Eragon by Christopher Paolini (Book 1 in the Inheritance Cycle)
WARNING: there may be some spoilers in this review
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure
Publishing Info: Corgi, January 6th 2005
Star Rating: 4/5
Summary: Eragon follows the story of a young farm boy called Eragon who, while out hunting to find food for his family, stumbles upon what he believes to be a stone. The ‘stone’ is in fact a dragon egg and the dragon Saphira hatches from it. These two are bonded as Dragon and Rider and therefore inseparable. Eragon begins a journey across Alagaesia to avenge his murdered uncle and join the rebel force, the Varden, to fight against the Empire.
I shall start of by saying this is one of those books that you either love or hate. When I first read this I was completely in love with it; but after reading some reviews, and looking at the book again, I began to notice some of the things other reviewers had pointed out.
By no means is Eragon a perfect book, for a start it was written by a fifteen year old, how could it be perfect? One of the key criticisms I have seen, and agree with, is that Paolini took too many ideas from other authors. Obviously authors gain inspiration from other people’s writing but what Paolini failed to do was make the story his own. Eragon has been described as ‘the first Star Wars film with a Lord of the Rings paintjob’ and after thinking about this I am afraid I would have to agree. The events that take place in the book mirror the original Star Wars film incredibly well. When you read Eragon you don’t necessarily notice this at first as it’s been disguised with dragons and a fantasy world which blinds you into thinking the work is unique and original. (Although if you like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings you might not mind this all too much).
Another problem with the novel is the characters, all of which aren’t that memorable. The dragon, Saphira, is incredibly lacking in character development and Paolini treats her more as a plot device than a character. Eragon seems to gain skills at an incredible rate; he may be a ‘Rider’ but he still seems to develop skills a little too quickly. Also, at times a lot of the descriptions are unnecessary or dragged out for far too long which can get a little tedious.
There is a little light on the horizon, however. I found the history of the Rider’s and the world Paolini built around that a great point of the story. That is what drew me in as much as the plot itself. I found myself wanting to know more about this link between Riders and Dragons and the more I learnt the more I was intrigued.
Even though there are some problems with the book I cannot deny that I thoroughly enjoyed it and still love it. If you pick this book up without a critical eye, and read it for fun then it is a very enjoyable book. I have now read the whole series, so it can’t be that bad if I read to the end, right? Overall, Eragon is a good, but not perfect or amazing, fantasy adventure which is enjoyable to read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy though it does take a little dedication to get through it.