A book or series you hate
Oh man. This one is almost too easy. (I say ‘almost’ because there is a book/series that I actually hate more than the one I’m writing about now…but as I haven’t actually been able to bring myself to read the whole thing, and as there’s a lot of virulent hate for it already, I figured I’d go with the lesser-hated series.)
Eragon. Or the Inheritance saga, whatever the fuck. Has to be the worst writing I’ve ever read in my life. After I finished the first chapter I felt like someone had hit my head with a sledgehammer, repeatedly. Paolini was in high school when he finished the book, and you know what?
I’m not being ageist — lots of teens have tremendous writing talent. But it is the very, very rare occasion that that writing talent has been honed for years, making said teen capable of crafting an original, comprehensive, compelling story. It is time and experience and encouragement (positive AND negative) that builds writing talent, and few teens have had that. I certainly didn’t. I started my novel when I was 12 and I finished it when I was 22. It took epic amounts of re-writing to make the beginning as good as the end.
In this book, there were obviously no rewrites. Paolini probably finished it, showed it to his parents (who were no doubt THRILLLLLLED with it and showered it with praise, little dollar signs in their eyes), and then they got it published. I may or may not be insinuating that there were favors performed for publishing execs. Publishing execs who had never seen Star Wars, read Lord of the Rings, heard of RA Salvatore, or even just fucking knew the genre. At all.
Eragon was a rip off of, well, where do I begin? It would be shorter to list what wasn’t ripped off.
Let me think.
Yeah, I got nothing.
There were dragons! They imprint on their riders upon hatching! *cough*Pern*cough* There was a totally original setting that in no way reminded one of a combo of Middle Earth and the worlds of R.A. Salvatore’s Forgotten Realms series. IN NO WAY. I cannot STRESS that enough. It was COMPLETELY ORIGINAL.
The family of origin stuff with the main character was totally normal. There was no orphaning. At all.
And there totally wasn’t a sometimes-creepy Luke-Obi-wan relationship between Eragon and his mentor, Whatshisfuck.
But my complaints do not rest solely on Paolini’s ability to imagine things and create a world unmistakably his own. My complaints rest on the dense, unreadable prose.
Allow me to review the book, emulating Paolini’s writing style.
So there was this guy Eragon who like found an egg or some shit and then this dragon hatched out of it and he kept it a secret while he tried to name it and there was this funny bit where he realized it was a girl dragon and then he named her Saphira and then he went to talk to this creepy old dude in his village about dragons or something and the dude obviously knew a lot but was being cagey for some reason I have no idea what the fuck and then there was training to ride Saphira (unf unf unf) and then Eragon’s family was killed, or something, by VERY! POWERFUL! BEINGS! who were out to get him and the dragon so he and his creepy old dude mentor have to run away or something and they do but they can’t ride Saphira because she’s a baby dragon or something and they get into battles and adventure and stuff and at some point Saphira gets totally pissed off at Eragon but then she totally gets over it, I guess, and they continue on, and then I’m not sure what else happens because I sort of blacked out and when I awoke I was in a soft room, wearing a jacket that let me hug myself, and when they finally let me out for good behavior there was still blood under my nails.
*takes a deep breath*
AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN
and then I went to see the movie, to see if I could understand the plot better.
The movie was worse, because they took a great actress like Rachel Weisz and then fucked up on the voice syncing with Saphira’s CG image so all her lines sounded wooden because they didn’t match the dragon at ALL and man, if it had been me I would have, well, I never would have been involved in the first place BUT IF I HAD and that had happened I would have called Wayne Brady and asked him to choke Christopher Paolini.
I still don’t remember the plot. I remember John Malkovich had a sword and was dark and angsty.
I mean, for fuck’s sake, the book’s only claim to flame I MEAN FAME, really, I mean, because it has NO LITERARY MERIT AT ALL, is that Chris P. wrote it when he was in high school. OH OH OH MY GODS A YOUNG AUTHOR HOW AMAZING THAT’S SO FUCKING COOL WHEEEEEEEEEEE.
I had an autographed copy of the book because he was at the Maui Writer’s Conference the year after I attended [as a young novelist], and my mom went and got me a copy because, well, Eragon was the next hot thing.
I swear upon a stack of Kama Sutras that my opinion of the book was in no way influenced by the fact that I was incredibly bitter that he got famous before I did. (Really, I went into it unbiased and objective, and came out of it crying, running to my roommate’s room and saying “The book touched me in a bad place!”)
My roommate finished the book for me and explained the plot, agreeing that it was horribly written. When the second one came out he got it and — behold! There was a little paragraph at the beginning, summarizing the events in the first book. THE LITTLE SUMMARY PARAGRAPH WAS A BETTER TELLING OF THAT STORY. I SHIT YOU NOT.
Because that was the problem — he took what would have been a good first two chapters and draaaaaaaaaaaaaagggggggeeeeeeeeeedddddddddddd iiiiiiiiiittttttttttttt ooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuttttttttttttttttttt until his readers cried tears of blood and begged him to stop.
In conclusion, I think his hands should be chopped off to prevent him from inflicting more of his terrible, terrible writing upon the world. (Restraining order in three, two, one….)
Though I do think it’s unfortunate; were it not for his horrible plague of bad books, unleashed upon the world like tainted grain from Andorhal (yes, I’m a nerd), I would actually think him rather attractive.
Sigh. Another piece of eye candy bites the dust. ‘Sokay. He’s too old for me anyway. I can’t keep up my reputation of being a cougar-in-training if I suddenly start going for older guys.