I never would have suspected this book to be so completely balls-out insane. I will be the first to point out that I’ve reviewed lots of weird books and accused them of being insane. But this one…
This is what happens when you try to write a nonfiction book after doing your research only through third or fourth-party sources. And when you are a person who is constantly amazed that the normal laws of physics and biology do not apply to fantastic fiction (which is why it is called fantastic fiction). And -most importantly- when I suspect that you have just smoked tons and tons of weed. Enough weed that you’ll just start writing about any damn thing that you think is cool just because it’s your book and you *can* write about whatever you think is cool, dammit. Who gives a crap if it doesn’t have anything to o with anything?
After a while, this became the literary equivalent of “Pokemon Quartz“.
I dare you not to read the quotes in Tina Faye’s Sarah Palin voice.
The Best Parts:
Page 5 – Fell Beasts are not dragons! Tolkein was very specific about that!
And more importantly, let’s try to list every single example of people riding on dragons in fiction without mentioning Anne McCaffrey.
Page 6 – Oh, wait. There she is.
Page 10 – Oh no the tree is alive!!!
Page 11 – “Have there ever been Elves and Dwarves that are similar to the ones in Eragon?”
Page 12 – “ZOMG, did you notice that ‘Eragon’ is ‘Dragon’ but with one letter different!?!” 😄
Page 16 – “AND Eragon and Arya sound kind of like Aragorn and Arwen!”
Holy crap, I never would have noticed that if she didn’t point it out!
Page 18 – “Hey, do you know what other stories have Elves in them? Stories about Santa Claus!”
Page 20 – “Look, you can’t prove there ISN’T a dimensional rift leading to a Magical Land inside my closet, so how can you SAY there isn’t one in there?”
Now, this and anything not in “Classic Quotes” isn’t an exact quote from the author – BUT she does make arguments like this and I paraphrased them a bit. Anyway, this is exactly where I started to smell the crazy off her.
Page 24 – I have, naturally, already seen this “some Fairies are descendants of Angels who were banished from Heaven but were too nice to be sent to Hell” legend before. But I have never seen it written out in a way that made my eyes bleed.
Page 28 – Instructions on how to meet the Elves. I… I’m speechless (see “Classic Quotes” below)
Pages 33 – 34 – Holy. Sh*t. (See “Classic Quotes” below.)
Page 35 – Boo! How come Water Elementals don’t get a batsh*t insane and completely out of f***ing nowhere story?
Page 40 – Eragon eventually develops his own “Twilight Sparkle“? >:)
Page 46 – “Look, if you want to learn more about these myths and legends I am listing off, go and read them yourself. I can’t be bothered to summarize them for you; I must write more insane B.S. about Justin Timberlake throwing fruit at things.”
Page 52 – I… Uh… WHAT?!?
Page 54 – Woo, shout-out!
Page 59 – “How about I list some ‘Dragon’ sports teams just because I can?”
Page 74 – She’s… using… Dragonology… as… a… primary… source…
Page 77 – How about a Moose-Dragon? Or a Sparrow-Dragon?
Page 82 – Our Dwarves Are All The Same. 😦
Page 94 – “So, were there any characters like Durza the Goth-by-Numbers Dark Wizard Guy, or his Not-Orcs, or the bug-guys, or the cat-guy in folklore? I wonder. Oh well. On to the next chapter!”
So… that entire chapter was completely pointless.
Page 116 – “Oh, hey, yeah, I was talking about Eragon!”
Page 120 – “But why don’t I talk about Zombies because I can! Even though they do not appear in this book series at all!”
Page 125 – She is now in the middle of a half-assed explanation of Quantum Motherf***ing Physics, tossing out terms like “Lodestone Resonator” and “Maxwell’s Equation” to the kiddies without even bothering to explain what they are and -more importantly- WTF they have to do with Eragon.
Page 131 – I think I need to take a picture of this one:
Page 135 – Oh God… can you EVEN imagine what this woman’s analysis of His Dark Materials looks like?
