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 soon 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. -Goodreads
My Rating: 4/5
Eragon was one of my favourite books growing up, and despite the obvious influences and clichés, it is still one of my favourite fantasy books.
Eragon might be filled with clichés and tropes of the fantasy genre – harking back to Tolkien especially – but it can’t be denied that the book itself is fantastic. The world is well realised. Elements of worldbuilding such as languages, cultures, history, and lore are so well done. So, despite wearing his influences on his sleeve, Christopher Paolini did an incredible job of creating a world and a story that is wonderful and exciting to experience.
Eragon is our classic fantasy farm boy-turned-hero. He’s deeply motivated by a strong moral code and compassion for those who need help. His relationship with his dragon, Saphira, is heart-warming. They become so close, like family, and their dialogue together is some of the best in the book.
We don’t see much of the other characters, but I’d like to briefly mention them anyway. Brom is a fantastic “wise wizard” character. He’s kind and compassionate but won’t suffer fools (I figure that’s the way he’d say it!). We don’t see a huge amount of Arya which is a shame, but she’s snarky and brave which is a good introduction to her character. Murtagh’s plot is a little unsurprising, but it’s done well, and his character has surprising depth.
Talking of surprising depth, the “boss round” villain of Eragon is a shade called Durza who we meet at the very beginning of the book – there is little depth to his motivations, however he is creepy as Hell and a great main threat for us to see Eragon against.
Overall, this book is a typical travelogue fantasy story but it’s world, Alagaësia, is a wonderfully detailed and realised. It feels as though we have only been introduced to the main characters so far, but future books may show more of their development and growth. If you want an easy read where the world and the people are fascinating and exciting to explore, Eragon is the perfect book to dive right in to.