bit dull. I mean, she just pops in and is an all-powerful swordswoman and oh so knowledgable. I also dislike that elves are almost ten times as powerful as the strongest, fastest, smartest, etc. humans.

One other thing that annoys me deeply: Paolini's over use of fictional language. Granted that dwarven can be okay to write if you simply say they exchanged words for a long moment, the argument becoming heated, but when you sit there and try and strut your stuff (or in this case, mind) by writing a bunch of letters jumbled and spaced, it gets annoying and takes away from the story.

Despite this, I liked the book overall.
 

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