Title: Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle #1)
Author: Christopher Paolini
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/Children’s Fiction
As mentioned in this “Teaser Tuesday” post, all the way back in 2009 I purchased the first three books in the ‘Inheritance Cycle’ by Christopher Paolini. About two years ago I purchased the final book in the series and it’s been sitting in my to be read pile ever since then, perpetually at the bottom as I read everything on top of it, always with the intention that I would eventually dig the rest of the series out of the box in the garage. This finally happened two weeks ago (after some prompting from a fellow blogger) and after six years I began reading the series, starting with Eragon. My initial thoughts of the series, based purely on this first installment, are along the lines of, ‘oh my gosh, I can’t wait to read more’.
At it’s essence, Eragon is a coming of age story, as are most books that could fall into the ‘young adult’ category. The plot centres around Eragon, a farm boy with a seemingly mundane future ahead of him – that is, until he discovers a stone which eventually turns out to be a dragon egg. The discovery and subsequent hatching of this egg sets in motion a chain of events that sees Eragon travel far and wide across the fictional world of Alagaesia, battling evil forces as he goes and discovering new powers within himself as he does so.
For the most part the book is well paced, although at times it did drag on a little bit. I particularly found the constant travelling between towns a little bit tiresome, mostly because it was a lot of the same thing happening at these times – lots of talking, honing of sword fighting skills, and a smattering of fighting the bad guys. Despite this, I flew through the book a lot quicker than I had initially intended to, this was mostly due to the easy to read writing style of the author. While the writing itself was not perfect (although, is there such a thing?), I anticipate that the writing will improve as I move through the series, which will be interesting in itself – watching the writer develop over a few books, and seeing him hone his craft.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read and it has whet my appetite for the next three books – I particularly enjoyed the novel’s climax. While there certainly many aspects of the book (and I suppose the books that follow) that could have comparisons drawn with some truly great works of fantasy – namely the work of JRR Tolkien, there’s enough in this book to differentiate from the others and make it a reasonably original and enjoyable read. Indeed there are some rather scathing reviews of Paolini’s work on Goodreads, in which readers have essentially called Eragon plagiarised, however I would challenge those people to point out one work of fiction from the last decade or so, that isn’t influenced by the work of another author. In any case, I feel Eragon is a good starting point for young readers who enjoy fantasy fiction, but are perhaps too young to read Tolkien’s work and I honestly didn’t sit there while reading it, trying to make a connection between every event in this book, with events that occur in Tolkien’s work.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – I didn’t particularly like the character of Eragon that much – he really did behave like a petulant child at times, and it irked me to no end. My favourite character was probably Murtagh – he’s a bit sassy and has that whole mysterious past/is he good or is he bad thing happening. I’m really looking forward to reading more of him and hopefully seeing his character develop.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – obviously it’s written for a much younger target market, but I’m nearly 30 (gah!) and I really enjoyed it. I think if you enjoy Tolkien and Rowling, you’d probably like this too.
FAVOURITE QUOTE – “Eragon returned to his chair, holding the book gently. It’s amazing that a man who is dead can talk to people through these pages. As long as this book survives, his ideas live.“