Christopher Paolini’s Eragon is the first installment of the Inheritance Cycle. It is your standard sword and sorcery fantasy epic, complete with dragons, magic, elves, dwarves, werecats, an evil king, and an orc-like breed of monsters known as Urgals. A young farm boy named Eragon finds a dragon egg, which soon hatches, and Eragon becomes the first new Dragon Rider in over a hundred years.
The only other known living Dragon Rider is the evil King Galbatorix, the ruler of Alagaësia. The Dragon Riders were once guardians and warriors of peace, until Galbatorix went crazy, started a war, killed the other Riders, and made himself king. There is a secret resistance known as the Varden, who are trying to overthrow Galbatorix. The Varden and Galbatorix both want Eragon on their side, and the fate of the Empire is at stake.
Eragon lives in a small, isolated village with his uncle and cousin. One day he finds a weird stone, which turns out to be an egg, which soon hatches for him, revealing a baby dragon. The dragon and Eragon form a bond; he becomes a Dragon Rider and names her Saphira. Eragon seeks advice about dragons from the local storyteller, Brom. Before long, servants of the king come looking for Eragon and Saphira and kill his uncle. Eragon and Saphira decided to avenge his uncle’s death and set out on an epic journey with Brom as their guide. Along the way, he meets an elf named Arya, a witch named Angela, a werecat named Solembum, and a mysterious stranger named Murtagh who becomes a friend despite his shady history.
The basic plot is like Star Wars. A young boy on the verge of manhood discovers that he has fantastic powers, but it takes the death of his uncle to spur him into action. He must learn about his power, and he gets advice from a wise old mentor, and goes on a hero’s journey. Along the way, he rescues a damsel in distress and travels with another outcast. The world is reminiscent of Middle-earth. There are strange creatures, lots of history and folklore, ancient magic, and honor and chivalry still exists.
A Dragon Rider is an elf or a human that forms a bond with a dragon. The Rider and the Dragon are linked telepathically, to the extent that their personalities can merge together, and they are almost one soul. A Dragon Rider can use magic, but the dragons are the source of the magic. Dragon Riders become stronger, faster, and more powerful than a normal elf or human. The dragon chooses who they want to hatch for.
There is a lot of magic in this book. The Dragon Riders get their magical powers from the Dragon and use the ancient language (words of power) to wield magic. Magicians also use the ancient language to perform magic. Sorcerers get their magic from spirits. Witches and wizards get their powers from potions and spells. You don’t need to remember all that, there’s no test later, I just like to geek out about magic.
Paolini started writing this book when he was fifteen. It’s all the stuff that a teenager wants in a fantasy book. There’s a hero with a cool sword, dragons, evil creatures working for an evil king, magic, and epic battles. It’s a simple read compared to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, but it’s more fun to read. There is more adventure, and the plot is easier to follow so you know what is at stake. This book establishes a lot of characters and locations, and the later books delve into them in more detail. Each book gets better as Paolini grows and matures as a writer. They made a really terrible movie that butchered the book. Don’t bother watching that shit.
Eragon is a good book and the start of a good literary franchise. The plot is cliché and familiar, but new things are scary and who likes change? Paolini created an amazing world and this book is a great introduction to the world of Alagaësia. And did I mention the dragons?
Critically Rated at 13/17