Tag: Christopher Paolini

Author Review: Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini has so far written a single book series, ‘The Inheritance Cycle’. It should be noted that he was only fifteen when he wrote the first book, and while it wasn’t a great book, it was a good book. This was a superb achievement for a fifteen year old. As a huge fan of fantasy and an avid reader, I personally give Paolini two thumbs way up.

His first book was great for his age. But while his writing improved dramatically during the latter books. His storytelling and character development did not.

Pacing seems to be something Paolini never quite masters.

Eragon started out as a farm boy with some hunting experience on the side. And after evening lessons received while traveling, in less than a year, he turns into a master swordsman who can outfight warriors with centuries of combat experience. This is not very realistic, even in a fantasy world. Then we have Arya, the main heroine who spent three books ‘not interested’ in the main character and suddenly did a 180 in the last book and went to ‘interested’. These are just two examples, there are plenty more.

And not just the characters, the plot itself is paced in this manner. Especially from the second book onwards. For example in the second book, the move of the Varden, the training of Eragon, and the exodus of the villagers all seem to happen at the same time, but if someone made a calender for Alagaësia we might see that the dates don’t quite match up, or Eragon and the Varden have moved with superhuman speed. And in the final book, the way the buildup for the last battle happened was similar. Though you could get away by calling it a plot twist. Again these are just two examples of many.

Another thing Paolini does frequently is using magic to solve every little problem.

When Eragon found that his incredible swordsmanship (impossibility acquired) couldn’t match up against the superhuman prowess of the elves he got a magical power boost. When he was faced with a crippling injury and looked to be useless for frontline fighting, he was magically healed. When there was no way for Eragon to acquire a riders sword, a magical solution presented itself that let him make his own. And when Eragon faced Galbathorix in the final battle, he found a magical solution that let him defeat the enemy who remained undefeated for a century. And these instances weren’t even normal magic as practiced in the land of Alagaësia, they were practically ass-pulls.

If I were unkind I would wonder if these incidents happen when the author writes himself into a corner and needs to recuse the plot.

One thing Paolini can be praised for is his worldbuilding.

The world of Alagaësia is beautifully detailed. Even though it is populated by the usual suspects of high fantasy (elves,dwarfs, dragons) each race has their history, nation and culture. He even created a language (Of sorts) for the story. And the map is great.

I believe that the success of a fantasy story depends in large part on the world building that went on beforehand. And while Paolini is no Tolkien, he did a great job with Alagaësia. It is a world you can immerse yourself in.

I think that if Paolini writes another book, or series of books, they will be much better than ‘The Inheritance Cycle’. The way his writing improves through the books shows that he is devloping as a writer. Now if only he pays closer attention to organizing the plot and developing his characters, he would write great fantasy.

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Review: Inheritance

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This is the final book of ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ by Christopher Paolini, published in 2011.

You need to have read the previous books of the series to make sense of this one. This is not a stand alone book.

This book concludes the story of Eragon that began three books ago.

The story of Inheritance starts a short while after the conclusion of the last book and jumps straight into a battle scene. This sets the pace for the entire book. Things move fast, one battle is over, the next battle begins. The view point jumps between multiple fronts. Even when Eragon must go on a side quest to learn the last piece of knowledge he needs to win it is done in a hurry.

And the conclusion of the book happens just as suddenly, all of a sudden a plot twist has the main characters confronting the Emperor Pal, sorry Galbathorix and another plot twist finishes the fight.

I found the pacing too fast, I can see how someone else might find it engaging. What I couldn’t find engaging was the way Paolini used magic to solve every little problem that cropped up on the road, even the last one. Magic has an important role in high fantasy, but it’s not a cheat code.

Not just the plot, but the characters themselves changed gears way too fast. The main heroine went from not interested to interested so fast one wonders if this is a manga with the obligatory tsundere. The kings and Varden leaders also seem to don new personalities in the last chapters with no buildup whatsoever.

This is also not a kids book anymore. There are scenes that put it firmly past the pg 13 range, just like the previous book.

I would recommend this book for a fan of the series who wants to find out Eragon’s story ends. It’s hard to follow unless you have read and like the previous books.

