Eragon is Code for Dragon

Eragon_book_coverSo I know I’m behind on my comments and such- just had a busy week and I’m hit by a freight train shattered (yes, yes, in my exhaustion I come up with bizarre metaphors) but so that I don’t totally neglect my blog, I’ve got a quick review today for a book I neglected to read for years.

Ever since I was a teen, I had so many people telling me to read/not bother reading this book, that they loved/hated the first one, and that it got so much better/worse. Because of these mixed messages I could never decide if it was worth reading. It seemed to be a book that divided opinion so much that there was no doubt I, as someone who tends to feel quite strongly about most things, would find myself firmly in one camp or the other. In the end, however, it was just… average.

Let’s talk about what I liked first: the dragons. I’ve said it many, *many* (MANY) times on this blog- I’m a sucker for dragons, though I’m very picky about how they’re done. As a massive Hobbit fangirl, I tend to use Smaug as the bar by which I judge all other dragons- I like them scaly, spiteful and smugly hoarding gold. Now, Saphira was no Smaug, that’s for sure, but she was unique and interesting and most importantly I bought that she was indeed a dragon (note: calling something a dragon does not make it a dragon, just like calling Edward Cullen a vampire does not make his sparkly ass a vampire). This was the kind of dragon I can get on board with and not feel like I’d been taken for a ride by the blurb 😉 Instead of the usual *this is a dragon but not really* as so many cool books seem to do these days, we literally got people riding those dragons, so *kudos* and *bonus points* galore.

smaug 4.gif

So yes, I did appreciate that aspect of the world-building. The other elements of the world did stand up under scrutiny, however- and now we’re getting onto the things I did not like- it was very cliché. I may be a sucker for dragons, but c’mon even if a book says “the next Tolkein” on the blurb, I do not actually expect the book to pinch 90% of the ideas from Tolkein. There’s being derivative and then there’s taking the piss. Dragons, elves, and dwarves- really?! Look, I get it, we all wrote this stuff at 14… but there’s a reason why it’s unpublished.

And on the subject of it being written by a 14 year old, all credit where credit’s due, buuut it reads like a 14 year old wrote it. The plot meanders too much, doesn’t have great focus and at the same time it’s awfully predictable. On top of that it’s very s l o w. A lot that is because of the ridiculously long descriptions- and I’m a description kinda gal, but I realllly don’t need superfluous accounts of someone’s helm– it’s just not necessary! And in spite of the fact you can practically see the numerous edits (I bet if someone tested the literary DNA of this manuscript they’d have a field day, cos they’d see what a Frankenstein does exist) it was *still* clunky and unpleasant to read. Again, this most likely comes down to the age and inexperience of the writer, but I frequently found the dialogue didn’t flow well or had the pretentious touch of someone trying to hard (I’d say the best eg is actually in the acknowledgements where he writes “I thank you”, but the truth is I just stupidly didn’t write down egs while reading, so that’s the best I’ve got). And if you don’t believe me about how weirdly pretentious it is, look no further than the opening sentence:

“Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world.”

Ermmm- ye wot?! That seems more like what the first line to Perfume should be. It sacrifices logic for a little sensory exposition that inevitably bears no consequence on the actual story. (Also *shudders* at the pathetic fallacy cliché- ouch!)

In the end, I did not regret my time with this book, it just wasn’t very memorable and I have zero desire to continue this series (*cue all the people saying “but it gets so much better”*- I don’t care, I really don’t). I can’t say I totally understand why so many people told me “I have to read this”- it’s not an “I have to read it” sort of book- it’s more a “take it or leave it” sort of novel. I certainly could have lived without it, considering I like books to bring me something *new*, some piece of information I don’t yet have, maybe even unlock something I haven’t clued into about me as a person. After reading this, I came away with two not particularly revelatory pieces of information about myself:

  • I like dragons. A lot. *A lot a lot*. But…
  • Dragons cannot carry a whole book for me, even if I like how they’re done.

I know, *shocker* right? 😉 Ultimately, for all the ranting and raving about this book out there, it’s very much something to shrug your shoulders over. I gave it:

Rating: 3/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

Protip: even though my rating is higher, the Goodreads 1 star reviews on this were *gold*, highly recommend checking them out if you’re up for a giggle.

So have you read this? Are you in the love it or hate it camp? Or are you drifting somewhere in the middle like me? Let me know in the comments!

