Really people, I mean, think about it. Have any of you ever seen Star Wars? I mean the old ones. You know, when the young man goes off with an older mentor. Then his uncle is killed by the bad guys. Then the young man rescues a princess with his rogue friend. For Pete's sake, "Eragon" is like an exact replica! The plot is entirely predictable and so are the characters. The fact that the setting and races of people being stolen from Tolkein doesn't bother me nearly as much since so many other fantasy books do this. And I've never read Dragon's of Pern, but from what I understand, Paolini's dragons/dragon riders are pirated from that as well. Every time I go online and read the reviews and EVERYONE (or nearly everyone) is giving Eragon five stars and saying it is the best book they have ever read, it greatly pains me. What is wrong with people that they can't see plagerism when it is right in front of them!
And then Paolini in an interview has the nerve to say that he thinks his books are comparable to Tolkein's! It plain makes me sick!
Honestly, I don't really care about the actual plot of Eragon. I like creative plots with plenty of twists or something totally surprising, but I'm willing to overlook the fact that Eragon is a retelling of Star Wars set in Middle-earth with Dragon Riders instead of Jedis. Same way as I'm willing to overlook the boring characters. But what about the writing? The writing can hardly be considered mediocre. The dialogue is so unrealistically proper sounding, and the sentence structure is choppy. Or maybe that's just all the details that are thrown in that add nothing to the story. Really, Eragon could have been a good book--not great or anything, but good--if the writing were actually decent. Regardless of how close it comes to plagarizing other popular works. I would have liked so much better if I weren't rolling my eyes at every other sentence. Then it drags on and on. So much happens that adds nothing. In my opinion, this book was very poorly edited. If about two hundred pages had been cut and the book been practically rewritten while keeping the same plot, it would have been much better. Still no Lord of the Rings, but a decent enough fantasy work.
How did this book get published? Simple, it was first published by Paolini's Mommy and Daddy, who then went on a big marketing campaign among the ignorant masses who were unaware of its blatant ripping-off of other works, before Knopf finally picked it up when they saw how popular it was becoming. In other words, Paolini has never had to deal with a REAL editor's criticism (who would certainly have rejected this piece of crap right off the bat) or rejection which affects most aspiring authors. Hence his extreme arrogance on the respective merit of his books.
Frankly, this book is entertaining. It is not great literature, but I have read it several times. There is a very simple reason this book got published: it is an excellent book for it's target market (10-15 yr old boys) and the publishers knew it would sell well. It's a KIDS BOOK for crying out loud.
Who cares if it's a kid's book!? No child should be brainwashed with this crap! All the multitudes of kids who read this think it's wonderful. 10-15 year-old boys who enjoy this need to see Star Wars , and they need to get out there and read some REAL fantasy!
You are acting like Star Wars is so original, which is isn't the plot follows the classic "hero's journey" which Lucas discovered when he read Joseph Campbell's "A Hero's Journey." I found the book entertaining.
I'm the opposite. I can handle unoriginality, even terrible writing, if the characters are good. That's the whole point of fiction, for me -- apart from "visiting" other places, other worlds -- to connect with the characters.
You just described the holy J.R.R. Tolkien himself, and I love you for it. Who cares about Tom Bombadil? I don't! I don't care about the color of the leaf on the tree next to the bush on the path the horses took past Tom Bombadil's either. I hated that about Tolkien. The details form an image. Some people have the attention span for creating a Tolkien-resolution image (insert "leaf...Tom" here) within their mind. The rest of us can only handle so much before we get bored and skip a few lines to an action verb.
I'm not a big fan of this book. The protagonist was kinda annoying, and I got the vibe that he was a little arrogant too. Really the only time Luke was annoying was when he whined about power converters. Eragon seemed too much like Anakin Skywalker.
Actually, the only thing Lucas took from Campbell was the overall idea of the "Hero's Journey," which in itself is very broad, and some of the symbolism (which was likely lost on most of the audience.) The Hero's Journey is composed of multiple, general parts: "Call to Adventure," "Supernatural Aid," "Crossing the Threshold," "Initiation/Conflict," Return."
Stories tend to all follow this structure, although how they follow it is different. For example, Campbell does not say that the protagonist must be from a poor, farming background. Rather, the heroes of most of the myths of old were generally royalty.
The sad reality is that Paolini could have used the Hero's Journey and made a story completely unique from Lucas. Such gross plagarism was not necessary at all.
To Soli Deo Causa: Just because a book is written for young adults, it does not mean we should be lax on quality. Rather, because they are still developing their own language skills, a higher quality of writing should be demanded by parents.
Sure he borrowed from every popular fantasy in the media. But so did Jordan and Brooks. Neither Jordan nor Brooks had help from parents, and neither were as young as Paolini. I think Eragon is just as well written and just as original as The Wheel of Time and the Shannarra series- which is to say that all of them were majorly, heavilly influenced by Tolkien and others and that all were written with similar skill in the modern "pacing is everything" style.
I enjoyed reading the first book in all three series (Eragon, Wheel of Time, Shannarra), but none of them had what it takes to make me read the second. I find those three writers pretty much equals. So why pick on Paolini? Just because he's a spoiled little kid?
Having said that, if I read one more fantasy that starts out in a village and then a "dark rider" comes to town, I'm going to go into a serious depression about the fantasy genre. Is Donaldson the ONLY modern fantasy writer who doesn't have to have one? I really hope GRR Martin and Terry Pratchet don't stink up their books with such obvious Tolkien theft; I'm running out of options so I'm going to have to read them sometime.
"Hero's Journey", the "rule of the Greek bards", whatever - of the special hero - is not copying. A lone farm boy living with relatives that gets help from an old man, a scoundrel, and a princess while being chased by the Emperor is NOT.
