Eragon by Christopher Paolini
First off, I want to clarify that I’m aware of the similarities Eragon has with other mainstream stories. But, honestly, I enjoyed the book, and found many parts of it to be original. Eragon will always have a special place among the books I’ve picked up, and actually read all the way to the end.
I was in the throes of editing my first book, getting it ready for the editor. I was going crazy, wanting to read something solely for enjoyment. Instead, I drove myself mad analyzing how other authors failed to describe something to my satisfaction. Their word choice often irked me, too. But then I picked up Eragon. I had tried reading it years ago, but found it to be too description-heavy. As my taste in books has drastically changed, I gave it another chance. And I soon found myself swept away by Eragon’s tale of struggle and self discovery.
It starts out like most epic tales. Main character lives an ordinary life. That character finds or witnesses something out of the ordinary. In this case, it’s the dragon egg. It hatches, then giving us the wonderful and witty dragon: Saphira. Chaos soon follows. Now, here is where I’m going to ask you to do something, if you’ve not read the book. Skip the prologue. I’m giving Eragon four stars. But an entire star is lost, when I think about that prologue. I hate it. And that’s the truth. I’m trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist. Trust me. SKIP the prologue. The story is much more mysterious and tantalizing, often leaving you wondering, where is it all leading?
I love a slow, teasing build to the end of an epic tale, where the hero triumphs, although not always in a way you’d expect. Eragon has that kind of build. It can be predictable in places, yes. But there are some surprises, especially with the character of Murtagh. He could easily steal the limelight from Eragon, being the moody, unpredictable, but good-deep-down character that he is.
I confess that I had wanted to see a glimpse of Galbatorix, the master villain of the story, but I think he was only mentioned. If he was, indeed, shown “on-screen,” I don’t recall reading it. But, remember, I was in the throes of editing my own story. I had a sort of “crazy energy” going on. Yet, I was still able to finish Eragon. Paolini’s strength is definitely in description and world-building. The landscapes described, during Eragon and Saphira’s travels, are absolutely breathtaking. One especially wonderful surprise, as well, was seeing the bond between Eragon and Saphira grow. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how she changes. I get the feeling that her character is only going to get better. I’m also anticipating seeing what is done with the characters of Angela, the herbalist, and the werecat, Solembum. Hands down, these two were the most fascinating characters of the first book. I wish they had more “screen-time.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my review, and that it gives you a better idea of whether or not this book is for you.
All the best,