Reading by Ear: Eragon

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
read by Gerard Doyle

Welcome to Reading by Ear and the first of my audiobook reviews. I’ve made this a separate feature from my regular reviews because I absorb a text best visually, not aurally; this is also why I’ve decided to make the audiobooks I listen to rereads. Otherwise, I feel I wouldn’t be able to provide a proper review, although these will be less in-depth than a review of a book. So, what better way to inaugurate this feature than with Eragon, the legendarily bad 2003 fantasy novel?

Let’s start with some personal context. When I was twelve, I hated Christopher Paolini. (“HOW DARE HE GET PUBLISHED BEFORE ME!” went the old logic. I never said I was a particularly bright or rational child.) To this day, I’ve got an article about his success taped to my wall in my childhood bedroom, just so I could glower at it and be inspired to best him. It took me two years to actually read Eragon, however—and I hated it. I hated it so much that my first essay on the SATs was a rant about Paolini’s unoriginality. (It got a better score than my second essay on The Great Gatsby. Go figure.) So why return to it? Well, I wanted to see Jeremy Irons and John Malkovich hamming it up in the film adaptation, so I thought it was time to revisit my childhood nemesis.

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