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Paolini's Inheritance Cycle

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by Aravelle, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    We've all heard of it. A surprising portion of us have read it.
    What did CP do right? What did he do wrong, and how can we learn from him?

    I have a personal bias towards it because Eragon changed my life. It got me into epic fantasy and to delve further into the genre; it inspired me to try to be a teen author. On fansites and forums I made new friends, several of them I still have with me today. Heck, I met my first boyfriend through Eragon!
    Although I can't read the books now without feeling like I have something stuck on the roof of my mouth, I smile when I think of the memories and love I've felt for it in the past.
     
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Sorry, Aravelle, I didn't get more than a handful of Chapters into it; the writing was just too bad. I presume that what he did correctly was tell a story that resonated with a lot of readers, especially young readers. That is more important than the quality of writing.
     
  3. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    Understandable Steerpike, I was only 13 when I read it, and it certainly plucked my heartstrings. I don't blame older readers for disliking it or not being able to read it, because not even I can anymore.
     
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    I seem to remember running into major phausibility issues with book one:

    something about going from 'ordinary boy in the woods' to magican, swordmaster, and literate, while traveling.

    But its been a while.
     
  5. Konstanz

    Konstanz Minstrel

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    When I was younger, I liked it. (Also, on a side-note, I read the Dutch translation then, so perhaps the translator mitigated some of the bad writing). I loved reading book 1-3 and I liked the story.

    But before book 4 came out, my taste in Fantasy became more mature and I started to like Dark Fantasy more. When book 4 was finally released, I didn't buy it right away. I did buy it a couple of months back, and I read it. Although I really disliked the story (especially that moralistic way to defeat Galbatorix), part of me (the part still in tune with the younger me) enjoyed it enough to keep reading. I guess I just wanted closure. I wanted to know how he would defeat Galbatorix. But if I hadn't started reading it when I was younger, I would've thrown all books in the bin. Rubbish.
     
  6. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    What did he do right? He used familiar archetypes and a universal (if a but tired) plot to create a story people would instantly connect with (because they'd seen it so many times before) and then had his parents market the heck out of it.

    What did he do wrong? Everything else.

    Understand, I actually liked the first one when I read it. (i was 13 too!)
    The writing was bad enough to make me do double takes, but underneath the bad writing writing was an idea I liked: Star Wars. I read the other books mostly just to see where exactly he was going. I haven't read the last one yet though. I haven't had time. Plus the bad writing seems to rub off on me whenever I read those books. A shame though. "Star Wars in generic fantasyland" is actually an interesting idea. The Eragon books just aren't self-aware enough to make it work. In fact, I'll say it now: the Eragon books would be 10X better had they been written as parody.

    Something that mildly irks me is the soapboxing. Paolini takes some time out of his gripping narrative to slow down the already glacial pacing to slip in "subtle" messages about how atheist vegetarians are the ubermensch.
     
  7. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    ^All of this, this is all good.
    I also agree with the idea of Star Wars in fantasyland.. although I couldn't bear to see Eragon as a parody. It would be better but it wouldn't hold the same fondness for me.

    I'm unsure how I feel about the soapboxing. I found it interesting how the elves' views paralleled real people's views. I also liked Eragon's theological dysphoria. It made it feel more personal.
     
  8. Callan37

    Callan37 Acolyte

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    Personally, I'm amazed at what CP accomplished at such a young age.

    However...the novels really don't sit as well with me now as they did a few years ago. For me, the dialogue was a huge issue, but that's a problem in lots of fantasy. The dragons and his take on them were very cool, as were the languages that he created (mostly) from scratch.
     
  9. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    But he didn't really create a language. He created a bunch of words and then strung them together into "sentences". I have seen it pointed out elsewhere that he breaks the only rules of grammar his language is stated to have, leading to inconsistencies, and some of those words are just a pain to pronounce. Let's get one thing straight. Paolini is NO TOLKIEN. By ANY stretch of the imagination. So let's not praise him for "making a language". Otherwise, my list of elvish words from high school qualifies me as a linguist.
     
  10. LisaChitty

    LisaChitty Acolyte

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    At first i thought the eragon books were great. I read the first one shortly after it came out and was eager to get the rest, but like others, I found by book 4, I had gone off them. I found the story too long and drawn out and the elvish language just annoying. However, it was quite an accomplishment for someone of his age.
     
  11. I have said countless times that Christopher Paolini is my favorite author. He is what inspired me to pick up my pen again and write.

    After the release of Inheritance, I sent him a letter. He wrote back a few months later.


    I love his writing. I could read his books over and over again. I know people dislike his style of writing, but it isn't bad in my opinion.
     
  12. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Well, if the Eragon books touched you that much, um... good for you? If they inspired you to write again, then some good has come of them at least.
     
  13. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I didn't think they were well done, but I have no animosity toward him or the books. Eragon and its sequels had my son reading quite a bit. Similarly, Twilight turned my daughter into a voracious reader (though Meyer is actually a decent writer so that's a distinction. >shazam< :D).

    Really, though, it's hard to argue with a work that excites millions of people and has them reading. I may not like the book. So what?
     
  14. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    inb4 yet another Twilight argument.
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    No "leet" or text speak please :)
     
  16. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Very well.

    Prediction:
    Steerpike's assertion regarding the quality of Stephanie Meyer's writing is likely to provoke yet another argument about Twilight.

    Response:
    Confront the issue directly so as to lower the probability of the argument occurring.
     
  17. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Heh. Fair enough.

    I'm just saying she's decent. Not stellar by any stretch of the imagination. Miles better than Paolini.
     
  18. shangrila

    shangrila Inkling

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    It's not exactly hard to be better than Paolini though. Just keep away from a thesaurus and give your character a flaw, any flaw, and you're set.
     
  19. Endymion

    Endymion Troubadour

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    Eragon is on my top ten worst book ever list.
     
  20. Kaellpae

    Kaellpae Inkling

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    I've never read them, but I enjoy the young adult fantasy books. But if the writing is really that bad I'll have to check it out at the library first.
     
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