So.  I read Eragon.

Yeah, I know, about time, but I was one of those dig in your heels people about Harry Potter, after all, not bothering until 2002.  (When I was in high school, I worked in the children’s section of the library and saw little ones pass up Lloyd Alexander and stuff in favour of this phenomenon, and this was before the films.  Thus, my indignant vitrol.)  It took the movie coming out and discovering that Christopher Paolini was born on the exact day I was–and I mean day/month/year, which ruins my plans to be famous–to really get me to do anything about it.  That, and my doctor, of all people, recommended it when he saw me reading The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy (1996 edition) while waiting for my appointment.

Eragon is no Alexander.  Hell, it’s no Harry Potter.  It is ridiculously derivative, and not nearly as creatively as Rowling; not to mention that the writing, particularly in the first part, is clearly inexperienced.   There are only a few vague attempts at female characters (the inherently beautiful village girl!  the ethereal elf!  the warrior princess type!), demonstrating the same cliched sexism, and everyone is straight.  Not to mention that the fight scene at the end is almost incomprehensible and the concept of denouement is apparently completely beyond wee Paolini.  To put it crudely, it sucketh the dragon’s bum.

The problem is that it’s compulsively readable.  For serious.

Though maybe I’ve been jonesing for crap fantasy lately, Eragon was the cheesy popcorn of my literary world last weekend.  You know, the kind that costs 99 cents and it’s this big huge bag and you get it at Wal-Mart and it turns your fingers a brighter orange than even Cheetos do…and you sit down and fifteen minutes later you realise you’ve eaten three quarters of the bag.  And apparently Eldest, the sequel, is worse, suffering from Middle Book Of A Trilogy Syndrome (see The Two Towers, which consists of Frodo and Sam walking).  I don’t know why anyone would pay money for this. I got my copies from the library.

But I’d read Eldest, if I actually remember to get it next time I go.  And if all the misguided little ones of my town haven’t checked it out.  You’ll recognise me by my blaze orange right fingertips.

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