Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

I am disappointed. I have been trying to avoid this feeling for weeks now. And I just cant overcome it...and I'm not sure it is all my fault. Here's what I learned from Eldest:

That if you feel the opposite of excitement when you pick up a book, it probably isnt a book for you. Now I know that this book is a good book. Heck, if a million + people have read and loved it, then its safe to say its "good." But tastes are important. I began Eragon with an open mind and many recommendations. And though I didnt love every aspect of it, I got through it and enjoyed it. Yet, Eldest is not doing it for me, and I can barely read a chapter each sitting. And this is one encyclopedia sized book-over 600 pages! It seems like they are on an endless journey, and nothing ever happens. I just don't connect with this book, and that's okay.

I learned that beautiful prose is often times...well, boring. Action is what I crave (and most readers agree). I honestly dont think that if it were not for the author trying to stick to that rule in the first book (Eragon) then there wouldnt even be a second book. This happens with best selling authors. After they sell umpteen million books, they get to do whatever they want. But I think the rules are there for a reason. Getting bogged down in building a beautiful setting with poetic words is hard on the reader. We want conflict, action, swift pacing...we want to get somewhere. I am on page 200-ish (after three weeks of effort) and I feel like I am nowhere. Not good.

I learned that surprises and twists are essential to keeping the reader involved. Two hundred pages in and there hasn't been one thing I haven't expected or seen coming a million miles away. I need something fresh, new tension, and mini-climaxes.

I learned that I want to read something else. I read the first three chapters of a book called Nightshade when I was at a friend's house this weekend. I can't wait to get my hands on this book and read the rest. That book has got a serious hook and I feel like I could read it in one sitting. Call me impatient, unrefined, too critical...but I want to read stuff that grabs me and wont let go. Not stuff that everytime I look at it on my night stand I get a hand cramp because the book weighs 100 pounds!