Thursday, May 26, 2022


Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle, #1)Eragon by Christopher Paolini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The inspiration for the reviled movie of the same name, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon opens with the capture of an elven maiden by a Shade and his Urgals. The main story opens in an area of the world of Alagaësia known as the Spine, the titular protagonist among the few hunters who did not fear the location, finding a mysterious dark blue stone that he takes home, and tries to sell in want of food for himself and his Uncle Garrow. Eragon knows little of his lineage, with his long-departed mother Selena having come to the nearby village of Carvahall sixteen years before the story’s time, pregnant with him.

Eragon has mentor in the storyteller Brom, and hears of an insurgent group known as the Varden attempting to overthrow the tyrannical King Galbatorix. His life changes dramatically when the strange blue stone turns out to be an egg that hatches a female dragon he ultimately names Saphira, and which grows quickly and becomes progressively more difficult to hide. An Urgal attack on his home drives Eragon into an adventure with Brom, from whom he learns swordsmanship and even literacy, given that he never needed the art of reading in his life before, and even finds that he has magical capability.

Brom takes Eragon to meet an old friend named Jeod, with the titular hero eventually finding he needs to resolve things on his own, and goes to the Hadarac Desert, beyond which the Beor Mountains loom large. Eragon eventually meets a mysterious warrior named Murtagh that agrees to help him, with the two soon captured and tasked with rescuing the telepathic elven girl Arya, afterward going into the home of the Varden and fighting a battle that concludes the first entry. Paolini follows with a pronunciation guide, a look into the various languages of his work, and acknowledges friends and family with the creation of his story.

Overall, the first installment of the Inheritance Cycle is enjoyable, even if somewhat derivative of other works such as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (the latter which the book, as opposed to the motion picture, bears lesser resemblance), but is overall a good straightforward fantasy novel. The common use of original names is sufficient to distinguish it from other titles within the fantasy genre. It’s actually good for a first novel written and published by an author before he turned twenty, and while the initial entry doesn’t leave any lingering cliffhangers, I definitely look forward to rereading the remaining entries of the tetralogy.

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