Before I start digesting the book, I just want to bring to attention that Christopher Paolini graduated from high school when he was 15 years old, he started a book tour for Eragon when he was 17 and by the time he was 19 he was a New York Time’s bestselling author and by 2011 he was named the youngest author of a bestselling book series by the Guinness Book of World Records. I mean he’s a busy guy. And a genius.
I was a little skeptical when I first started reading the book, knowing that the author was just so young when he wrote the book. But I was really blown away. It’s a well written book, with a moving plot and relatable characters. My sort of recipe for a wonderful read.
The plot in particular was well spaced out, not rushed like some books neither was it excruciatingly slow. It’s true it took me a little while to get into, about 75 pages. That it why it took me so long to read. Once I got hooked I read about 150 pages a day, and finished it in no time. I thought the pace of the novel was absolutely perfect. It had moments of lots of action, but then followed by slower bits so you were able to follow everything very well.
There was a nice array of characters as well, and I particularly liked how the dragon was female while the main hero was a guy. I find that many books can fall into women stereotype roles, like two lovers with the manly man and the feeble young beautiful girl. Here, the most powerful creature is female, Saphira. There is also, what I take will be, the love match for Eragon, Arya the elf, who is a princess but it very well trained in battle and is savvy in magic maybe more than Eragon. Of course there is also Angela, the fortune teller that has quite mysterious abilities and plays a significant role in the book.
I found Eragon really likeable. He’s very reasonable, but still has faults and makes mistakes like you would expect a teenage boy to make. He has moments of weakness along with moments of glory. For example, he makes a poor decision to reveal himself and Saphira to the Urgals in the chapter names “A Costly Mistake” along with his magical abilities that he didn’t know he had, giving away information to the enemy. He’s not perfect and he’s got a lot to learn yet to become a powerful and responsible Rider.
The book also had some good quotes as well. For example, early on in the novel when Brom, Saphira and Eragon witness the massacre of Yazuac, Brom has a wonderful build-up paragraph and a new tone is set in the novel:
“Those who love the pain and suffering of others. They wear many faces and go by many disguises, but there is only one name for them: evil.” (131)
Sadly, I have been put off watching the film as I have heard it was not done as well as it could have been. Maybe I will watch it now that I have read the book since I am waiting until April to read the second book.
Verdict: A great science fiction, young adult, fantasy book for people of all ages! Paolini does a fabulous job of bringing this world to life, and the likeable characters are exciting to follow.
Have you watched the movie or read the series?