by Christopher Paolini
was fifteen, less than a year from manhood. Dark eyebrows rested above
his intense brown eyes. His clothes were worn from work. A hunting
knife was sheathed at his belt, and a buckskin tube protected his yew
bow from the mist. He carried a wood frame pack.” (pg. 6)
Eragon is just a boy living in a small village called Carvahall. He
doesn’t know who his mom and dad are, but he’s lived with Roran, his
cousin, and Garrow, his uncle, since he was little. His family can
barely make a living, and he can’t read or write. He knows how to
farm, and isn’t bad at hunting, but his life is nothing special.
Carvahall is part of a vast region called Alagaesia, which is ruled by
an evil tyrant called Galbatorix. To one side of his village there’s
an enormous forest called the Spine. It’s a dangerous area filled with
wild animals, and most everyone that enters does not come back alive.
Eragon is an ordinary human, but there are many other races such as
dwarves, elves, and dragons.
Dragons are an extremely powerful race with a lot of unique
characteristics. There are only a few in existence, but all have
immense strength and physical ability. They can breathe fire and live
longer than other races, but their most underestimated characteristic
is their wisdom and intelligence. Dragons stay in their egg and wait
for the right person to come along. They hatch for that one person,
and right when they’re born, a special bond is created between the
person and the dragon. From then on, they are called Riders. They can
communicate with each other with their minds, and they are more like
one person than two. The Rider becomes stronger both physically and
mentally, and is able to use magic. With the help of his dragon, he
can cast spells that an ordinary sorcerer would not be able to. The
Rider also lives as long as an average dragon would, and gains several
other abilities that help him use his powers for good or for evil.
Even before Eragon was born, Galbatorix assembled a group of Riders
called the Forsworn to do his bidding. He killed all remaining Riders
and took over as king of all of Alagaesia. He himself is a Rider, and
is now one of the only ones left.
As Eragon continues to grow up and mature, he and his family depend on
him more and more to put food on the table. He has always wandered
into the Spine in order to hunt, but unlike others, he’s not afraid of
the forest and has never been wary of it. One day, when he goes out
with his bow and quiver full of arrows. He fires at a deer and misses,
notching another arrow to his bow immediately.
him, where the deer had been, smoldered a large circle of grass and
tress. Many of the pines stood bare of their needles. The grass
outside the charring was flattened. A wisp of smoke curled in the air,
carrying a burnt smell. In the center of the blast radius lay a
polished blue stone.” (pg. 7)
He thought it might be worth something, so he gave up on the deer and
went into the village, looking for someone who would buy his shiny
stone. No one offers him much, so he keeps it for himself. Overnight,
the stone hatches, and it never was an actual stone; it was a dragon
egg. He has no clue as to what to do with her, and he knows it
wouldn’t be a good idea to keep her a secret from Roran and Garrow. He
makes a nest for her in the woods and keeps her there, feeding her and
keeping her warm throughout the winter. He names her Saphira because
of her radiant blue scales, and they begin to communicate with each
other through their minds.
Although Eragon managed to keep Saphira a secret from his family,
Galbatorix has somehow figured everything out. Two inhuman creatures
called the Ra’zac come to Carvahall, looking for Eragon and Saphira.
They burn down Eragon’s house and kill Garrow, and Eragon is forced to
ride Saphira for the first time in his life in order to escape. When
he comes back to the village, he sees his uncle and his farm, all
destroyed. He wants revenge and he decides it would be best for him to
hunt them down. As he’s about to leave, Brom, the village storyteller,
comes up to him and says that he’ll be coming with him. Eragon thinks
that Brom will only slow him down, but he allows him to come.
Eragon and Brom travel from village to village, encountering strange
and dangerous creatures such as Urgals (a lot like an Orc in Lord of
the Rings). Eragon learns a lot from him, especially how to wield a
sword in battle. He even learns how to use magic, and he gets better
and better as time goes on. Brom tells him all about the Empire ruled
by Galbatorix and what he had done to the Riders. He tells him about
the Varden, a secret group of people that oppose Galbatorix and who try
to overthrow him. Eragon matures and becomes a much more intelligent
person throughout their journey, and a lot of amazing things happen to
them. The rest of this book unravels their incredible expedition
through Alagaesia and all the troubles they must struggle through in
order to get revenge on the Ra’zac.
There were a lot of things that made this book so great. One of the
most important things was the themes of this book, one of them being
growing up. I really saw Eragon mature and become more intelligent
throughout the book. The only things he knew how to do in the
beginning of the book were farm and hunt, and he wasn’t exceptional at
either. But by the end of the novel, he’s become a master with the
sword, a courageous Dragon Rider who can slay dozens in a war, and
someone who thinks things through and makes the right decision. I
could really see this transformation always happening throughout the
Evil. A classic theme in thousands of books. The Empire, along with
Galbatorix, is obviously the evil in this book. Eragon, along with all
that oppose Galbatorix, are the ones that fight for all that is good.
From the beginning, when the Ra’zac come and invade Carvahall, the
theme of good versus evil comes into play. It’s quite an obvious
theme, but still an important one that we can all make connections to.
was a lot like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Both books have dwarves,
elves, humans and many strange creatures, and the writing style of
Christopher Paolini closely resembles that of J.R.R. Tolkien’s. They
both foreshadow a lot and use irony to really make the reader think.
They use dialogue very well and their writing is always fluent. Both
authors really seem to know who their characters are; they would
probably know what each character’s favorite food is and know exactly
how they would act in every kind of situation. Finally, they both use
a ton of detail with everything. They pay attention to all the little
things, and it makes their books that much better. Descriptions are
elaborated fully and nothing is vague in any way. I’ve read both books
and they were very good. Anyone that enjoyed Tolkien’s trilogy would
certainly become fond of Eragon.
This book is a little easier to read than the Lord of the Rings, but
the audience is very similar. People in middle school as well as high
school and college can read this book and take a lot of pleasure in
it. It is Paolini’s first book, and a very good one. It’s fresh and
would be near the top of my list for anyone looking for a good fantasy
book. I would give it two and a half stars out of three. It was a
little slow in the beginning, and the book didn’t hook me in straight
away. It took me a while to read because I wasn’t engrossed by the
book until at least one hundred pages into it. I stuck with it and it
got a lot better, with a lot more suspense, action, and excitement.
Even if you don’t like it at first and want to put it down, try to keep
on reading. That was one of the only flaws I found in this book.
Paolini has a lot of potential to become the next Tolkien. Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Trilogy, and I’m very excited about the next book, Eldest. This was an amazing piece of writing for a fifteen year old, and I expect him to become a well-known author very soon.
Jae L. December