Eragon

Published October 6, 2012 by myliteraryleanings

Review of Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Overview from www.bn.com: Now in paperback! Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

My Review:

I have been looking through the books that I have been reading recently and realized that I have been neglecting a certain genre for a while—Fantasy. In an effort to remedy this, I looked through my local library’s digital library online to see if I could find anything promising when I remembered that I had always meant to get around to reading the Eragon series.

I searched for the first title in series and had to add myself to the wait list because it is apparently still that popular. Finally, after weeks of waiting I received an email stating that it was waiting for me to download in the next seventy-two hours.

I worried at first that I would not finish this one before my check-out period expired but it turns out that I needn’t have worried because I finished it in less than a week. Yes, it was long but I kept wanting to read just one more chapter to find out what’s next. Pretty soon one chapter turned into three and I had to force myself to stop sometimes so that I could get to bed or get something else done.

The story is the classic quest type of Fantasy novel where an ordinary teenaged boy, Eragon, finds a strange object while out hunting deer one day. Thinking it might be worth something, he decides to take it back with him. This becomes even more necessary when he is unsuccessful in killing any dear and has no money to buy food. He hopes that he can barter with the local butcher instead to buy some meat but when the butcher discovers where he found the stone, for this is what Eragon assumes the object is, he refuses to have any part of it.

He is later bailed out by a neighbor who forces the butcher to sell the meat to him instead. However, events are already set in motion but Eragon doesn’t know it yet until one night the “stone” hatches and out comes a dragon. The creatures are not known exist, except for the one that the king has, and yet here it is. Eragon decides to keep the dragon and the secret of its existence which is where his adventures start.

Eventually the king and his minions come looking for it and in the process his uncle, who raised him as if he were his own son, is killed. Eragon can’t go back home now for they know who he is and furthermore, he has vowed to avenge his uncle’s death. As he and the dragon leave the only home they know, they are joined by an aging story-teller who is more than he appears to be on the surface.

The story reminds me a lot of Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien. True the details of the quest are totally different but both stories retain all the great features the quest Fantasy novel should have. For example, the great advice by older and wiser characters than the hero. Before he dies, Aragon’s uncle tries to impart wisdom to both Aragon and Roran, his uncle’s son, with these words:

“’I have words for both of you. It’s time I said them…. First, let no one rule you mind or body. Take special care that your thoughts remain unfettered. One may be a free man and yet be bound tighter than a slave. Give men your ear, but not your heart.’” P.62

The second thing that I noticed was the great descriptive passages that both stories have. This passage is about a time when Eragon tries to use magic from afar without considering the toll that it will take on him.

“The drain on Eragon’s strength was sudden and massive, making his heart flutter like a dying bird. He gasped, eyes rolling. He struggled to sever the magic’s hold on him—to plug the breach through which his life streamed. With a savage growl he jerked away from the magic and broke contact.” P.327

I am running out of time here so I will list no more examples. If you want to see examples of how The Lord of the Rings compares, I can only suggest you read it. I also strongly recommend you read this one as well. It is well worth it.

Contains: very little objectionable material, some violence is all that I found.

Below is the trailer for the movie that tells the story of the book also, in a nutshell.

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