Book Review: Eragon book 1, Inheritance

 

 

download

 

Greetings and welcome back to yet another book review that I’d love to share with you all! 😀 I recently returned to the Eragon series to enjoy Christopher Paolini’s writing. Eragon is a fantasy epic series spanning several books.  This review will focus on the first book, and I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum.

Eragon, book 1: Inheritance

Premise

Inheritance is a big book at around 600 to 700 pages. The plot focuses heavily on worldbuilding and adventure. There are some great fight scenes and a subtle flair of romance—although this is more apparent in book two: Eldest.

Describing Inheritance in a few words, I would say—adventure, travel, and whimsical. The plot feels very unique, although it builds off traditional fantasy tropes such as elves, dragons, and dwarves (nothing wrong there).

Characters

Sadly, there aren’t many main characters in Paolini’s first book. Eragon is the young hero who finds his mentor, Brom, and a dragon hatchling named Saphira. They travel together, meeting a few characters along the way, but the overall cast feels small and lacking.

On a brighter note, the dialog and pacing within the story are excellent and some of the best I’ve ever seen. Paolini’s books are easy to read and have a fantastic immersion factor.

The main villain, a mad king named Galbatorix, you only hear about remotely, and he comes off as your traditional psychopathic villain. That may seem cliché, but Paolini presents the mad king in a charming and workable manner. Galbatorix also has lore that helps explain his past.

Magic System

The magic in the Eragon series is whimsical and fantastic, producing everything from fireballs to flight and object manifestation. It’s a soft magic system as has few rules others than the practitioner being gifted and trained in the arts.

I was surprised how quickly Eragon acquired magical techniques from Brom; then again, Eragon is the main character, so I let it slide.

Romance

Inheritance has very little romance, but it sets the stage for Eragon’s love interest in book two. Paolini did a better job at it with his second book, and it shows progression in his writing ability. Keep in mind he wrote book one when he was seventeen.

Conflict

The tension in Inheritance is predictable yet entertaining. It illustrates the timely fantasy battles you’d expect with orcs, elves, dwarves, and other creatures. At times the conflict felt drawn out or lacking, but overall it’s enough to keep the reader at the edge of the seat.

Overall Summary

The Good

Inheritance has incredible pacing and detailed dialog in a convincing fantasy world. You’re guaranteed to immerse yourself in this unique, whimsical land filled with dragons, magical swords, and evil kings.

The main characters are well written and suit their roles well, establishing a fantasy epic that ages well into later books. The reading is fluid and dynamic while challenging readers on occasion.

The Bad

Although the characters are excellent, there are only a few of them, and the cast feels small and compact. At times the premise and tension slogged or felt linear, reduced to nothing but traveling with little plot.

The Ugly

Inheritance feels linear and could have used more characters and subplots to enrich its premise. Fortunately, the second book does it all, and more—once I get to a review of that novel.

My rating for Inheritance: 4/5 stars—good

Inheritance isn’t a perfect book and suffers from a dearth of main characters and plot depth. Yet it has a beautiful, simplistic design that just works. In particular, the magic system is enjoyable to read about, and the ancient language shows immense worldbuilding that Paolini emphasizes in his later novels.

If anything, Inheritance is the stepping stone that introduces readers to the world of Alagaësia. If you’re a fan of fantasy, I would certainly recommend this book—but then continue on into the second novel to get a better idea of the series. Eldest fleshes Paolini’s world out in ways that Inheritance never did.

Thank you for reading. Have you any thoughts on Inheritance or the Eragon series? Leave it in the comments below. Love and gratitude to all my readers. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry, Writing Tips, and More

tree tunnel at daytime

Hello, hello to all my readers. It’s only a week into March and it has been a busy month. I’ve worked on my beta manuscript nonstop, seeking feedback and writing, revising chapters—you know the drill. This journey has been a long one, filled with pain and joy.

If you’re interested in beta reading, check me out on betareader.io here. If the link doesn’t work, look for an ebook with a green gem on it. Betareader is a great website for beta testing longer novels.


I’ve posted some dream segments from my beta manuscript involving the main OC, Pepper Slyhart. They’re a bit poetic and romantic, as they involve her love interest, Tarie Beyworth. The antagonist is a dragon queen, seeking to control Pepper’s heart. You can check out my latest one here.


Although it’s March, it’s never too late to celebrate fantasy and science fiction. 😀 February was #Fantasymonth, and I wrote a fun piece about my interests as a fantasy reader. If you feel so inclined, you can participate in the game here.


Last, but not least, I created a simple list about writing a protagonist, building tension between character and plot, and how to bring it all together. You can check out that post here.

That’s all for now, my lovely readers. The rest of this month promises to be a productive one. In the meanwhile, stay cool and persevere in whatever your dreams are. Love and gratitude. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasy Month!

