Scathing Book Reviews of Eragon (Book 1 of the Inheritance Cycle), by Christopher Paolini

I remember when Eragon, by Christopher Paolini first gained media attention. It was back in 2003 when all things Harry Potter dominated the book publishing world and news, and the idea of yet another unknown author creating a breakout book just seemed made for the news cycle. Plus, the fact that Paolini was in his teens just added to the newsworthiness.

Things have died down since then, probably in no small part to the Eragon Moviethat was released, which was underwhelming to most, especially devout Eragon fans. Even so, Eragon has more than 2800 book reviews on Amazon as of August 2008. My days of fantasy reading are behind me now, but I can appreciate the enthusiasm behind “fannish” love for the Inheritance Cycle book series, and any book with a Dragon in it can get what’s left of my old 13 year old blood flowing. The readers who left these Scathing Book Reviews of Eragon, however, seem to wish that Bard of Dale was around with a well-strung arrow:

Arya is a beautiful elf princess that Eragon must rescue. Of course, he does. And everyone’s thinking “Oh, that had me on the edge of my seat!” Look, you can go play Super Mario Bros. and find the exact same idea: Mario rescuing Princess Peach. Link rescuing Princess Zelda. It IS possible, you know, to have a good book without a damsel in distress.


The prose is an unholy mish-mesh of melodramatic simple sentences… The story telling doesn’t involve characterization, so much as the descriptive details you might expect to find on a Dungeons and Dragons character sheet.


If someone had assembled a checklist of every fantasty cliche ever used in any work of fantasy ever written by anyone anywhere, it would’ve turned into this book.


Lordy – I couldn’t get past the first chapter.

Knowing nothing of the history of the book, I dived into my first copy and hit the bottom within the first chapter. Dumbstruck, I put the book down, wondering why anyone would have agreed to publish this dreck, which seemed to be the transcription of a rather boring gaming session with a lackluster dungeonmaster… In the end, I could bear no more. I placed both copies for sale on Amazon, sending one to a child in Alaska and the other to a reader in Portland. As for the child in Alaska, I suspect this will have been a welcome gift. To the reader in Portland, I am sorry.


Sure, the cover’s attractive, and sure, the author was a teenager when he wrote it — the book seems to have become a bestseller on those two factors alone, because it definitely wasn’t literary merit that’s caused it to sell so well.


I think I can honestly say this is one of the worst books I have ever read. If Paolini ever learns to stop manipulating his characters, come up with his own storylines, and cut out all annoying, irrelevent descriptive passages, he might become a decent writer.


Whatever editor green-lighted this book should never again work in the publishing industry.


Wow. I like pulp fantasy as much as the next die-hard fantasy lover (think Goodkind, Brooks, etc.). This book doesn’t even stand up to those admittedly mediocre books. It’s just bad. I can’t tell you how horribly dissapointed I was with this book. It was just…..bad.

…and the requisite mourning of American taste in reading:

Shame on the American public for having such poor taste in (fantasy) literature… This book is nothing more than modern hack writing at its worst.

3 Responses

  1. An interesting piece of work is a fiction/fantasy novel loosely based on the author: Gigi’s true childhood story.

  2. […] Scathing book reviews: Eragon […]

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