Christopher Paolini: Eragon

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Book One: Inheritance Cycle

Once upon a time in a world known as Alagaësia dragon’s ruled the world alongside their riders, but one day a rider known as Galbatorix betrayed his fellow rider’s and hunted them down killing all the rider’s until there was none left. With no one to oppose him, he named himself ruler over all of Alagaësia. The freedom fighters, known as the Varden, fled the empire and hid in the mountains waiting for a miracle to even their odds against the king.

Many years later Arya, an ally of the Varden, is ambushed while carrying a stone stolen from the king and she is forced to magically cast it away. Eragon, a young man living with his uncle and cousin on the outskirts of a small village called Carvahall, finds the stone while hunting in the Spine and takes it home with him. A few days later the egg hatches and a baby dragon named Saphira is born. Eragon happily raises Saphira until one day two Ra’zac come to town looking for the egg. Managing to escape, they hide in the forest, but when they return Garrow is dead and the farm is burned to the ground. Seeking vengeance for his uncle, Eragon leaves town with Brom, a teller of stories who seems to know more then he pretends.

I’ve intentionally left the summary extremely short because so much happens in this story. To tell you anything other than who Eragon and Saphira is would ruin the book. From the very start you can see a writing style similar to J.R.R. Tolkien’s and some might say too similar, but while obviously borrowing from his inspirations there is enough original content of his own to give Paolini some credit as an author. That’s not to say it is an easy read though because it isn’t.

Firstly, know what you’re getting into… the minute you open this book you will see a map of Alagaësia. Anytime you see these maps you get a good idea of the kind of adventure you’re in for; a long slow paced tale of magic and mystery. Eragon is exactly that. The book starts out slowly and only get’s slower, but that’s ok because you knew this was coming right? Good.

As a single book there’s not much I can say for Eragon except that Paolini did a remarkable job for being sixteen at the time. The world is beautifully articulated with every detail described perfectly. If you can make it through this slow book, which you should because you knew it was coming; you’ll be left with many questions and very few answers. That’s ok though because you can start on the next one right away instead of waiting for it to be written.

Despite my criticism that this is a slow tale, I’m not saying this book is bad. I will say that it is not as good as its sequels, but that’s to be expected. Eragon sets up a magnificent tale which you have to keep reading to fully understand.

If you enjoy books like The Lord of the Rings, then you’ll appreciate the fine detail and meticulous setup that Paolini puts into Eragon. A must read series of books, but not as an individual book… so go out and get the next book. I give Eragon an A-

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