This book has some frightening parallels between it and Myers’ work. Besides the obvious author avatars, there are the dull plotless stories that try injecting tension into their tepid work at varying times. It’s like these terrible authors are subconsciously aware of how mind bogglingly stupid their story is and they desperately try to mix it up. But not even Shake ‘n Bake can save rotting chicken.
‘Oh crap. I’ve got a huge manuscript sitting in front of me and I just realized nothing has really happened. Uh, I could kill a character but I love my avatar and supporting cast too much. Maybe I could introduce a child, that always works in sitcoms. Hmm, how about a transfer student? No, that doesn’t even make sense. Wait, I know! I’ll just have the bad guys show up to generate conflict and ignore the implication that should have wrapped things up ages ago! I can’t believe no one’s thought of this before!’
This chapter is called ‘hunting for answers’. I think it’s a little late to start looking for answers, Eragon. Just pull out your magic and your sword, then point them in the direction of the end. If something gets in the way that either of those can’t handle then throw the dragon at it. We don’t want your particular brand of answers, thank you. We know your author only serves off brand.
“This way,” snapped the bald man. He stepped back, keeping the dagger pressed under Murtagh’s chin, then wheeled to the right, disappearing through an arched doorway. The warriors cautiously followed him, their attention centered on Eragon and Saphira. The horses were led into a different tunnel.
If the horses were led down a different tunnel, how does he know? Shouldn’t the horses simply be missing? The first paragraph in and you’re already making more questions than answering, Chris. This is exactly why I didn’t trust this chapter title right off.
The bald man with the knife and the ‘warriors’ escort Eragon to a room. They want to be rid of him because his very presence has drained them of all importance and made them in to paper thin stormtrooper clones. Why they think he needs Murtagh and Saphira, is beyond me. I guess that’s how we know he’s not evil, just a dick.
Eragon tries to tell him about Arya and he interrupts him saying something about testing. Luckily Eragon went over those Encyclopedia Plotannica’s his uncle owned so he’ll be able to answer any questions you throw at him. Here’s a hint to the Varden, ask him about French history. That’ll trip him up.
The bald guy wants to do some testing but Eragon, in his usual manner, circumvents the rules and gets them all focused on Arya. Off she goes to ‘the healers’ and Eragz(the dick) goes back to testing. For some reason the dwarf keeps threatening Ergaz that the king will have his head if he screws up. Hey, if the king is single I know of one Red Queen who’d be perfect for him. Ergaz proceeds to scan Eragon’s mind without the cool effect Michael Ironside could manage.
Don’t do that! cried Saphira. Her thoughts joined his, filling him with strength. You’re putting Murtagh at risk! Eragon faltered, gritted his teeth, then forced himself to remove his shielding, exposing himself to the ravening probe. Disappointment emanated from the bald man. His battering intensified. The force coming from his mind felt decayed and unwholesome; there was something profoundly wrong about it.
Nice description, Chris. Unwholesome how? Give us some real detail, even overwrought metaphors would be fine. You say decayed which is the closest to painting a real image but then you break it off and go generic. Tell us it felt like rancid oil being forced down his throat. Tell us he felt sick to his stomach or that he shuddered at the touch. If you feel it’s important enough to comment, then paint us a real picture. Don’t charcoal a wireframe and call it done.
Saphira can help him hide thoughts but only if they get to them first. So Eragon digs up thoughts about Brom and Murtagh and they hide them just before he’s found guilty of thought crimes. Unfortunately Ergaz puts the rat mask on him anyway and our hero develops a crippling phobia of common rodentia. Ergaz checks over Eragon’s mind once more, unable to believe it is quite so sparse before declaring that he means them no harm. Then he turns to Murtagh.
Murtagh, somehow, has mind defenses that are the mental equivalent of NORAD. Ergaz tells him he’d better open says me and he says no. His berserker blood stoked to boiling, Ergaz bites into his shield and leaps at Murtagh. The dwarf steps in and stops a fight from breaking out which starts an argument between the two.
The dwarf wants to know if Murtagh can use magic and Ergaz says no. Well he’s safe then. Ergaz says they’ll stay in the room for the evening though, never mind the backpack full of explosives. What a cruel bastard. Next thing you know he’ll send them to bed without any dessert. The Varden leave Eragon and Murtagh alone. This leaves them with only one option. To arm wrestle and figure out which one of them is top.
Or it’s just an excuse given so Murtagh can go over his Dark Past™. Let’s see, there were thirteen of the Forsworn and Murtagh’s convinced he’s the only kid any of them had. It sounds like someone wishes he was special.
“My parents met in a small village—I never learned where—while my father was traveling on the king’s business. Morzan showed my mother some small kindness, no doubt a ploy to gain her confidence, and when he left, she accompanied him. They traveled together for a time, and as is the nature of these things, she fell deeply in love with him. Morzan was delighted to discover this not only because it gave him numerous opportunities to torment her but also because he recognized the advantage of having a servant who wouldn’t betray him.
Because evil people aren’t real, they can’t feel love or pain. It’s not just enough that he kicked a guy in the nuts or that he killed a bunch of other dragon riders. No, he’s just a manipulative bastard who used people but was content to serve Galbatorix. Blah blah blah, Mory(I’m pronouncing it like Maury) taught wifey some magic and used her to relay messages until she got pregnant.
Mom had Murtagh then disappeared, some of the Forsworn died, Murtagh sat around in a mansion hidden by magic. Murtagh’s mom came home suddenly and died after a fortnight. Then suddenly Gabby finds him, has him raised, uses his Wormtongue powers on him and makes Murtagh fight for him. Murtagh fights for him once then felt real bad about it. That’s when he started looking for the Ra’zac who were looking for a new rider.
With his dull story over, the Varden feed them and they go to sleep. Saphira says Murtagh could be lying but Eragon doesn’t think so. True, it would take a devious mind to make up a story as dull as that. In fact, it would probably hurt even a pathological liar. Heck, I think he should have lied just to make things interesting. Having eaten, our intrepid decide to conquer their next foe, weariness. They close the chapter by going to sleep. That’s just barely more exciting than watching people try on new socks.