Monday, 18 May 2015

The Improbable Finish

At last! I'm finished reading the Inheritance Cycle! It's that dragon series that came out a while back - Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and the surprise fourth book, Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. I'd read all the way through about 3/4 of the third book (Brisingr) before I quit reading years ago, back when the fourth book had yet to be published. I remember really liking Eragon the first time I read it (which was about the sixth grade), but re-reading them has opened my eyes to the horrors of Paolini's writing. It really is not good at all. For an even better critique of the books, please check out the ever witty and fun posts written up over here, by "Swankivy" (just click the titles of the books), for a laugh and commiseration on the slog through reading the Cycle.

I sped through the first books - Eragon, I accidentally read in 8 days. After that, I wanted to see if I could read the entire series in a week a book, and I succeeded for the next two (6 days apiece), by dividing the number of pages by 7 so I knew how many pages to read each day. I got ahead of myself with those! The last book, though. . . . I was so worn out with the series. But if I didn't finish it already, I never would. And the point this year is to finish the books I hadn't had the time to do so before!

Then I devised a way to get through it.

Some of my handiwork - it was the only way to get myself through reading the final book. I'll actually miss the ability to read with pen in hand and have good uses to put it to while reading!

 There was simply so much that didn't need to be part of the book. Descriptions of how things worked or where things went and what went on on a normal day - all these things that had no effect on the rest of the story were left in with no apology. Random usage of 'fancy words' (thus, heretofore, whereupon) that didn't sit well with the rest of the narrative; extremely poor dialogue, particularly on the part of Nasuada (she's a leader of the rebellion, of armies and magicians, and deals regularly with other royalty/nobility - she's not going to say 'Oh' to
add on new information. Just a pet peeve.); and
massive information dumps. There are times (such as when the sword Brisingr is made in the third book, or when Saphira is flying to Vroengard in the fourth), when you just know he Googled 'how to make a sword' or 'how planes fly through storms' and wrote EVERYTHING down in the book. Not a bit of information, EVERYTHING. Pages and pages of every detail, rather than some exciting parts or relevant happenings.

There are other points that are off, particularly in this book. Glaedr is able to outfly a younger dragon because his foreleg (not his whole leg) is cut off, and Nasuada is able to tie a spoon to her leg WITH HER OWN HAIR and is able to retrieve it later to escape from her prison. Just. . . . . . come again??

Paolini also develops a fascination for nails and thumbs in this book. Random moments are inserted where someone's nail snags and they sand it down, Eragon compares his thumbs with each other in detail - how many wrinkles are on one joint, that there is a scar on one, which must have happened since such-and-such a date. . . .
 You start to think that this must be relevant SOMEHOW. If this were a movie, and it suddenly paid close attention to someone getting something out of their pocket, you would assume that this action and this object is important. When a detail is brought up - repeatedly - you begin to think that surely, somehow, this detail is going to be important at some point.

But they never are.

These thumbs and nails never make any
difference to the story. Two pages are devoted to the type of nails Nasuada's jailer has, and apart from a compliment she makes later to him - he smiles in return - these nails never come up again. THEN WHY ARE THEY THERE??

It's part of story writing. If it doesn't have a bearing on the rest of the story, then it doesn't need to be there. It's not a biography - the boring details of life do not need to be included when
they make no difference to whatever else you're writing of.

 But at last they are done!

2,828 pages all told, over the course of 55 days. I'm pretty chuffed with it. And I never have to read it again! I never have to wonder how it all concluded! Now I can just say - it wasn't brilliant, glad it's over, time for something better!

Very, very gratefully, I'll be moving on to finishing up the Shamer Chronicles (got the first
one read and out of the way already), and then we'll see what's next! So far, that's 19 books read this year!

I think I'll be posting monthly updates on the books read this year, and have a final, all together shot at the end as well. Next post up shall be the pictures for January through April, with the final for May at the start of June. And we'll see where my read-through-the-stash takes us!