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96 thoughts on “Eragon is Code for Dragon

  1. Naty says:

    Nice review! I remember reading Eragon many years ago and liking it, but cannot quite get myself to read the whole sequence… also I read it translated to Portuguese, which probably helped with the chunky writing being smoothed a bit. You’re quite right though, it’s not a must read at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    I have never read Eragon, but strangely enough I have seen the film, and even though there was a lot of hate for that movie, I did not think it was that bad really. After reading this though, I might have to check the book out at some point. If you like dragons, you might want to check out the Dragonlance saga, especially the Chronicles and Legends trilogies 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mudandstars says:

    I’ve never read Eragon, and quite probably won’t because despite loving dragons, like you said, they can’t carry the whole book, and it sounds like this was quite average and unoriginal. I think it’s cool that the author got published at such a young age though! And I really enjoyed reading your review. Your line about Edward Cullen cracked me up. Also, unrelated, but as I was reading your review my boyfriend glanced over at my laptop and mistook the orangutan with a book on its head in your header (aka the picture of you) to be ‘a naked Father Christmas’. Just thought you would like to know! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. littlepandareader says:

    I remember reading Eragon as a kid and what was really good about that series is the relationship between Eragon and Saphira. I do agree with you the plot is slower than a snail. And it get worst in book 2. After I finished book 2 I did not continue the series because I wanted to slap Eragon so much in book 2. Humans are always making book about dragons less attractive 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  5. M.E. says:

    I’ve never read the book, but I did receive it as a gift last Christmas. It’s still on my TBR pile…and I’m not sure when I will get around to reading it. Great review though, I loved how truthful you were with your feedback. Definitely loved the note “(note: calling something a dragon does not make it a dragon, just like calling Edward Cullen a vampire does not make his sparkly ass a vampire)” – made me chuckle! I love dragons too and that is why I thought I might enjoy this book. I’m still planning on reading it, so we’ll see where I fall after. Again, thanks for your fun and honest review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nel says:

    I always thought about reading it but never did. I saw a snippet of the movie and that completely killed all my hopes of ever picking up the book. Congrats on picking it up in your adult life cause I definitely won’t. That ship sailed long ago, haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe I was the same (though I only saw a trailer for the movie and have *no* desire to see that) The only reason I picked it up more recently was cos two friends told me to- one saying the first one was good but it got worse and the other saying it got so much better- since I’d heard that the whole way through my teens I thought it might be a sign…. I was wrong 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nel says:

        You know, that’s how I feel about the twilight series. I read the first book and people kept swearing that the series got so much better after New Moon cause I thought Twilight would have made a great standalone. Then I started New Moon and never finished it and that’s when the series died for me haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          hehe you know I felt *exactly* the same way about Twilight- I actually think as a standalone it would’ve been fine. hahahaha gosh yes- New Moon was so bad- tell me you didn’t get to Breaking Dawn- cos that really was the pits and you needn’t have suffered through it as I did!!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nel says:

            Hahaha nope. I was reading New Moon and literally stopped cause Edward disappeared so I skimmed the rest to see when he was coming back and got pissed that it wasn’t til the very end and quit the book. I wasn’t interested in the wolf story line not even a little bit hahaha

            Liked by 1 person

            • theorangutanlibrarian says:

              Hahahaha good call!!! Nor was I- it was totally shoe horned in just for the sake of the love triangle and forced drama (it’s actually one of the worst love triangles I’ve ever read, cos he’s constantly pushing himself on her and she’s constantly pushing him away, until *plot twist* he falls in love with her baby… I wish I was kidding) 😂😂

              Like

  7. Charlotte says:

    I read this when I was younger, like 14, and couldn’t get through it! I had wanted to read it for ages because my friend loved it. I actually was curious about it a few weeks ago and saw those 1 star reviews, which made me feel better about DNFing it!! Unfortunately I’ve had the whole series sitting on my shelf for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Krysta says:

    I read the first three books even though the first one is predictable, has terrible prose, and does seem to throw together a bunch of elements from other fantasy series. The series gets increasingly terrible as it goes along. The prose continues to be overwrought (and repetitive) plus Eragon and Co. all get super powers or something so it ends up that they can slaughter like hundreds of people single-handedly. It felt like a weird video game fantasy. Plus there’s the girl whose name is not Arwen. She reads more like the fantasy woman of a teenage boy’s dream than a real character. It was too much. Somehow I couldn’t commit to book four. I think it’s because each book could have and SHOULD have been cut in half, but I guess if you sell enough books editing isn’t a priority for anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehe yes very true!! Oh gosh good to know. I really don’t want to contnue it now. That’s just a bit ridiculous. hahahahaha so so true!! hahaha true!! I read in the acknowledgements though how many people edited the book, and when it got to something like the tenth editor/contributor (including family members like his dad) I just thought “and all of you together still couldn’t get this into shape huh?!” cos to my mind the prose was the stilted and it was too long winded. So yes, however much they edited this, it still needed more.

