Sunday, July 18, 2010

I'm a Meany

So, I’ve had a cold for a few days, took some sleepy meds to help last night, and had to stay awake this morning with coffee (ick). The result was a very fun, very snarky, very slap-happy discussion with the coffeeroom crew – meaning those of us who go to first service at church and have nothing to do for second.

The conversation turned to books, and one friend – who is one of the few remaining Inheritance Cycle fans I know of – remarked that it had been two years since the series was added to. Personally, I thought the first book was a fun ride for younger audiences who aren’t looking for something particularly well-written, but just want a quick little fun ride. After the second book I threw in the towel. The only good things about the first book (such as a quick pace to keep the reader engaged) had been thrown by the wayside, and the author had assumed that since he’d done well with his first novel that he must philosophize (badly) with the second. Once it became obvious that the author had gotten too big for britches, I lost all respect (read ‘mercy’) I’d had for his first book, Eragon.

The plot is a carbon copy of Star Wars. It opens with an orphaned rural farm boy, living with his uncle on a farm. An old town curiosity is the mysterious old man who knows much but keeps to himself in very mysterious ways. The quaint little farm is attacked, the uncle is killed, and the boy discovers that the old mysterious man is really a Jedi – Oh, I’m sorry, I mean dragon rider. So, the old Jedi – dragon rider – takes the boy, who turns out to be a new Jedi – dragon rider – on an epic quest. The newbie learns fun and awesome things. Then there is the princess in the dungeon, and the newbie goes and saves her. There are consequences, however, and sweet old Obi-wan – sorry, Brom – bites the dust saving the newbie. Then the remaining cast members journey to the hidden rebel base, where they promptly have a showdown with the forces of the evil Empire (do I really need to say anything on that one?). Good prevails. Later on it is discovered that the sweet old (dead) Jedi – dragonrider – trained the second most powerful villain in the Empire, who, coincidentally, happens to be the newbie’s dad.

Ripping off the canon series of Star Wars wasn’t enough for the author, however, so later on he reveals that the newbie is really his old, dead teacher’s son. Half the Star Wars fans I know of were cheering for Obiwan/Amidala complications in the prequels, so the author has simply proved that he isn’t above copying the fans of major motion picture series, either.

What about the dragons and the mindreading and the true names, though? That’s easy. Everything that didn’t come from Star Wars came from one of these other well-known stories: The Lord of the Rings (ERAGON and ARYA? He’s human, she’s an elf. Sound familiar?), Wizard of Earthsea, and Dragonriders of Pern.

Oh, and the entire point of the second book was to prove that not all homeschoolers are Christian. Just saying.

Hm. I should be my snarky self more often. This is a fairly long post.

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