Been reading a lot lately; most recently finished Terry Pratchett’s “Thud” and the accompanying “Where’s my Cow?” (another gift from siblings), and this morning polished off the sequel to “Eragon”, which I blogged about a while ago, which is called “Eldest”.

I was jealous that the 15 year-old Chris Paolini had managed to get published when I was failing to even maintain my blog as adequately as I’d like — but that’s completely given way to simply being impressed. “Eldest” suffers from many of the things contemporary fantasy does – slightly derivative, pseudo-literary writing style that comes across as needlessly complex at times, and a moderately predictable plot.

That said, Paolini exceeds far more experienced writers with a maturity of style that really doesn’t give away the fact that he’s only just 21, with more believable dialogue and characters, with interesting relationship development and plot twists (even if they aren’t completely surprising) – and is, in short, inspiring. Its difficult not to judge a book by what you know of the author – indeed, what I know of Zadie Smith led me to have nothing but contempt for her Booker nominated “On Beauty” – so I don’t know to what extent my judgment is coloured here, but its probably enough to say that I enjoyed it.

Bring on book three!