“Some of the characters in the books are Angels. Angels are often shown in the form of beautiful people with wings. Ladybugs have wings too. They are often used as a natural pest control and I will talk about this for five pages because I can!”
Page 141 – “Palmistry isn’t mentioned in Eragon, so I won’t talk about it at all here.
“OK, now I’ll read my own palm and tell you what the marks mean, and what they say about these uncomfortably personal stories from my life that I’m about to tell you all about! Won’t that be fun to read?”
I swear to God.
Page 147 – I… I need to take a “mental health break”.
Page 148 – I can’t think of a single real life precedent for long and terrible wars started over stupid misunderstandings.
Page 157 – Nobody is aware that Shrek was a book.
Page 166 – (Nessie gets out her mop and cleans her a-sploded brain off the floor and ceiling.)
Classic Quotes and Excerpts: Once again, I’ve been paraphrasing the author’s actual lines of thought throughout. But these direct quotes are the f’real deal:
“If your father is living at home with you and he happens to be six foot six and looks like one of those World Wrestling Federation muscle men, then maybe you can trek into the midnight forest clinging to the back of his shirt… If a teacher finds the vial on you, tell the truth, as in, ‘No Captain Major Smithies… these aren’t drugs in the vial. This is my Fairy Ointment, and I smear it on my eyelids so I can see Fairies.” – Page 28
“Let’s suppose you see a red and orange lizard zipping around your backyard. The lizard scoots up a tree, then falls and hops onto your big toe. It plays dead. (Lizards do this, I know, because I used to live in California, and there were lizards all over our backyard, playing dead for our cat.) So, here’s this lizard, presumably dead, and it’s on your big toe. Like a total bozo, you don’t flick the lizard off your foot. Instead, you take a nap. Along comes your friend, Justin, and he’s in a really bad mood. Justin has just broken up with his girlfriend, Brittany – or wait a minute, maybe that was a different Justin – and he’s… two yards away from you, throwing fruit from your lemon tree at the fence across the yard. Now, he switches to peaches. He’s making a huge mess… You say, ‘Stop throwing my mother’s peaches against the fence! She’s gonna kill me!’ The lizard flips into the air then opens its mouth really wide and half swallows your big toe, hanging on to your foot for dear life. ‘Ouch! Get outta here!’ Now, you’re yelling at Justin and the lizard… and the lizard is having a good ol’ time.” – Pages 33-34
Mind you, I cut out quite a bit . But the thing is, all of this is in the middle of a chapter about ELVES.
“You will look ridiculous and you will smell funny.” – Page 37
Things I Learned from this Book:
* – “Shakespeare is a very famous and important playwright who you will study in high school.”
* – “Some Fairies are spirits. Spirits who manifest from the thoughts and spirits of all life. Fairies are therefore created from the essence of our spirit that is everywhere anytime.”
* – “Giant Pterosaurs lived for 135 million years. They died out 65 million years ago along with the nonavian dinosaurs. Humans have been around for a little more than 3 million years. They never even saw Pterosaurs. So it TOTALLY makes sense that humans all over the world would think of legends about flying dragons!”
I swear to God…
* – The scent of honeysuckle flowers will help attract a flock of helpful forest Fairies who will follow you around. Also bees.
* – Mythical beings tend to be the products of seriously dysfunctional families.
* – Hey did you know that Walt Disney did not invent the story “Snow White”? Because in case you did, there’s a whole chapter about that in this book.
* – Saphira has something in common with Sephiroth.
* – “Quest” is a term used only in video games.
Things That Can Save Any Book:
Cool Creatures? A magic lizard who bites your toe while Justin Timberlake throws fruit at things.
Creative Ideas? I can’t say they aren’t creative.
Memorable Characters? Fairies with a thing for mushrooms.
Memorable Setting? The batsh*t insane recesses of this author’s mind.
Nifty Illustrations? Actually, they are nice.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink to forget this book.
Jon throwing fruit at things.
The Ultimate Unauthorized Eragon Guide: The Hidden Facts Behind the World of Alagaesia copyright 2006 to Lois H. Gresh. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin. As in a major publishing company. Wow.
ISBN #: 0-312-35792-3