      Like

      • Krysta says:

        I think it got published initially because people were impressed a teen wrote such a long book. And then it sold well because, hey, dragons and fantasy and cool stuff. And then it just got out of control. And yet I did read the first three books, so…

        Liked by 1 person

        • theorangutanlibrarian says:

          hehe welll actually it got published (and this is straight out of the acknowledgements so I’m not making this up) because the parents owned their own publishing house. They spruced it up and eventually sold it onto a bigger publishing house- who I’m sure were excited by the fact a teen wrote it. But yeah, I’m sure the dragons sure did help with the marketing 😉 Yeah, I do think there’s a reason why before I knew all this I kept putting it back on the shelf at the library- something about that first line- man, it’s not my thing.

          Like

  9. Nil says:

    I really loved this series, but I was a lot younger when I read it, and I might not have liked it as much if I read it now. It still has a special place in my heart for me, right up there with Harry Potter. But I get why a lot of people do not like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. daleydowning says:

    I could never justify finishing the series, either. I literally almost gagged at the absolute ripoff of Tolkien (nearly to the point of fanfiction/plagarism in some spots) and I honestly don’t remember if I even finished book 1. To me it’s amazing how people publish stuff like this, then get all up in arms when some folks say it’s just another version of LOTR — *duh*.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yes very true!! The only reason why I didn’t come down as heavily on that (as a lot of the other reviewers did) is cos I’ve read books that I consider more of a ripoff (or even just by virtue of this coming after reading those, it feels like less of a ripoff). Yes so true!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. LizScanlon says:

    I think I saw Eragon the movie was on TV not 2 days ago … gave it a pass, though… I have seen the series talked about but for some reason I never felt like exitedly picking it up… Those 1* reviews are all pretty much to the same tune- sounds like a seriously description filled book 😀 I’ll pass on this one, however- definitely admirable that it was written at 14/15 years of age… not bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Yeah I felt the same way about it- I saw it in the library a million times before I eventually caved- and that had more to do with friends telling me I should get on and read it. I don’t really get the fuss though. Hehe yes, I think it was just one of those times after finishing reading something where I needed to hear that this was not all it was cracked upto be lol, cos when I finished I just thought “what am I missing here?” Yeah pretty impressive!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sophie @ Blame Chocolate says:

    Oh I’m sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy this one as much as expected… Well, expected by other people, anyway xD I don’t plan to try Eragon, even though DRAGONS because, and especially after reading your review, it just doesn’t appeal to me.
    If it reads like a 14 year old wrote it – clunky, messy, unfocused, not to mention pretentious – and is basically 90% unoriginal, then I’m sorry but I’m out. I’ll try and get into better dragon books. Do you have any recs? ^^
    Wonderful review! *I must go check those 1-star reviews now mwahahahaha*

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thank you! hehe yeah, it kind of only semi-surprised me that I didn’t like it- cos for everyone that said I should read it, someone else told me it wasn’t worth bothering with. I only read it recently cos two friends ganged up on me and said I had to… they were wrong 😉
      Yeah I think that’s a good call- I picked this book off the shelf enough times and couldn’t be convinced by the blurb or the quotes from the book on the back. It’s just not worth it. Hehe apart from Game of Thrones and the Hobbit I’m *super* fussy- there’s Guards Guards of course, if you want something funny 😀
      Thank you so much!! hehehehee hope you enjoyed!!! 😀

      Like

  13. deepthiunnikrishnan says:

    Oh I absolutely agree with you on the fact that this does read like a 14 year old wrote it.. 😀 surprisingly the books do get progressively better – so by the time i reached the 4th book, I did feel like my efforts to persist with the series had been vindicated. Thankfully!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. tejasvi anand says:

    I do love Eragon, it’s one of my favourite books. Probably not in the Harry Potter league but definately not as low as Divergent. I think it’s the kind of book that grows on you, because I didn’t like it that much the first time I read it either. But I’ve read it a million times since then and I really like it. Like you I go a mad on dragons as well, that’s one of the reasons why I liked it, because he didn’t make dragons dumb creatures just used for flying around, but saphira can actually think, and makes important plot decisions. But that comes into play more in the next books. I know you said you’re not going to read the whole series, but I really think you should, there are whole Caravan of plot twists that you definitely won’t see coming. Happy reading 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      That’s fair enough- I know a lot of people that love it. Oh well that’s good to know. hehe that makes a lot of sense- I feel like if I’d read it when I was younger my love for the dragons would have carried it and I wouldn’t have noticed other things as much. I agree! Saphira was awesome! hehe yeah one of my best friends loves the direction it took and has been nagging for me to read it… somehow I can’t bring myself too though 😉 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Never Not Reading says:

    This is the first Eragon negative review I’ve read that’s fair in any way. Usually they just go off on nothing. I will say that I, personally, didn’t think the dialogue was pretentious (in THIS book, it gets waaaaaayyyy worse), and I didn’t find the pacing slow. Granted, I read it in HS, so maybe age has to do with that too. Also, if you WERE to keep reading (will not try to convince you to do so) I think you would find the Urgals, Elves, and Dwarves a little bit less of a Tolkien rip-off. Especially the Urgals.