Review: Brisingr

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Brisingr is the third book of ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ written by Christopher Paolini, published for the first time in 2008.

You need to have read the first two books of the series to make any sense of this one. This is not a stand alone book.

The story of Brisingr picks up immediately after the Drarth Vardar moment at the end of Eldest and reads like a continuation of same book. The book follows the adventures of Eragon, Roran and Nesuada as they finally take the fight to the empire.

Paolini’s writing style continues to improve in this book. Sadly his plot style continues to decline. And he doesn’t have the excuse of being fifteen anymore.

The two primary storylines follow Eragon as he fights in a war and plays at diplomat, and Roran as he tries his hand at being a military commander. The action scenes are fun to read, and that is the thing that makes the book enjoyable. The plot moves a lot faster than in the last book, but it moves perhaps a little too fast, and the way the storyline is organized is confusing.

The characters themselves react to life changing situations in a very one dimensional manner. It didn’t really show in the last two books, but this book brings it out.

This book is also moving away from the pg 13 range and moving into the grown up crowd. But it’s not quite there yet. Kind of like a 18 year old who has just gotten their high school diploma. No longer a kid, but not an adult either. Something you need to be aware of, this ain’t a kids book anymore.

I would recommend this book for a fan of the series who wants to find out how Eragon’s story ends. Otherwise you might find a hard time staying interested.

This book has good action and battle scenes however, and it’s possible for it to be a fun read if you read it for those and switch off your brain.

Review: Eldest

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This is the second book in ‘The Inheritance Cycle’ written by Christopher Paolini, published in 2005.

First of all you need to have read the previous book in the series to follow the story of this book. The plot starts where the last book left off, and is a continuation of the same story. This cannot be read as a stand alone book.

Eldest tells the story of Eragon after the events of the last book. Eragon is no longer a simple farm boy, but has truly grown into his role as dragon rider. His story isn’t over however, the struggle only gets harder from here.

Unlike the first book, the plot of this one is divided into multiple storylines and follow Eragon, his cousin Roran, and the leader of the Varden in their struggles (Which is a good thing as most of Eragon’s storyline is a training montage). And the writing itself is much better than in the first book. Paolini has clearly improved. This book is also a lot bigger than the first book.

Sadly the plot itself is a little disappointing.

It doesn’t have the fast pace of the last book and unless you are really interested in the series you might get bored. Paolini spends a long time developing Eragon’s magical and martial knowledge and he writes down far too much of it. Training montages might be fun, but not when you write every little bit of it. As for the storyline of the Varden, Paolini glosses over far too much of it. The thing that kept me interested in the book was Roran and his adventure.

I would recommend this book for a fan of the first book who wants to find out how Eragon’s story ends. It wouldn’t be very interesting otherwise.

Review: Eragon

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Eragon is the first book written by Christopher Paolini and was published for the first time in 2001. But it didn’t really take off until it was republished in 2003. It is the first in a series of four books named ‘The Inheritance Cycle’.

Granted, Paolini was only fifteen years old when he wrote this, and it shows. But he has done a great job with his skill level. The writing might not be great, but it isn’t bad either. Besides, his writing improves a lot in the other books in the series.

Eragon tells the story of a young boy named Luke Sky, excuse me, Eragon,who finds a dragon egg and becomes one of the legendary Dragon Riders. He then goes on to join a rebellion against the evil empire (Not that one) that rules over the land of Alagaësia.

Despite looking suspiciously like Star Wars with dragons, this is not a bad book.

The plot might not be that deep, the characters may not be that complex, and the world might be a generic high fantasy world with elves, dwarfs and dragons, but that won’t stop you from enjoying the story.

The secret to enjoying this book is the mindset you approach it with.

I approached this book as an adventure story. Eragon goes from simple farm boy to legendary dragon rider when he finds the dragon egg, a huge responsibility in that world. He rises admirably to the challenge and grows into his role by stories end. Of course along the way he meets new people, makes new friends, and finds a beautiful girl. There are also plenty of action scenes in the story to keep you interested.

I would recommend this book if you are a teenager or want to enjoy an afternoons quite reading without engaging your higher brain functions.

If you are used to reading fantasy stories or looking for a deep engaging story, you will find this book dry and bland.