Listened to: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

113436For as long as I can remember, we never listened to music on long car rides. Nope, we were that homeschooled family who listened to YA fiction audiobooks on family vacation.

I’m 23 now, and I actually look forward to long car trips…so I can pick out an audiobook. It’s the epitome of multitasking—driving and finishing a book!

I will admit, though. The trick is to find a decent narrator. Growing up, we would rent several books on cassette, just so we could make sure the narrator was good. If they weren’t, the giant cassette cases were banished to the trunk for the remainder of the trip.

I’ve read Eragon before and loved it. Paolini’s writing style reminds me of a less windy version of a Tolkien book—I know, there is plenty of talk of him plagiarizing and stealing from Tolkien, but really, have you read many fantasy books? There are dragons, trolls, dungeons in mountains, magic, elves, etc. There is going to be overlap, and people are going to borrow ideas. Anyway, though I found myself pulled into the first in the series, I never finished the Inheritance series. So, when the husband and I decided to take a 5-hour trip to Salt Lake City this past weekend, Eragon was the chosen audiobook (we will now be finishing the series, too).

To begin, let me start with the narration: it. Is. Fabulous. Gerard Doyle is amazing. In fact, I would say he’s now my #2 favorite narrator, after Jim Dale. Doyle’s voices, tone, and inflection are superb. You know when Eragon, Brom, Saphira or Arya are talking. He makes the fight scenes exciting and intense, speeds up boring conversations, and makes the story interesting to listen to.

On to the story—as I mentioned, it is very LOTR-y. In fact, I could definitely draw some parallels between the two:

Aragorn/Eragon, Arwen/Arya, troll dungeon fights, etc. However, I am a lover of fantasy, and I understand that not all stories will be original. For Paolini’s age, his writing is actually quite good, though it does get annoying when every chapter ends in sleep or unconsciousness.

My favorite character of the entire book is Saphira—she’s a very catty dragon, and certainly speaks her mind. Doyle’s Saphira voice is pretty terrifying, and even uncomfortable at times. I suspect this is why I like her so much.

Overall, I would rate Eragon 4/5 stars—partly for Doyle’s awesomeness, partly for nostalgia, and partly because I do enjoy a decent dragon story.

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