Monday, January 26, 2009

Eragon - By Christopher Paolini

Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle (originally the Inheritance Trilogy, until the author...15 at the time he wrote Eragon...felt he couldn't fit everything in to the third book and had to write a fourth one).

I am not typically a reader of fantasy stories. I like fantasy movies. Loved Star Wars, loved The Lord of the Ring, etc. But, I tried to read TLOTR and after the first few pages had to put it down. Granted, that was several years ago and my patience has gotten better, so I might be able to read it now...but my point is that I would typically not go looking for fantasy. I don't know much about fantasy. But, I'm liking young adult series, and this is a series that many people have read.

Eragon follows the story of a young boy, Eragon, who lives with his uncle and cousin, and who are not of a very wealthy family. They live in uncertain times, the glory of Alagaesia (the country in which the live) long past with the rise of Galbatorix, and the destruction of the Dragon Riders (who once helped keep peace in the Empire). Eragon happens across a dragon egg, which ends up bringing great change to his life. After the egg hatches, and he becomes linked to the dragon, Saphira, he is eventually forced to leave his home in order to protect himself and the other villagers, but also to exact revenge on agents (the Ra'zac) of the Empire who destroy his family's land. He is accompanied in his quest for revenge by the town storyteller, Brom.

The story follows Eragon as he begins to learn about what it means to be a Rider. He is the first rider in almost a century (that does not serve the King Galbatorix). Brom teaches Eragon about magic, the ancient language, swordmanship, and the different races that live in the empire (the main ones being Humans, Elves and Dwarves). They come across interesting characters who I believe will be important in the following books. Eragon is eventually forced to make the decision as to whether he wants to join the Varden (a group who opposes Galbatorix). It is obvious this book is a set up to more in the future, as this is the book where Eragon is beginning to learn and understand what he is taking on.

And, I'm not going to write more then that or go in more detail in case you decide to read it. I don't want to give anything away. But a few things I will mention. This is actually a fantasy book that I feel is easy to follow. There is the ancient language as well as Dwarf language to have to work through, but there is a guide in the back, and most of the time everything is explained. It reads quickly and is not difficult to follow.

In reading reviews about the book after I read it, I saw that people really slammed it. Felt that it copied too many other storylines, etc. Also, they did not really like the writing. I didn't mind the writing. I'm not picky, but it made sense and it was easy to follow. I could see that yes, it perhaps did follow the plot of Star Wars. But that didn't make me enjoy it any less.

If you are looking for another series to start since both Harry Potter and Twilight are over, this one seems to be a good one to pick up. I'm already almost done the next book and will post about it soon as well.


Kristen said...

Sounds like a good series.

You guys have been busy! Glad you were able to fix the fence and get your horses out there...hopefully they will stay inside the fence :-)

I hope you do start your new job soon and it turns out to be great!

What A Card said...

This is so interesting! I've always been curious to know what a non-genre reader thought of this book, but I've never wanted to recommend it to non-genre readers since I have other fantasy novels I'd more highly recommend.

I also enjoyed Eragon (and the whole series to date), though I am especially forgiving of bad writing. I recently LISTENED to Eragon on CD, which I would strongly caution against as the weaknesses in the writing are really hard to ignore. But reading, it was easy enough to skim over the weaker sections.

Having read a lot of fantasy series, I will concur that this series is extremely derivative (yes, of Star Wars, but also the Lord of the Rings, the Belgariad, McCaffrey's Pern books, etc. I guess you could almost argue that he's borrowed too heavily from fantasy archetypes rather than from any one fantasy series.) Again, this doesn't ruin the book for me, though. It escapes being fanfic, so I'm not overly bothered that it borrows heavily from some of my favorite books.

I don't know, I'll definitely keep reading this series, and I loved your review. But I don't think this series will stand the test of time as a "GREAT WORK OF FANTASY". So interesting!

Anonymous said...

I've actually been wondering about the Eragon books. I think they made a movie recently too on one of them. Maybe i'll have to start reading these....

Kristen said...

That is so great that you have run a marathon. I hope to do one. I haven't decided where or when yet. I have to get a few more halfs under my belt before I'm comfortable in tackling a whole!

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