 

Hello, my readers! I have something fun planned for today’s post. 🙂 Since February is #FantasyMonth, I’ll be participating in a little game. The gist is that I’ve been tagged to do an interview about the fantasy genre. Here are the rules of the Fantasy Month game.

Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  2. Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
  3. Answer the questions.
  4. Tag a few blogger friends – and let them know they’ve been tagged for Fantasy Month
  5. Have fun!

First, I’d like to thank two wonderful bloggers, Jenelle Schmidt, and A. M. Reynwood. Both have some excellent content on their blogs, so, be sure to check them out!

With that out of the way, I’ll get to the questions for Fantasy Month

What is your favorite fantasy book?

That’s a tough one. I enjoy Dragonlance for its characters and action; LOTR is also a fan favorite for its epic story; Mistborn for its premise and magic system; Princess of Mars for its fast pacing.

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

I don’t watch much TV. As far as movies, I enjoyed The Hobbit, Willow (a childhood favorite), and Thor (science fantasy).

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

Another tough one. It’s a tie between Vin from Mistborn, Jon Snow from Game of Thrones, and Royce Melborn from Theft of Swords. All of them represented the hero archetype, with stories of epic and challenging premises.

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

Tasselhoof Burrfoot from Dragonlance. I found him extremely amusing, supportive when needed, honest, and pure-hearted. He would often drive the story forward in unique and comic ways.

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

I’m not sure, to be honest. I usually don’t connect well with villains. But, if I had to pick one fresh off my mind, I’d choose Saldur from Theft of Swords.

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

Science Fantasy, hands down.

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

The whimsical nature of it—how anything is possible.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Asgard, from the Marvel Universe.

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

The alchemical system in Mistborn.

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

I’m currently drafting a science fantasy called Ethereal Seals: Dragonsblade. I’m not great at selling my brand yet nor do I have it fully fleshed out, but I’ll gladly give a synopsis.

Pepper Slyhart, a reviled—yet innocent—half-dragon in the world of Atlas, believes she’s worth more than what her gender or race suggests. She finds her dreary life shattered during a casual day with her friend and clergyman, Tarie Beyworth. Through the will of a hermit named Razaeroth, Pepper inherits her father’s old sword. Pepper learns of a clan of druid fanatics, bent on overthrowing Atlas’ decaying empire for the sake of civilization.  She vows to stop the druids and save Atlas as a knight blessed by the gods. Pepper encounters an unlikely host of allies who join her cause; some come with shifty ambitions.

Betwixt battles of steel, science, magic, and romance, Pepper’s anxiety grows from the mounting expectations by others. She succumbs to her inner draconic urges, losing her sanity for need of power to protect her companions. It takes Tarie and her loyal friends to bring her back. Pepper unravels the terrible price of her blade and its connection to the Ethereal Seals, an artifact that harbors the holy Ether on Atlas.

That’s all from me for Fantasy Month, but now you get a chance to share your experience with fantasy. Be sure to tag your buddies when you finish. Cheers. 😀


Hit that follow button below to stay in touch with this blog’s updates. I’m looking for beta readers for my new book, Ethereal Seals: Dragonsword. You can look for its listing here, it has a green gem on the cover. Thanks.

 

 

 

Fantasy Book review, Mistborn #1: The Final Empire

mistborn-vin-christian-mcgrath-art

Hello to my readers. I hope you all had a lovely Holloween. I’m attempting a new type of post—a book review of other science fantasy works I’ve read. This review will focus on Mistborn book 1: The Final Empire. I wanted to read the second book—The Well of Ascension—before I finished this review. I’ll keep spoilers to a minimum.

With that said, let’s delve into Brandon Sanderson’s world of intrigue—a perfect start to November!

Mistborn, the Series

Premise

Mistborn is an epic fantasy series that spans multiple books. The story also incorporates some dark fantasy elements. Each book is long—and well worth it. Expect to invest time in each installation if you so desire.

If I could describe Mistborn in three words, it would be—gloomy, epic, and intricate. There is a sense of adventure too, though most of the plot takes place within a capital city.

Characters

The main character, Vin, struggles to understand herself in a turbulent world of war, oppression, and darkness. She meets many characters in her journey, most that popped out of the page for me, the reader.

Sanderson did an excellent job with the characters. The cast came off as likable and amusing. There were a few scenes where I laughed and had to reread for the fun of it. Sanderson knows when to cut the tension with old-fashioned comedy relief—an essential element in manuscripts, by the way.

The villains were sadistic enough—and arcane enough—to warrant interest. The antagonist in book 1 is practical a god who survives decapitation, experiences immortality, and can manipulate thousands of people at will. Talk about a challenge for the protagonist!

