I’m back with another book review, and this time it’s “Eragon” by Christopher Paolini! Though it seems a bit earlier than usual for me to post a book review, that’s because I’ve got a special blog post in store for this Thursday, so be on the lookout of that!
Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders?
When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands. . . .”
I wholly admit that I’ve never read Eragon at all until now, despite it being published over a decade ago. I’m kind of glad I got around to finally reading it, to see if it really lives up to the hype it got during the time of its popularity.
Overall, I had some mixed feelings about the book. The writing style was good, giving good description of what the characters looked like, and the worldbuilding made relatively good sense and applied to the characters’ situations and the plotline overall. However, there were some points where the writing style focused too much on detailing minor parts of the story, especially for the first half of the book, and this hugely bogged down the pacing overall.
The characters themselves are interesting, including Eragon himself. Eragon is the protagonist and is a hero, but he’s also clearly a young adult who has a ton to learn about the world. He isn’t wise and allknowingly dreamy like other protagonists are made out to be at his age, but instead has his impulsiveness, youthfulness, and (like a lot of young protagonists do) ask a lot of questions—something that gets him into more trouble than necessary. I liked how Eragon grew throughout the book as he realized more and more of what’s at stake with him becoming a Rider, and how he coped with that growing responsibility.
Another character I liked was Brom, who was a mentor/travelling companion of his throughout the book. It’s not often we see the mentor/wise man-character types become a helpful companion of the main hero/heroines, but honestly without Brom, Eragon would have probably died about halfway through the book. The way Brom got killed off felt a bit disappointing, and I honestly think there should have been more pizazz than he got. However, it’s clear his death does impact Eragon quite a bit.
If there was something I was disappointed by, it was the lack of Arya’s involvement in the plot. Eragon and the others don’t come acros her until about halfway through the book, and for numerous chapters after rescuing her, she’s basically unconscious for most of the time she is involved in the book due to her getting poisoned and tortured by the enemy. Given how she was the elf that carried the blue egg that hatched Saphira, I was really hoping that we would see more of Arya actually in action, but perhaps it will be more prevalent in the second book.
I really enjoyed Saphira and Eragon’s bonding in the book, and their friendship is fun to read. Saphira and Eragon get the chance to give some snarky remarks to each other, worry about each other, hang out with each other, and get to know each other well so that they can understand each other superbly well. I loved their friendship and I hope it develops further in the series.