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Author Topic: Eragon and Eldest
Member # 3206

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Have any of you read them? I know Paolini's like 17 years old or something. All things considering, not too bad a story as far as stories go.

However even though the story as a whole is somewhat original, he stole from gazillions of fanatasy and sci-fi in the first place, including OSC, Frank Herbert and Tolkein. (I haven't read a lot of Martin or McCafree, so I can't identify the points where he's borrowing concepts from them, but I know they both had dragons involved and then there's D&D and other similar RPGs too. The character that walks in almost straight from Herbert in the second book is the most obvious of all, though Eragon and Aragorn certianly have name characteristics in common.

So, since there aren't really any creative ideas or concepts in the story, I'm trying to figure out whether he's a hack. I know I do enjoy "lesser" literature than some of the rest of you, and I don't mind reading a story that already has a familiar feel to it.

After mulling it over for a while, I don't think he did all of his borrowing either consciously or deliberately. It wasn't like he was plagiarizing, it's all in his own voice. I think that all of the fantasy and sci-fi stories are embedded so deeply into his psyche that the majority of the time he probably doesn't even consciously realize that he was borrowing from other writers concepts directly.

His writing style feels more honest to me than say Robert Jordan, who has to bludgeon you with detail in order to *prove* that his world isn't a Tolkein ripoff when it is. Paolini's just telling the story he made up cause it's interesting to him and he wanted to share it with other people.

Would you call him a hack?


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Would you call him a hack?
Yes. Not necessarily because of borrowing characters and story elements - heck every fantasy writer does do some of that - there's no such thing as a completely original story I don't think. I call him a hack because the writing is terrible, IMO. The dialogue is excruciating.

My 12 year old daughter couldn't even finish Eldest. I asked her why and she shrugged and said "It's just not really any good."

I enjoy some so-called "lesser literature" too, but I can say that reading Martin and Card and others like them have spoiled me to the point that I can't read Paolini and take him at all seriously.

I did hope that Eldest would prove to be better than Eragon, that perhaps he had grown and matured some. But again, the dialogue...*shudder* I think I only made it through three chapters.

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I wouldn't call him a hack, but I wouldn't call him a great or even good writer. Average. I've certainly heard worse.

I want to hurt Robert Jordan every time I read the words "howl", "sniff", "strut" and his new one, "caper". Someone get that dude a thesaurus. Better yet, thesaurii. I'd like to get him an allosaurus...

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See, since I'm not a writer, dialogue styles don't bother me at all. In general complete sentences that I can comprehend do the trick.

And I don't really read to take anyone seriously. If they make me take them seriously then I know they are good. If they don't, I'm still never sure how actually *bad* they are in most cases.

That's why I posted this thread.


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There's another writer I've read recently, Jennifer Roberson, who I would consider a "lesser" fantasy writer. Though even she demonstrates originality far beyond Eragon. Her writing has definitely improved through the years too.

And, she surprised me with the last book of hers I read. I started with her series chronologically, because you need to to get the history, but the beginning books definitely aren't as well written. And in the latest book of hers I read, what she did with a character at the end *got* to me. It ticked me off. I didn't see it coming, and was very surprised. In hindsight I could see a bit of foreshadowing going on, but not when I went through the first time. To me, that is the beginnning of going from average to good to great. She's good enough to be in the "goods" now, but probably not the "greats". IMO


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Goody Scrivener
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I don't read to take the writer seriously, to analyze writing styles or dialogue or anything like that. I read solely to enjoy myself. Paolini definitely does that for me, and I'm looking forward to Inheritance.

I just finished Eldest yesterday, my 12 year old is currently reading Eragon. I found Eldest slow in several places, especially dealing with portions of their training. But for me that's not a surprise, because that was the same type of "action" that bogs me down on Harry Potter.

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Writers always borrow from other writers. At least, I remember OSC commenting as much. No one can completely be original since all the ideas presented stem from some influence or other, just like artists tap into their own influences to add that flavor to their own mixture of styles. Even Tolkein wasn't truly original, in fact, as stated by Tom Shippey, his only real original work in that whole story was gollum. It's the way the ideas are presented that gives them the illusion of originality. I give kudos to the writer of Eragon for making it in the business as he has at a very young age! Besides, if the story resonates with the readers, what do a few critic's comments matter? ;-P
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I thought Eragon was Ok. However, I thought Eldest was plain bad. I'll not read another of his books again.
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My son loves these books. I read Eragon. and have yet to brave Eldest. IMO he goes way beyond borrowing, especially from Jordan ( who borrowed plenty himself).
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I appreciate Paolini for what he is; a 20 year old who has done some amazing work, considering that he's only 20.

I found more "borrowing" in Eldest than I did in Eragon, but I didn't mind it. I especially liked the echoes of SftD.
...no one thinks of himself as a villain, and few make decisions that they think are wrong. A person may dislike his choice, but he will stand by it because, even in the worst circumstances, he believes that it was the best option available to him at the time.
Eldest page 350.

I see Paolini trying to tackle the tough moral issues and develop characters. IMO, he's making great strides with his development of Saphira. She is his favorite character and you can tell that she has taken on a life of her own.

I'm not nearly as impressed by Eragon's development. I doubt that Paolini will be able to write a convincing love story for Eragon and Arya for the simple reason that he hasn't lived a love story yet.

I'll continue to read Paolini. I'm excited to see how he'll develop as an author. My hope is that, after the trilogy ends, he'll have a chance to get off the book signing tour and get a life. I think that if this young man is allowed to absorb some normal life experience, he could become a great author.

{editted for spelling of Paolini's name)

[ November 11, 2005, 08:58 PM: Message edited by: LadyDove ]

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I definately noticed that there were many similarities, but, like Goody Scrivener, I too read just to enjoy myself. It doesn't take much to keep me happy, so, while I may miss out on the finer points, I do believe I have more fun.
And, honestly, he's what? 20, 21? I think what he's done is great for such a young and inexperienced writer/man/whathaveyou.
Who was it that said something along the lines of "Copy is the highest form of flattery"? I'd be happy for the original authors, not get upset at the new guy.

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I am trying to read Eragon since my students and the librarian at my school just rave about it, but I can't seem to get into it. I am not impressed with his writing style either. I think the author is trying too hard if that makes any sense.
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It does. I read them because they were enjoyable enough to me, sort of like Laguna Beach. It's not like I would choose to watch it if something better was on, it just does the trick when there's nothing else. Anywho, I think he's just very passionate about the genre and he knows what he's feeling but when he tries to get it across he feels like he didn't do a good enough job so he just ooooverexaggerates things to try to get us to feel as passionately about it as he does. Maybe...
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