    I am curious which books about dragons you didn’t think they were actually dragons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Thanks very much! hehehe yes there are worse books out there for sure. I did find it slow though, especially cos it took me longer than it should have for the length. But, I do think that had I read it in high school my love for the dragons would have outweighed most things and I wouldn’t have nitpicked as much. hehehe thanks for not trying to convince me- to be honest my best friend’s been bending my ear on this series for years, cos she loved where it ended up, and says it gets more original too- but I somehow can’t bring myself too 😉 I just think I missed the boat on this as a teen and now I’m not interested.

      Hehe well basically any book where they’re whiny teenagers (so Talon, Firelight etc)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    I’ve wondered about this book for YEARS, but have never picked it up. I remember my little brother reading & enjoying this series, and I even bought this book for my nephew last Christmas. He enjoyed it… but he is also 13 lol I wonder if this book appeals more to younger readers…

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehe yes I definitely think that’s the case. And I feel like I’d have gotten a lot more out of it (and complained a lot less) had I read this when I was younger, cos some of the elements, like the dragons, really were great and I wouldn’t have been wrinkling my nose at the writing quite so much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Aislynn d'Merricksson says:

    I neither love not hate it. I’m in the ‘meh’ camp. I have them all, and have read the first three. Eventually I’ll read them all. I love dragons, of course I do! My anthropology thesis was on dragon mythology around the world, after all 😀 I think the covers are beauties at least. I agree, though, that it is too cookie-cutter Tolkein, and didn’t pull it off well. At least Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms have things to make them unique, even with their own Tolkein influence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehe snap!Hehe who doesn’t love dragons? Wow that’s so cool that you did a thesis on it though- impressive!! And yes, you’re right. I’ve not read those (though I should) but I do find that a lot of books can have similarities without feeling too similar.

      Like

  18. Katie says:

    I think I read Eragon three times when I was in junior high and high school. That being said, I never finished the series and I wouldn’t count it among my favorites at all, even though, like you, I LOVE dragons. There are some cool things in these books, but I just ended up not caring enough to finish the series off.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. snowlyramble says:

    Gosh, I read Eragon a few months after it was published (I won a book token for perfect attendance). I was 12 and this series was my jam! As such I will always have a soft spot for it, but I do agree with your comments! Paolini does have the pretentious vibe going on, and there is so much description it can be a slog (particularly in books 3 & 4, my god). I did like book 2, Eldest, though, that was pretty fun! This is a really good, well thought-out review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Well congrats! I get that! I do think if I’d read it when I was younger I’d have been much more into it (and wouldn’t have noticed certain things as much, like the writing) hehe yeah I’ve heard that about later books. Thank you! 🙂

      Like

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hehehe well it’s definitely not a bad book and there were lots of things to like- especially the dragons (that nearly carried this book for me, it just wasn’t quite enough)
      hehehe yes!! I’d love to hear what you think about it 😁

      Like

  20. Nicola @ Thoughts on Fantasy says:

    Great to hear your opinion on this one, you’ve summed the strengths and weaknesses up really well! I’ve read it and I felt similarly. The dragon was well done, but the clichés, clunky passages, slow pace and meandering, predictable plot meant I wasn’t thrilled by the book and didn’t continue the series (also characters sometimes made illogical decisions that were obviously for the sake of the plot/to try and create suspense). Maybe if I’d read this as a kid my love for dragons and fantasy adventures would have kept me going and I wouldn’t have noticed or minded, but as an adult too many things jarred for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Lashaan (Bookidote) says:

    I remember when this first came out. The cover was soooo enticing, I really wanted to pick it up, but something was telling me that it wouldn’t be that great. Then when I started reviewing, I’ve seen all those negative, hilarious reviews and definitely cut it off my mind and never thought of picking it up. It does sound like it has a lot of issues and I don’t think I would’ve been as kind as you were with the rating too hahaha Great review as always! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Sahi says:

    Wow.. I remember reading this long ago when I was in college. Those were the days when Fantasy only meant Tolkien and Harry Potter to me coz I hadn’t read anything else. So, I was totally in love with this. I have a very distinct memory of buying the third book in the airport on the way to US for the first time. So, this series will always have a special place in my heart. But I am sure I will never be able to get through it now, even if I tried too hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Zezee says:

    Well… usually I’d say you should continue, it gets better, yadda yadda yadda, but since rereading the books, I gotta agree with your critique here and since the second novel took me about 5 months to reread because it was boring n more pretentious than the first, I’d say it’s okay if you skip it. Still, the story is pretty interesting. Maybe listen on audio if you decide to return to it.

    Liked by 1 person

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