D.K. Gaal... The thing is, Tolkien knew where to put his descriptions - in places where description was needed, admired, and/or put away in a dark corner because it's inconvenient. Or something. However, with IT, not so much.
"Eragon started to walk up the steps when he gazed at the door. It was the most beautiful door he had ever seen. Unrelated Exposition Exposition Exposition Exposition (I envy anybody who's seen One Man Star Wars Trilogy and knows where this comes from...)."
To diego777......Um.....The reason you're here is not exactly clear to me.
To Layden: Paolini is a "spoiled little kid" who managed to get enough hype around him so kids think that this is all they need. No original writers? How about Gene Wolfe? Anne Mccafrey? To some extent MacHale (My favorite part was in the Pendragon series where the uncle got shot in the face by an Kalashkinov. Classic ownage) ? Gene Wolfe? I mean, jeez....
And I just looked at the part where someone said they were Jedi, not Dragon Riders. I never noticed the difference until now, but....NOOOOOOO!!! (voiced by James Earl Jones) No plagiarized story can be complete without someone that sounds like Grover!
I think there's a reason that Entertainment Weekly ranked the second Paolini book as the worst book of the year. It's derivative tripe, badly written, and not all that interesting. There is "Hero With a Thousand Faces" heroes journey stuff, and there is Tolkien/Star Wars mash-up. When you know what's going to happen in a book based on the contents of its influences, you know you've wandered into juvenile copying.
People are always raving about Paolini's age. So what? Judge art on its own merits. Does art that is dreck from one person become great if it's by another? I would argue no.
I wouldn't say plagiarism, but I would say failure of originality. And it pains me when people praise this book, as it makes me realize that they haven't read critically or haven't been exposed to actual good literature. It's like someone thinking that Kidz Bop is great music simply because they've never heard actual good music.
Just to clarify, Lucas borrowed from Campbell's book The Hero With a Thousand Faces published in 1949. The Hero's Journey is a documentary about Joseph Campbell produced in 1987 with a companion book published in 1990. Regardless, the entire point of Campbell's work is that many cultures (if not all) have epic myths of a hero who goes on a quest, encounters supernatural forces, battles the bad guy, becomes a man, discovers his true nature, and gets the girl (or some other gift). But like most of the comments here have pointed out, it is quite possible to do this in an original way - refer to the Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh or The Mahabharata to see how unique this basic plot can be.
I tried reading Eragon and couldn't get through the first chapter due to the writing style so it could be a copy of When Harry Met Sally for all I know.
To Zinnia - I have never read this hero's journey thing but it seems to come straight from Tolkiens work if I say so myself. But knowing nothing about it I won't say more abou that. To write good fantasy all you have to do is be orginal and know how to write correctly. By that I mean you need to look around you and get your story ideas from your own life or history(including ancient history). Yes your work will resemble Tolkien's work probably just like C.S. Lewis's and Ursula K. Le Guin's does to some extent. But it will not become something like Paolini who was aloud to publish a book that was fine for him to write at such a young age but not to publish since it so clearly takes from other's writing. That's called plagerism folks if ya'll don't know that already and it's illegal though his parents owning their own publishing company were a looking through rose colored glasses when they read it and so published it for him anyway. I honestly feel sorry for him until I hear that he compares his work to Tolkien then I want to laugh hysterically while I burn all copies of his books in my backyard and then go buy everyone who thinks I'm wrong a copy of Tolkiens work or any of the other authors work I mentioned above.
i am 14 and completely in love with the series i along with many others of my age group prefer this to tolkein i tried 2 read the hobbit 4 school and was soooooooo bored i then picked up eragon and could not put it down it was finished in like 3 days i recommend this 2 anyone and everyone
I liked this book the first couple of times I read it, but it had different titles each time. One was "Joust" and it was written by Mercedes Lackey. There were others as well. This book got a lot of attention because it was ripped off - um, I mean written - by a 14-year-old. I came up with the same stuff when I was 14, I just didn't write it down. It is one thing to make use of tried and true concepts, it is another thing to flat-out copy previous works.
i had a family friend gift me this book for Christmas a few years back and I found it to be one of the worst fantasy books I had actually taken the time to read. Perhaps I just had more of an attention span, but I had read and thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit and the entire trilogy at your age. Obviously I read Eragon at a much older age, but I can still read The Hobbit and the LOTR material on occasion and enjoy it whereas I wouldn't recommend Eragon to anyone...even a child. This author is lucky his parents gave him an easy ride to success as I have read stories 10x as good from friends and colleagues that have yet to get picked up by an agent or publisher.
Please,People get your definitions straight. he didn't "plagarize" anything (that would mean copying word-for-word). Sure, he borrowed concepts from SW, LOTR, and other sources... but concepts themselves are not copywritten. (If they were I could name about 10 people I could sue...)
I always thought that SW was just Arthurian Legend in space, ...not that it's not a good movie. It is. But even it is derivative from other sources. ALL writers do it...some just more noticably than others.
Gorbag: Well if the point of this discussion was to start being rude to people who did enjoy the book well congrats you just won i am able to say that is fine that you liked the hobbit better and I applaud you for your magnificent brain that your well honed attention span could take that book even though Eragon was a bit longer just saying but we all have differences of opinion and preferences so you keep reading your Tolkien and i will happily go back to my Paoloni
I think the point is, Tolkien's work is many, many times more sophisticated than Paolini's work. Length has very little to do with it. Tolkien was a master, and you are probably too young to appreciate a work of such literary merit. However, even if you are just searching for entertainment, there are plenty of books with original concepts that are fast-paced and easy to get into (with far better writing and plotting than Eragon).