“Eragon” was my family’s audiobook of choice for the trip back from our summer vacation. Guess you can’t win ’em all — I stopped paying attention a few hours into this audiobook. This surprised me, because I remember wattching the movie on DVD with at least some interest. But the book — the cynic in me finds it all too easy to believe it was written by a fifteen-year-old.
The problem is with the title character. Eragon’s an ingenue, and there’s a long tradition of such characters in fantasy/science fiction literature. But instead of Katniss Everdeen’s resolve, Harry Potter’s courage, Frodo Baggins’ compassion — we get a whiny, petulant adolescent, constantly demanding answers he doesn’t deserve to receive. I tried to stay engaged, hoping the character would grow, or at least grow on me. Didn’t happen.
Maybe my reaction (shared by everyone in my family) to Gerard Doyle’s narration is having too much influence on my opinion. Atrocious is the only appropriate adjective, especially when assessing his performance of the dragon Saphira. Imagine someone planning to imitate Christian Bale’s Batman voice, deciding at the last minute to imitate Jim Dale’s Hagrid, and coming up with a voice that sounds like someone gargling sandpaper. Yup, that would be Doyle’s Saphira.
“Eldest?” Think I’ll pass, thanks.