Friday, September 19, 2008

Eragon & Eldest

I’ve finished re-reading Eragon and Eldest in my preparation for the release of Brisingr. I am going to post my thoughts on Eragon and Eldest, and then hopefully, I will post some thoughts when I am done reading Brisingr. The following thoughts contain mild spoilers, but mostly just generalizations of the books.

Let me start by saying that I like these books. I do. And now you’re all thinking that by beginning my thoughts in this manner, that there must be some “but” coming. Like “I really like these books … but … ” and that’s not really the case. These books are enjoyable to read, and I find that I do get sucked into the story, wanting to know what’s going to happen with the characters.

It’s just that I find Paolini’s writing to be … well, a little immature. He’s got a vivid imagination, that’s for sure. And he’s obviously drawing his knowledge from his idol (J.R.R. Tolkien). I know that I shouldn’t compare Paolini’s Inheritance Series to Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings series, but I can’t help myself. They have so many elements in common, that I find myself saying “that’s the same thing that happened in LOTR.”

Besides the obvious similarities, like having dwarves and elves and other mystical creatures, the 2 series have many of the same themes. Man (who is mortal, though lives an extended life) falling in love with an immortal Elven princess? Check. Elves hiding in their lands, preparing to launch one last stand after being defeated years ago? Check. Strange names that are impossible to pronounce? Check. (I mean, Galbatorix? How do you say that exactly?) The existence of the one true language? Check. You get my point … lots of similarities. Paolini’s writings don’t feel as mature to me as Tolkien’s, though they revolve around the same themes (loyalty to one’s family, love for others, a sense of justice and rightness, etc).

One thing that does impress me is Paolini’s use of other languages. I didn't spend much time reading through the language guide so I don't know if Paolini made up the languages and their accompanying rules, or if he followed established rules (from other fantasy novels) and made some modifications to fit his own books. Either way, it’s impressive. Even though I have no idea what any of the words mean … and I get annoyed having to flip back and forth between the index with the language translation and the storyline. Still … I’m pretty sure that if I tried to make up a language, I would fail dismally.

So there you go – that’s my take on the books. I like them and I am looking forward to reading Brisingr. They do capture my attention and make me want to keep reading so I can find out what happens. Will Eragon and Roran rescue Katrina? Will Galbatorix be overthrown? Will Arya finally fall in love with Eragon? Or will Eragon get over her and find someone else to love (Nasuada?) Most of all, what happens that necessitated Paolini’s announcement that there will be 4 books in the series, instead of the planned 3? Is there really so much stuff that's it's impossible to wrap it up in Brisingr? I guess I’ll find out when I get my copy (sometime next week, I hope).

And please make a comment in the post below for a book idea for October ... I've got one idea, so if no one suggests anything, I guess we're going with that.


Melvin and Carly said...

I think I'll just let Sarah write all of my posts for me. We seem to have many of the same opinions. Saves me some work. Thanks, Sarah!

I, too, liked Eragon (haven't read Eldest yet). I thought the story was fun to read and I get caught up in the characters. I also found similarities between this and other fantasy stories, which may be slightly unavoidable. And I agree completely with the language. In fact I think I wrote the exact same thing to Sarah in an email!

Bottom line, I liked it. Enough to continue the series because I am interested in what happens to the characters. I'll pick up Eldest at the library and will read Brisingr when I can get my hands on a (free)copy.

Michelle Jamison said...

I started Eragon and just couldn't get into it, after reading What Sarah and Carly wrote, I will give it another shot. I have to concur, it is too much the same to LOTR.
As for reading suggestions how about a thriller "Velocity" by Dean Koontz. Dave is reading it and cannot put it down, it has got me intrigued!

Sarah said...

Agreed with Carly. You did write nearly the same thing about the languages to me in an email. Thanks for the insight :)

I finally got around to watching the movie Eragon last night with Cory. We've had it for like a year and it's taken us this long to watch it. Anyways, I gained a new appreciation for the book. I mean no offense to anyone who liked the movie (really) but I thought it was kind of cheesy. Don't get me wrong, I did like it and it was fun to see the story brought to life, but I kept giggling through the movie. Such a big novel condensed into a 1 ½ of movie didn't go very well. There wasn’t any time for character development (so when a certain character died, I didn’t feel anything at all, contrasted to crying when I read it in the book). The movie was just too brief to really get into the juice of the story. I like the book a thousand times more than I liked the movie. It made me appreciate better the writings of the books – the story has so much to it that doesn’t come through in the movie.

So yeah Michelle, give it another try. It really is a pretty good read (though it does start a little slow). Give it time to get into the characters and you might like it more.

Michelle Jamison said...

Okay, so I just started this book last night and I am addicted to it! It is called "My Sisters Keeper" I will have to get back to you on the author, it is a different name, but I am loving it so far, I will let you know what I think when it is all over.

Sarah said...

Thanks Michelle!! Yeah, definitely let me know the author's name so I can go get it from the library. I love book suggestions! I'm (not so patiently) waiting for my copy of Brisingr to arrive in the mail.

Shafer and Lindsey said...

I've invited myself into your book club because I'm always looking for books to read and you've had some great suggestions (I'm officially a huge fan of Shannon Hale now! Thanks!)
I also read Eragon and I agree with what Sarah said, I had to keep reminding myself that Paolini was only 15 when he wrote it! That explains a lot of the immature writing. Sometimes it's nice to be able to easily read a book as opposed to LOTR which was sometimes a big struggle to get through for me (although I LOVE the movies!) I also agree about the movie, cheesy! That probably explains why there wasn't a sequal!
I'm also waiting to get ahold of Brisingr, but I think I'm about 1200 in line at the library, oh, well!

Sarah said...

Lindsey! Yes, you are more than welcome to join our little book club. We need more people - so welcome!! I added you as an author, so you've got an invitation from gmail in your inbox.

Shannon Hale is great, isn't she? I am really looking forward to reading the 4th book in her Bayern series, even though it doesn't come out until next year!

And yeah, Paolini being only 15 at the time of writing Eragon does account for much of the immature writing. He's got one heck of an imagination, that's for sure!! To come up with this entire world is impressive. Too bad we don't live closer to each other - I'd let you borrow my copy of Brisingr when I'm done with it. :)

Melvin and Carly said...

About Michelle's suggestion...I've only ever read half of a Dean Koontz novel. It was so absolutely vulgar that I couldn't finish it and have never picked up another since. (I'm not talking just a few swear words here and there; it was obscene.) Perhaps it was the particular title; I know lots of people who like Koontz. If she can vouch for it not being completely inappropriate, I'll give it a shot if we ever choose one of his books.

Sarah said...

Hmmm, thanks Carly. I have never even heard of Dean Koontz. Michelle, if Dave can vouch for the book being clean, then we can try it. Otherwise, we'll have to pick another book. I looooooove all this discussion going on!!!

Sarah said...

I finally got my copy of Brisingr! I've read 2 chapters and I'm really getting into it ... YEA!