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Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)

by Christopher Paolini

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

By

Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Knopf, March 2003
ISBN: 0375826688


Eragon, the first novel in the Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini, is a story about a farm boy who finds a dazzling sapphire-blue stone which, as it is revealed later, is in fact an egg that hatches a blue-scaled dragon. The dragon, Saphira, establishes an unbreakable bond with the young man who learns that he is the only dragon-rider to have come into existence in many years; and that he will have to choose whether to resist the evil king/dragon-rider Galbatorix or surrender and join him. With his home destroyed and his uncle murdered by the Ra’zac (evil dragon hunters employed by Galbatorix) Eragon sets out on a journey with his mentor, Brom, to learn the dragon riding craft and enact his revenge on the Ra’zac. In essence, Eragon has all the traditional ingredients that make a fantasy novel enjoyable.

While Eragon is a very entertaining story, Paolini’s writing is still somewhat immature. This should be expected as Paolini began writing Eragon at age fifteen and published it through Knopf at age nineteen. His gift for storytelling notwithstanding, Paolini borrows a bit obviously from the authors that inspire him: For example, his mimicry of Tolkien’s proper names
(“Mithrim,” “Farthen-Dur,” “Beor Mountains,” and “Urgals”) is a bit distracting at times.

The novel’s pace is quick and exciting throughout most of the book. Packed with action and magic, Eragon is a fun read. The only lag was the 40 page, desperate last-leg of Eragon’s journey. Not a lot actually happens during this time with the exception of the group worrying about their situation, and this has the unfortunate effect of turning the reader into critic. However my suspension of disbelief was restored once the travelers reached the Varden and new adventures ensued.

Paolini shines at creating interesting characters without a great deal of depth. In particular, Eragon is rather flat, vacillating between being heroic, cocky, reckless, and petulant. Saphira, Murtagh, Solembum, and Arya yield the promise of further development, and hopefully their characters will reveal more complexity in the later novels of the trilogy. Additionally, Paolini’s dialogue is quite good with a few exceptions during which he dips into “noble speech” (all but saying, Thou art mine enemy). What is obviously his true style, the more natural conversation, constitutes the majority of dialogue in the novel and is better suited to the overall writing style.

On an entertainment value scale of 1 being “not remotely entertaining” and 5 being “exceptionally entertaining,” I would rate Eragon a 3.8. It’s fun, the characters are interesting, the plot is engrossing, and you know the good guy will win (or at least I hope so). The next book in the trilogy is Eldest, not due out until August, 2005, but you can be sure I’ll be present at my local bookstore when its publication date finally rolls around.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
, Member miriCurran

i have had this book since it came out and i have read it a least 10 times. i would recomend it to everyone who enjoys a good fantasy.

10 out of 13 people found this helpful.

Mark Flanagan

Mark Flanagan
About.com Contemporary Literature

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