Magic System

The magic in Mistborn is intriguing—an alchemical system where a person burns metals within the body. Each metal provides a specific power when burned. The effect is usually temporary and limited by the metal resources at hand.

Superhuman feats are common in Mistborn, so, expect some Avengers-grade thrills. The action blew me away and kept me reading. It is refreshing to see supernatural action mixed it for once rather than the usual sword or gun fighting.

My one complaint is that the action is a little confusing with all the unique terms. Brandon Sanderson could have improved on the readability during these scenes. I sometimes skimmed over the fight scenes because they weren’t easy to follow.

Romance

The romantic interest for the main OC, Vin, starts late in the book and builds up gradually. It may not read like the best romance novel—and came off a little flat to me—but it fits in well enough with the plot and characters.

Romance does play a stronger role in the second book, Well of Ascension; admittingly, Sanderson did a better job of it in the second installation.

Conflict

Mistborn is rife with conflict—another good detail of the book. I couldn’t go ten pages without feeling sympathy, pain, or anticipation. Sanderson knows how to keep the pages turning—never a dull moment.

I sometimes compared the feeling to Dragonlance—another favored series of mine.

Overall Summary

The Good

The characters, magic system, conflict, and atmosphere of the book are my favorite elements of Mistborn. It set the proper tone for a dark fantasy epic novel. I imagine I’ll be rereading it again in the future.

The Bad

The action/combat scenes were confusing, and the romance was not deep enough. I feel Sanderson could have developed these scenes more. Regardless, they weren’t terrible and never impeded the book’s flow beyond a few pages.

The Ugly

There were a few graphic scenes in Mistborn, some which made me pause (not in the wrong way, mind you). I’m all for gore and blood if it helps add dimension and immersion to a book. That said, this book isn’t nearly as extreme about it as Song of Fire and Ice (another excellent book, by the way).

Still, Mistborn isn’t for the light of heart. After all, it is a dark fantasy novel to some degree—and I still enjoyed it.

My rating: 4.5/5 stars—outstanding

Thank you all for reading. This review post was a first for me. If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions, let me know in the reply boxes below. Love and gratitude to my readers. 🙂


Want to stay in touch with updates? Hit that follow button below. Thanks.

Lately, I’ve been live streaming creative writing on Twitch. Sometimes I stream other media too. Come check me out sometime.

For more information on dark fantasy or other types of science fiction, be sure to check out my guest post here, hosted on Richie Billing’s blog. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is reading? 5 ways to stay focused.

How do we define reading? If we asked that question decades ago, anyone would say it is the study and consumption of a physical book. In the modern age, the average person doesn’t read many books anymore. Instead, they peruse more abstract avatars of information on tablets, computers, and iPhones. The way we read has transitioned as we entered the 21st century. Hard and soft cover books are viewed as traditional, while digital ebooks are the norm.

While ebooks are faster, more convenient, and cheaper to produce, they are a drastic shift in how our eyes and brain absorb information. Humans are still new to this change, and the effects of staring at a blue screen translate data differently than a paper page does. Further, the average attention span has shortened to around 8 seconds since the fast advent of digital tech. Short messages crowd online media and people want the facts ASAP, rather than slogging through at a traditional pace.

5 ways to remain focused in our busy world of technology:

  1. Stay hydrated – Our bodies run on water and the added electrolytes help the body process the information we absorb. Most people require half their body weight in ounces every day (I find that drinking 12 to 16 cups a day works for me). Get a Brita filter if you can.
  2. Exercise – The act of exercise stimulates our circulation, allowing new blood into the brain and better cognition.
  3. Monitor and limit too much EMF exposure (if possible; we’re all guilty of this to some extent) – Too much information can be a bad thing, especially if presented on a screen. Try taking breaks or parsing out your digital time. A good rule of thumb is once every 20 to 60 minutes–stand up, stretch, and stare out the window for at least a minute. Take a walk if you have to.
  4. Meditate – Long known for its positive influence on focus, meditation is an ancient remedy for a distressed and burdened mind. Even small bouts of 10 to 15 minutes may prove helpful. Your mileage may vary.
  5. Mindfulness – This goes hand-in-hand with meditation, as mindfulness keeps us in the present moment. You can do this even when not meditating.  Simply stay in the current environment and don’t let your thoughts wander. Unfortunately, it’s harder than it sounds, trust me.

Are we losing the ability to read and focus in the traditional sense? Or is this a stepping stone in human evolution for the better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


Sources:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/human-attention-span-shortens-8-seconds-due-digital-technology-3-ways-stay-focused-333474

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/i-have-forgotten-how-toread/article37921379/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

https://leaderonomics.com/functional/stay-focus-digital-world

https://greatist.com/live/five-minute-meditation-for-better-focus

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-mindfulness-can-improve-our-focus-and-productivity.html