Continuing to try and speed-write past this weird bit between the ‘Brom’ section of this book and the ‘Murtagh’ section.
Right off the bat we have a weirdly written sentence. “When Eragon woke, his eyes were gritty, his body stiff.” I’m not a grammar professor or anything but should this not be “When Eragon woke, his eyes were gritty and his body was stiff.” My version seems to read more smoothly. Or it could even be: “Eragon awoke. His eyes were gritty; his body stiff.” Both of those seem to flow a lot more naturally than the version in the book. It’s sentences like this which are the reason why I call Eragon badly written. It’s not terrible throughout but all to frequently there’s a slightly oddly written sentence which just jars me out of the narrative.
Argh, why does Paolini have such a fascination with describing things like gemstones? I don’t think it’s really happened so far (or at least, not in an inappropriate way) but do we really need to hear about the “topaz sun“? No, we don’t. This habit gets a lot more frequent throughout the series as well. It’s annoying.
“Murtagh’s eyes became inscrutable orbs.” I will say this now: a good writer does not describe eyes as orbs. It’s the worst. Well, objectively it’s not, but it still reads like something out of a bad fan fiction. It’s one of those writing habits that just makes you think what? Sadly, this too does not lessen throughout the series.
Despite that rocky start to the chapter, things start to improve. Well, things get easier to read, anyway. Eragon has a thought which I suppose is meant to be cool or badass but instead just makes him seem like a hilariously angsty teenager: “From this moment on, I’ll live by the sword. Let the whole world see what I am. I have no fear. I am a rider now, fully and completely.” It’s obvious that this is supposed to be cool, or represent the next stage in Eragon’s evolution. Instead it just seems a bit silly. That does work though, even if it’s not in the way that Paolini intended. It’s exactly the type of thing an angsty teen would think.
Murtagh immediately proves that Eragon is not an all-knowing rider when he tells him that Zar’roc is actually Morzan’s sword. Murtagh is a bit moody about this but gets over it once he’s eaten.
“Murtagh looked at him sideways in a calculating way.” Right… “Murtagh looked at him sideways” would have sufficed.
Murtagh says he wants to travel with Eragon and they have a bit of a bonding moment due to the fact that they’re both wanted criminals.
In my last post I remarked that Brom should have told Eragon the truth about his past after he was attacked by the urgals. In actual fact, he told Saphira, and asked her to keep it a secret. He also told her the way to the Varden (or, the person to contact the get there, anyway). I can find exactly zero reasons as to why Eragon should not have been told about this sooner. He was adamant about killing the ra’zac at that time and didn’t really have any desire to go and find the Varden, so why the secrecy?
Before they leave to go and find the bloke who can direct them to the Varden, Saphira uses her mysterious dragon magic to turn Brom’s grave into diamond. I hate this dragon magic. It’s so cheap that dragons can sometimes do difficult magic or impossible things and nobody knows how.
God this was a surprisingly bad chapter.